Donald Ford Images - Scotland's golf and landscape photographer

Summer at last - and WHAT a trip!

There is no other word to describe the early summer months of 2012 than 'miserable'. Few areas of Scotland escaped the frustrating cold temperatures ( even into June ), while one annoying, spoilsport day of rain seemed inevitably to follow another. It was with a feeling of some relief, therefore, that this photographer espied a "weather window" for a Sunday night/ Monday morning around the Skye and Lochalsh area. The Isle of Raasay had been on the 2012 'must visit' list which was compiled in January and, if the forecasters had it right, there did seem to be a great opportunity to catch it at its best.

A departure from Carnoustie after tea on Sunday found the roads to the isles fairly quiet. Disturbingly, however, there were a lot of showers still around and laden skies were in evidence all the way to Spean Bridge but, thankfully, breaks appeared on the last stretch of sixty-odd miles to Kyle of Lochalsh. This close to midsummer, the sky stayed light until well after ten o'clock and, to a sigh of reflief, clearances in the cloud eventually did appear as Invergarry was left behind and Kintail beckoned.

What I had NOT bargained for, however, was the magnificent sight of Eilean Donan Castle at around fifteen minutes to midnight, gloriously floodlit on its protruding finger of land at the western end of Loch Duich. It WAS spectacular - and within five minutes some lovely images were safely 'in the can'. Being interested to see how it might look from the western bank of Loch Long's outflow into Loch Duich, the plan to put that theory to the test ended abruptly as the lights - literally - went out. What a start to the photographic exploits, however - spirits soared! 

Midnight found me up at Loch Ainort, on Skye - and wrapped in the downie which Mrs. Ford had sensibly instructed me to pack in the car. Four hours later, a glorious sunrise over Loch Ainort  kicked off a sumptuous morning with the camera. After a visit to Isle of Skye Golf Club, then Sgurr nan Gillean and Sligachan, the first ferry of the day whisked me over to Raasay where a terrific three hours under the most magnificent skies more than fulfilled the expectations of my second visit to, unquestionably, one of Scotland's most astonishing, history-packed islands. Aside from there being a photograph around every hairpin bend of the single track roads, you could fill hundreds of pages with the legendary stories of the goings-on here over more than five centuries. Needless to say, Clan MacLeod has been responsible for a huge percentage of them; in particular, the piracy which the family perpetrated over some two hundred years from Brochel Castle ( see the image attached ) would fill a volume on its own.

It probably goes without saying, therefore, that the return journey, later that day, was a thoroughly uplifting one. It will be a long time before the memories of this action-packed adventure to Skye and Raasay, together with most of the captivating photographs ( see the images on the home page, plus WS900, WS901, WS902 and WS903 ) which resulted from it, even start to subside. "Trip Of The Year"?? It could well be.......

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