Donald Ford Images - Scotland's golf and landscape photographer

The west of Scotland at its best.......

If the weather forecasters had it right, the next morning would find the western half of Scotland blessed with a clear February sunrise and – just as important - excellent visibility. With the remnants of recent snow still likely to be adorning the upper reaches of the mountains from Glencoe up to Ben Nevis and the Mamores, it was much too good an opportunity to miss with the camera. As things turned out, it was a quite glorious morning, which yielded one stunning potential image after another.

The day’s excitement began at a favourite vantage point of mine at Lochan na Stainge, just off the Bridge of Orchy to Glencoe road, where the horseshoe of the Black Mount peaks which rise from the western extremity of Rannoch Moor offer spellbinding sunrise images during the winter months. Each and every one is different, of course, with colours and effects dependant on the atmosphere through which the rising sun throws its rays earthwards. The presence of ice on the surface of the lochan put paid to sharp reflections, with the result that the resultant images were not the most spectacular, although it was still a fine start to the day. Not surprisingly, I also found myself in the company of two other photographers, whose similar early departures clearly signalled that Black Mount held as much potential excitement for them as it did for me. Even better, however, was the spectacle which greeted me just a few minutes later, having returned to the car and headed northwards towards Glencoe…….

The panorama which greets the motorist as he leaves Rannoch Moor behind, then rounds the long bend in the A82 and takes in the eastern entrance to Glencoe a couple of miles ahead, has to be one of the most exciting in Scotland. Invariably, however, it is the magnetism of “The Great Shepherd of the Glen” - Buachaille Etive Mhor – which immediately draws the eye, as its commanding presence and towering, striated northern summit ends the flatness of the moor. THIS morning, it was stunning, as summit-hugging mist swirled across its upper reaches. Shot of the day? Without a doubt.

It could hardly have got better after that, but The Corran Ferry permitted an exciting half-hour up the west side of Loch Linnhe, where Camusnagaul presented a lovely scene near the confluence with Loch Eil. The potential success of the forty extra miles to the Morar coast then assumed less import, picture-wise, but a further two or three terrific panoramas were on offer and, of course, were not refused! It turned out to be a wonderful, if tiring, morning's "work" - how can we POSSIBLY call it that when it is an absolute privilege and delight to be doing it amidst such sumptuous landscapes and seascapes?

A quite beautiful February morning in the west of Scotland thus concluded with a couple of great shots out to Eigg and Rhum from the sandy beach at Traigh, as well as an unusual image of Arisaig ( see above ) from the tortuous little minor road to Rhu. A couple of hours later, the bonus of a long view into the Grey Corries, behind Ben Nevis, followed by a new shot of Ardverikie Castle across Loch Laggan brought a superb day to a close. Once again, high pressure had allowed unbroken sunshine to light up the notoriously “wet” half of Scotland, while the eastern half sulked under a blanket of grey. It was hard to convince colleagues the following day that nary a cloud had appeared to cause me a problem; in fact, Fort William had enjoyed its FOURTH consecutive day of sky-splitting sunshine. It bodes well for 2013 – but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves; this IS Scotland!

DONALD FORD

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