Easdale

Once the home of slate quarrying in Scotland and supporting 500 residents Easdale is now a quiet, peaceful place accessed by passenger boat from the island of Seil. There are no cars on the island, everything is transported by wheelbarrow. It's a fascinating island- in some views, a picture postcard Scottish coastal village and in others, an industrial wasteland. The remnants of this industry are seen everywhere - tottering piles of slate, open mines filled with crystal clear water and the ruins of buildings gradually being reclaimed by nature. 

This is a series of images made on a visit there on Easter Monday. 

The Outer Hebrides

This time last week I was waking up in North Uist in an old blackhouse with walls a metre thick and a thatched roof weighed down with rocks to keep the elements out. Peering out through the tiny windows I could see cascading sheets of rain blown across the Atlantic. 

It was the first day of a grand week in the Outer Hebrides. 

We had all these plans of what we were going to do, walks to be walked, sights to be seen, beaches to explore, islands to visit. Normally not all of these plans materialise. The weather doesn’t play ball or laziness sets in. However on this trip everything went to plan. We were blessed with brilliant weather and managed to do everything on our list. 

What we didn’t plan for was seeing St Kilda and Boreray illuminated on the horizon, or two golden eagles nonchalantly soaring above us, or the Northern Lights lighting up the sky with a dazzling display, or the snow-covered Cuillins lit by the rising sun on the morning ferry from Berneray to Harris. 

Unforgettable moments like these are what I love the most about visiting the Outer Hebrides.

We visited North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay, Harris and Berneray, we walked endless deserted beaches, we fed ponies on Luskentyre. We returned to favourite places and discovered new ones and every night we hunkered down in our wee blackhouse by the sea. 

It seems a long time ago now! 

One Day in The Highlands

After a fitful sleep (don’t look at twitter before bed - you might find out the manager of your football team has resigned) I didn't really fancy getting up at 5am for a trip to the Highlands. I'm glad I did though, it was a cracking day. Loch Creran was my first stop, where I had planned to re-shoot the view up the loch to (hopefully) snow-capped mountains. It didn't disappoint, a lovely quiet dawn with the clouds scudding towards me made for idea long exposure conditions. While the camera was doing its thing I wandered about the shoreline looking for details.

The wind rose and soon the loch was corrugated with waves, so I headed to the coast, stopping off at various spots to take in the views across Loch Linhe to Morvern. It was one of those days where the highlands look ridiculously good. Picture postcard stunning. So good, you almost forget the ecological desert you are looking at, the tax-dodge mono-culture forestry, the absentee landlords, the bulldozed scars on the hillsides, the useless sheep, the starving deer and the total lack of people. It just looks so....nice. 

The afternoon was spent wandering about the wooded shores of Loch Leven, finding abandoned mausoleums, unearthing strange time capsules and buying a really powerful lighter. Essentially being a photographer is like being a kid again. I pretend I’m being serious when I go out all day…I’m not. I’m basically just playing. 

As the sun began to lower I headed back through Glen Coe, walking alongside partially frozen watercourses, and watching, transfixed, as sidelight illuminated the spindrift pouring down the sides of Buachaille Etive Mor. It was quite a sight. The rest of the evening was fairly quiet. Except for a nuclear sunset over Loch Tulla. 

Harris in the Winter

It's Blue Monday today. The most depressing day of the year apparently, so I suppose this would be as good a day as any to share some images from Harris and Scalpay. We didn’t get the best weather over Hogmanay, but it was still brilliant to be there at that time of year - snow on the hills, big waves, howling winds and moments of glorious wintery light. We were staying at the lovely Fir Chlis, which overlooks Seilebost and Luskentryre beaches, the panoramic windows of the house providing an ever–changing view of sea, sand and sky. A couple of these images were actually made from the house. Standing on the balcony in a tracksuit drinking coffee is probably the laziest way I’ve photographed the landscape!