After promising in a previous post to update this blog more often, I failed at the first hurdle. I had some great material to post about too!
A life long friend and fellow photographer Jake Dypka and I had decided to take a trip away to get the most out of relatively newly acquired Leica M6’s and a Hassy. We went through many possible locations, a lot of the time being beaten by cost or time. We could really only afford a long weekend. Although Norway was top on want list, to get far enough away to get lost wouldn’t have left enough time.
We decided on the magical Isle of Skye, I had recently watched a documentary about a pro landscape photographer who loved Skye. Jake was sold as soon as I mentioned it as he knew it from its featuring in many films such as Prometheus and the Highlander.
We flew to Inveness and drove the 3 hour trip to Portree, the largest “town” on Skye. Neither of us were prepared for that drive. I think it took us nearer 5 hours after the amount of admiration stops we had to take.
We circumnavigated Loch Ness and drove through the most stunning natural mountain range I have seen. I had to keep switching between driving like I was on a rally track (so much fun) and looking out of the window at the sun soaked beauty. I defy anyone to do this drive on a sunny day whilst listening to The War on Drugs’s album and not feel moved.
We stayed in a basic but adequate harbour hostel which you could have felt was over priced but they have a very captive audience. Jake and I were there to make the most of our adventure and time in the hostel was going to be at a minimum so we just went cheap.
Everywhere we went on Skye was 1. like a rally track and 2. mind blowingly beautiful. It gets a bit ridiculous. Our first morning saw us drive north (there are really only two roads on Skye) we really wanted to get out and discover rather than stopping at the hot spots.
We couldn’t resist pulling over at this beautiful lake with the Old Mann of Storr behind it. As we were reflecting and snapping a coach pulled up out of nowhere and around 50 asian tourists came out taking pictures of everything on apple products.
Jake clambered up the hill after them not so subtly taking their pictures whilst I stood and chatted to the burly coach driver who was dressed in full scott’s attire.
We jumped back in the car and drove on to a look out point where the plan was to ditch the car and go exploring. As we unloaded the car our coach load of oriental friends pulled up so we decided to go up and over rather than along. A plan which allowed us onto a beach I doubt many venture on to but also cut off our options for a long walk. Instead we were left with little choice but to climb back up.
Once we scaled back up the cliff (easier on the way down than on the way up!) we jumped back in the car and soon past a little corner shop. It was about breakfast time and as Jake and I had been so excited to get out we had packed everything our cameras would need but forgot about our stomachs. We stocked up on non nutritious snacks and the most delicious machine coffee I’ve ever had.
After a short drive (still the same road) we came across the most amazing mountain ridge and we knew this was where we could finally get our long walk. The best walks are the ones without paths.
The weather was beautiful the company was great and I was loving my M6. It’s such a delight to use, it feels hardy so at the various climbs we had to do I had no real concern over it maybe bashing the odd bush/tree/rock.
Once on top of the ridgeway the view was just stunning, you could see so many lakes and the coast and well just nature bathed in the finest golden light.
We had to sit down and behold what was before us whilst enjoying our delicious snacks!
After an long walk we drove back to portree listening to this whilst the sun was setting and a Golden Eagle flew by the side of our car for a couple of fleeting moments. Yes I know this sounds all a bit “broke back” as my wife called it but it really did cap off a wonderful day.Day two had a bit more of a jaded start (the previous nights whiskies didn’t help) we decided to head north again and go to the touch the Old Man of Storr. (Not helping this Brokeback image I know)
I have a thing about wanting to physically be on or touch something to truely say I have been there or experienced it. The day started off a bit more cloudy but I was more than happy that we had yesterdays sun and was prepared for the eventuality of the scottish showers.
The storr as wikipedia says is
The Storr (Scottish Gaelic: An Stòr) is a rocky hill on the Trotternishpeninsula of the Isle of Skye. The hill presents a steep rocky eastern face overlooking the Sound of Raasay, contrasting with gentler grassy slopes to the west.
The walk up to the old man was through a devastated forest (not a tree stood any more) it was a conservation project to bring back native species of tree. It made for a really eerie view.
Look up and you see the Old Mann being wrapped in floating menacing clouds, look down and you see miles of broken trees, lakes and eventually the coast.
We chose an awful path to reach the Old Mann, we realised when we climbed up a particularly steep slippery set of rocks to see an old American couple walking above us who had taken the clearly defined path to our west. Undeterred we carried on and eventually got to sit below the strange rock formation.
In the afternoon we decided to head South and climb a mountain which overlooks portree harbour and the Black Cullin volcano range. I was knackered already and to be fair if it wasn’t for Jake I think I may have given up before we reached the top. The view was worth it though.
There really was something great about shooting film over this weekend, it meant we weren’t forever scrolling through our pics, editing at night.
We weren’t reading the postcard before we sent it. We were exploring.
If you have the opportunity, go to Skye. Yes it’s great to take photos but it’s part of the British Isle’s heritage. Some of the plantlife is from the ice age.You don’t have to be a geologist to be blown away by the rocks or an artist to want to capture the views. Just go and experience.
You will most of my pictures have Jake in them, I don’t see myself as a landscape photographer and the 50mm summicron I had didn’t lend itself to making me one. As much as I like a lot of landscape shots for my own style I prefer people being in them.