Winter Wonderland – Four Days in Glencoe

Welcome everyone to my very first Blog. I really wanted to start things off in style and what better way than sharing some words and images with you all from my recent four day workshop in Glencoe, Scotland.

I have been coming to Scotland for many years and have been involved in running photography workshops in Glencoe since late 2011. There’s a sense of freedom that washes over me when I hit north of Glasgow and I see the beautiful views of Loch Lomond.

In preparation for my four day workshop last month, I kept a close eye on the weather for heavy snow had fallen during the fortnight before departure day and in the days before leaving Preston to head north, I was excited and desperate to get up there while the conditions were perfect.

The journey takes me around five hours or so although this time, we stayed at Myrtle Bank Guesthouse in Fort William which added another half hour on top.  Driving onto Rannoch Moor, just before Glencoe is always a magical experience for me for there is no other place in the world quite like it (of those that I have visited in any case) and for those who have experienced it, you’ll know exactly what I mean, but for those of you who haven’t, come and join me late November 2015 on my next workshop.

This time around, I decided to venture up to Glencoe two days before the start of the workshop to allow me an opportunity to assess the accessibility of the roads (safety is of paramount importance to me) and to allow me some time to capture my own shots. Snow had indeed fallen everywhere and I remember standing there memorized by the iconic waterfall just off the Glen Etive road while trying to take in the views. I was like a child on Christmas morning. It all felt a little too much, too overwhelming. I really had not seen Glencoe and Rannoch Moor looking finer and more impressive.

The workshop started Thursday 2pm with lunch at the legendary Kings House Hotel, a place so beautifully located, that you leave promising to purchase it right after winning the lottery.  Once refuelled, me and my clients ventured out into the wide open expanse of Rannoch Moor to capture the perfect bright white snow that lay as far as the eye could see.

Standing in the icy cold freezing waters of the River Coupall, we all composed our shots of the beautiful and delicate pieces of ice that sat idly on rocks while the Buachaille stood majestically in the background as if watching over us. Watching to see if we were doing it justice. We all used LEE’s Big Stopper ten stop filter to slow the water down to create a calm, soothing look while the newly delivered LEE Landscape Polariser did a great job of removing the reflected light from the surface of the water, helping you to see below the water to the rocks underneath.

During one of our evenings, we as a group witnessed one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen, with colours so fierce and wild, that thoughts of accusations from those viewing the images that I had increased the saturation levels of the reds and yellows would follow. Honestly, the colours were as amazing in the flesh as they look in my images. The scenery is stunning in this part of the world but so is the wildlife. A sunset trip along the whole 12 mile road of Glen Etive from Loch Etive is a must for we saw Red Deer Stags leaping over wire mesh fences after they lined the various sections of the road and they look so grand and royal in stature too. Definitely not a sight to be missed.

We also witnessed some amazing and awe inspiring views of several locations, notably the Three Sisters looked mighty backlight in the early morning sun while the mist swirled around their peaks. The iconic Black Rock Cottage glowing in the red colours of another stunning sunset. The waterfalls of Glen Orchy cascading down below you while ice tipped rocks threatened to slide you into the water at a moment’s notice (sensibly we stayed off them).

Overall, our four days spent photographing Glencoe and Rannoch Moor were perhaps one of the most memorable workshops I care to remember. I simply did not want to leave it behind by the end of the week. And so, as one workshop ends, I look forward to returning to Glencoe at the end of November and our base this time around will be the beautiful Loch Leven Hotel at Ballchulish which is located much closer to Glencoe and will allow for some stunning sunrises to be captured on camera not one minute from our doorstep. It is also located right alongside Loch Leaven too and it has its own restaurant and bar (always a bonus in my books).

So until November dear Glencoe, Guid cheerio the nou, see ye efter.
River Coupall, Rannoch Moor

Fiery Sunset, Glen Orchy

Red Deer Stag, Glen Etive

Haunting, Glen Etive, Scotland

Group Shot, Three Sisters, Glencoe

Sunset at Lagangarbh, Buachaille Etive Beag, Glencoe