A Scottish Highlands day trip

Last Sunday I took a day trip up into the Scottish Highlands. The forecast was for snow fall, there was snow on the ground, freezing temperatures and the possibility of some nice sunlight.

I headed up with my good friends Dave, Ricky and Ivor, all great photographers, and all excited about the possible great forecast. The alarm was set for 3.30am, to leave at 4am for the 3 hour drive north. A walk in the park really, a nice easy drive. Once we passed Glasgow, the conditions started changing to sleet and then by the time we hit Crianlarich, thick, heavy snow.

The decision was made to head to Loch Awe, and Kilchurn castle for ‘sunrise’ as Ivor hadn’t been before, and the forecast looked most promising for there first thing….and it was all lies. We got drenched at first with torrential rain, but it then turned to snowfall.

Kilchurn Castle and Loch Awe

Looking across a frozen, snow covered Loch Awe towards Kilchurn Castle in a snow storm
Looking along Loch Awe in heavy snowfall

After we got a few images at Loch Awe, we made the decision to head up into Glencoe, but to go via Glen Orchy. This was where it got interesting. We were the first car down the Glen, driving through a good 3 or 4 inches of snow, I’m glad we were in the 4×4.

It was so beautiful. You often hear the term ‘picture postcard’ but this really was that perfect. Thick, fresh pure untouched snow with more falling all of the time, hanging in the trees, along the fences, everywhere. Such amazing conditions to just park up and go for a walk along the road and see what there was to shoot.

I really wish we just spent the rest of the day in Glen Orchy, but the plan was always to head to Glencoe for Ivor to see it in all it’s snowy glory, but we spent the rest of the morning here and it was time well spent.

Glen Orchy

Small but perfectly formed
The greater scene
The bend in the Road
A simple road shot
Wintery Goodness
Standing Tall

Once we left Glen Orchy, we had a quick look around the back side of Loch Tulla, hoping to capture more wintery scenes like above but with the wonderful Scots Pine trees, but the snow just wasn’t anywhere near as plentiful, so we moved onwards.

When we got to Rannoch Moor the rain came in quite heavy so we continued on into Glen Coe. I had a shot in mind here on the River Coe including the The Sisters but the water levels were nowhere near what I want for the shot in mind, so took a wander along the river to see what I could find…

Glen Coe

Gearr Aanoch and Aonach Dubh from the River Coe
The River Coe

After another soaking we headed back to the car and decided it was time for food, so headed to Glencoe village, where we decided to take a wander around Glencoe Lochan. Somewhere I’ve spent a lot of time in the past, but never seen it so nice, frozen under the surface, but with water on top of the ice giving some lovely reflections.

Glencoe Lochan

Icy reflections
Glencoe Lochan

Time was getting on now, still pretty short days at the moment and time flies when you’re having fun! A drive back south along the A82, no other real plan in mind other than to shoot whatever comes our way. I did have a shot in mind at Lochan na Fola, so we stopped, but I’m still not too happy with the images from there, so haven’t included anything here from that location.

We headed for home and when we got back down onto Rannoch Moor the sky looked promising for sunset. Hoping for some colour appearing, we stopped and set up on Lochan na Stainge in the hope of a nice sunset to end an awesome days shooting. It never materialised, but I did get one of my favourite images from the trip, so it was worth stopping for.

Lochan na Stainge

Lochan na Stainge

We packed up, and headed for home after stopping here. A 3 hour journey ahead, with some great images bagged, and great day had with great friends, I would call it a successful day out. I got home around 10pm, 424 miles later.

Scotland in winter, there is no better place.

8 Comments on "A Scottish Highlands day trip"

    1. martin_steele_photo

      Thank you Tracey. We had a look but between the river being well frozen, and not a lot of flow, we never shot there.

  1. Melina A Bologna

    Outstanding photography Martin~!!! Nat geo worthy!!! Brilliant visionary you are! Thanks a million!!! Pounds!!!! lol

  2. Joanna. Dann

    All beautiful shots but the bend in the road, simple road shot and wintery i can feel the stillness and silence coming off them.

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