Another weekend, another Highlands road trip!

After my previous trip up to Loch Restil which was in my previous blog, I felt there was another shot to be had from a different viewpoint, of which I’d seen from one of my Facebook friends posts from over the winter. So once again, the alarm was set for 2.30am, to leave for 3am getting up there in plenty of time to get set for sunrise, which was 6.09am. The weather conditions looked favourable once more, although I knew there wouldn’t be any chance of reflections in the wee loch due to a bit of a breeze, but I felt that didn’t matter too much for the shot in mind this time around.

So I got up to the Rest and be Thankful car park with plenty of time to spare, even though the roadworks on the M74 seem to be dragging on for such a long time now, no delays, and it was an easy drive up. I love travelling north in the early hours as there’s little to no traffic on the roads.

Once parked up, I got my gear together and decided to go for a wander to check out the location, and capture an image in the blue hour….I love that time of day, just after first light breaks, and everything is quiet and calm….

Loch Restil blue hour

Once I’d had a bit of a wander about, looking at different compositions, I’d pretty much settled on what I wanted, and then the waiting game began. When it comes to landscape photography, 90% of the time out in the field is spent waiting, for that light to break, for a nice cloud to blow over, just generally waiting for something to happen. I also know to always check behind me every now and then, and when I seen the light breaking onto the top of The Brack, I had to quickly run back from where I was to shoot down along Glen Croe….it’s not often I run, but when there’s a wee bit of light and colour….

Glen Croe sunrise

Back to the original plan, I knew when the sun broke, that the tops of Beinn an Lochain and Stob Coire Creagach would light up with nice warm early morning light by checking the sun angle on The Photographers Ephemeris, and after about 40 minutes or so of waiting, once again I wasn’t disappointed with how it went. I watched the light creep along the top ridge of Beinn an Lochain, just waiting for it to hit Stob Coire Creagach, and then I took the shot….I would have preferred a bit more cloud in the sky, but we can’t have everything!

Loch Restil 16th April

Once I was happy with what I had on the memory cards, it was decision time as to where to head to next. The plan was just to head out for sunrise, and then probably head back home, but the weather was great and the forecast even better, so I had to think where to head to. I got talking to the guy in the burger van in The Rest and be Thankful car park, and he suggested to head towards Dunoon, as Loch Eck would be still quite flat and like glass, so off I went, in the search for reflections. By now the sky was cloudless, and so not really doing anything for me, but I still went out that way, and took one shot before deciding the conditions weren’t doing it for me, and that I needed to head elsewhere.

Loch Eck reflections

I took the decision to turn around and head for home, but I was going to go the long way round, via Loch Awe, Connel and Glencoe. I do like driving, which is a good thing I guess! I enjoy the drive out as much as I do taking and making photographs. I couldn’t believe my luck when I got near Loch Awe, via Inverary. The sky was looking much better, blue skies and lovely white clouds, and sunlight. Just as forecast the night before I set off. To pull into the layby at Loch Awe to look over to Kilchurn Castle and see the water like a mirror, finally, after a few times trying, I was going to get the reflections shot I’d always wanted. Once again, I maybe broke into a run on the way down the field to the shoreline, excited like a kid in a sweet shop….

Kilchurn Castle reflections

….I couldn’t believe my luck! Whilst there, I got the 10 stop filter out too, it’s been ages since I’ve even had it in my kit bag, because I used to use it too much, but I thought I’d give it a shot, when in Rome and all that….I do love a nice long exposure image.

Kilchurn Castle Long Exposure

Now extremely happy with what I had on the cards, I was looking forward to the drive home via Glencoe. I never even had any intentions of shooting anything through the Glen, but once I got parked up, I decided to go for a little bit of a wander seeing how nice the weather was. There was a light snow shower whilst I wandered along the West Highland Way, but it was almost t-shirt weather! There was some nice light hitting the Aonach Eagach Ridge, so I thought I’d take a look at a memorial a wee bit higher up, that is a bit of a photography cliché, but I’d never shot it before.

The memorial is for Ralston Claud Muir, a guy who sadly passed away in January 2000 at only 32 years of age after falling seriously ill on Christmas day 1999. He used to love these mountains, and his ashes are here too. A fitting place to rest for someone who loved the Glencoe mountains.


After I had a little bit more of a wander about, checking out spots for future shots, I walked back to the car, ready to head for home. Home is a 3 hour drive from Glencoe, via the desolate Rannoch Moor and the shores of Loch Lomond before hitting Glasgow and the M74. I arrived home around 7pm, after driving 489 miles, and capturing the images seen above. The Kilchurn Castle shots for me, were worth the journey alone, so to get anything else was a bonus.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my work, the blog, and continue to follow me. I’ll have an east coast seascape blog to write-up after next Saturday, as I’m off over for the day with a great mate next weekend.


3 Comments on "Another weekend, another Highlands road trip!"

  1. Ian Cassells

    Brilliant rendering this is Martin. I can follow your trip around the glens and lochs as if I was with you. A real pleasure to read and a geographical reference as usual. Keep shooting!
    Bets regards,
    Ian Cassells in Norway

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