A snowy winter wonderland

Last weekend I took a trip up to Glencoe after watching the weather forecast all week beforehand, watching the snow, and as soon as I seen how much was going to drop, I arranged a trip up.  Glencoe is magical at the best of times, but when it has it’s wintery coat on, it becomes even more special, and this two day trip really didn’t disappoint.

I was only up for the Friday and Saturday, but made the most of it, meeting up with my good mate Mark, and making new friends with the group of folk Mark was up with.  It was great to meet Lynne, Rich, Ian, Andy, Mark and Izzy.

I left home at 3.30am on Friday, hoping to get up into Glencoe for sunrise, but it was slow going, as the snow firstly fell as I was passing over Beattock summit on the M74, and that was pretty much the story for the whole journey up.  The A82 got really bad from Crianlarich up, and I was glad I took the 4×4 and not the car!

I made it onto Rannoch Moor for first light, and some of it was looking promising at first, so I stopped off at Loch Ba….

The light quickly vanished so went for a wee wander.  I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about a lone tree that photographers seem to gravitate towards, and I’m no different….

 

The weather soon closed in so I jumped back in the car and headed up towards Glencoe.  I did have a location in mind for sunrise, but that wasn’t going to happen, so I decided to just park up and go for a wander along the River Etive to a spot I hadn’t been to in about 3 years, but it gives a great view of Buachaille Etive Mor.  The conditions around the Buachaille were sublime, so I quickly got down to the river and had to shoot, before I even got to my location, as it’s all about capturing the moment, and in true fashion, this scene only lasted about 30 seconds….

I then went a wander along the river to the spot I wanted to get to, I set up and took a few images including the one below, but the snow soon came in and ended up in a complete whiteout and so it was time to retreat and go for breakfast at the Glencoe Ski Resort.

During breakfast I reckon there was a good 6-8 inches of snowfall in the hour or so we were inside, and afterwards we took a wander down Glen Etive and further along the river, and although there was some nice light breaking, I just couldn’t settle on a composition with Buachaille Etive Mor in, so I put on the long lens and started messing about with closer shots, and just as I did, the snow came down yet again, and there was still some lovely light kicking about….

Then I spotted the wagon coming along the A82, so had to quickly come up with something to show the scale of the place, and I really like this image….

Walking back to the car, I seen the light break down Glen Etive, and I’ve been waiting to get a shot from this composition for a couple of years, but the conditions just never suited, until Friday morning….

After this it was just a case of go where it looked good, and so we took a wander along the West Highland Way, where Rich wanted to shoot the boulder.  It’s a common shot, but for great reason, the boulder giving a big of foreground interest, anchoring the image for the greater scene before you….

It was getting late in the day by now, and so we started thinking about sunset locations, and whilst we popped by Torren Lochan, I just wasn’t feeling it, so didn’t get the camera out.  In the end we settled on heading to Castle Stalker for sunset, and it’s a location I’ve never got anything I’ve liked before, but thankfully I was having a good day and feeling just about everything I was looking at, and so finally got an image from this location I like….

Day 1 was really productive, and then it was a case of thinking about what to shoot on day two.  Not to be deterred, I headed back to the spot along the River Etive for sunrise that I visited Friday morning, and unfortunately there was already another photographer there in the spot I wanted to shoot, but non the less, I picked a few differing compositions, and the morning couldn’t have got off to a better start.  Lovely pink skies that reflected on the white snow, then some lovely light, and then just a lovely morning in general, a great start….

After such a great start, the snow once again came in and so we retreated for breakfast again, and decided to go down Glen Etive for the day afterwards, seeing how I was in the 4×4, it made sense as the road was a bit snowy at first.  As we turned onto the Etive road, I just had to stop and grab yet another road shot….


Then it was down to Lochan urr, a wonderful lochan about half way down Glen Etive, so we parked up and took a wander down to the lochan, as it sits a lot lower down than level of the road, but it’s worth the short walk down….

The weather was once again closing in, so we decided to go and see if we could get some stag shots, I just love these magnificent majestic animals, and I love photographing them too….

 

By this time, the day was getting close to the end, and sunset wasn’t looking likely, so we headed back along the Glen and I had this waterfall in mind to shoot, yet again, I hadn’t been to this spot for a good three years or so, and so it was nice to revisit this one….

That was the final image of the day, and of the trip, as after this, the weather closed in and that was that.  We called it a day, and I met up with my good friends Dave and Matt and had a chat before heading off back down the road home.  I’m lucky that I love driving, and so this only being a 3 hour drive away I feel blessed to get up into this landscape as often as I can.

The weekend was super productive as you can see by the amount of images I made over two short winter days, it has to be one of the best trips into Glencoe that I’ve had, possibly ever.

I hope you enjoy the images as much as I do making them, and any feedback is always welcome.

M.

6 Comments on "A snowy winter wonderland"

  1. Phil Petrie

    I loved reading this Martin , I think that I already know how you feel about Glencoe , but your description of you weekend there just sums it all up really , your love and passion for the Scottish Highlands and all other things Scottish always shines through in your photography and long may it continue

  2. Ronnie stokes

    Great wee story in pictures done a lot of them but always interested in your compositions so well done and thanks I havent managed up yet like you I try and time it with snow freezing conditions so the water doesn’t ripple up no wind as it gives you full Lerwick day to grab as much as you can, I want to put a wee video of all the images One day in Glencoe to let people see what can be done if you are prepared to get there early and run with it, cheers again Martin

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