We awoke to my iPhone alarm at 04:30, it was set at this time for us (me) to wake in time for civil twilight, the blue light you get an hour or so before sunrise. Like all mornings when I have to set an alarm, I need at least three to go off before I'm ready to face the day. So, we eventually woke, packed the sleeping attire away and by this I mean we threw our sleeping bags etc to the back seat, started the car up and headed off. The plan was to get up and drive down to Buachaille to watch the sunrise and get some shots of the sun lighting the face of the mountain up. The cloud had other ideas though and to my annoyance no sun was hitting the mountain.
We carried on heading south down the A82 to Rannoch Moor and stopped off at Lochan nah-Aclaise as the sun was peeping through the clouds casting some light over the Loch and onto the mountains in the distance, I believe these to have been the Meall Beag and Mon Mountains as seen below
This was a quick snap due to the fact that I was being eaten alive by the Scottish midges and the car was parked on what was now becoming a rather busy A82. I quickly packed my gear away that was also covered in midges and jumped back in the car having now become one of the very low budget kung-fu warriors I spoke about on day one.
It had now started raining hard, so we decided it was time to move on with this road trip. We headed north west to the village of Ballachulish and travelled past Loch Leven which at this time was displaying some fantastic reflections and I had to try and get an image. We pulled off and headed down a single track road and found a spot on the shore. It wasn't the best of locations as I was shooting directly into the sun and this will always pose a problem, this was also compounded by the heat seeking and very vicious midges, given all this I still managed a few images and this was the pick of the bunch
Sporting a lot more midge bites I furiously packed up, jumped back in the car and headed to Fort William to see what we could see. At this stage I need to back track slightly........ We had packed bacon and sausages to cook for breakfast but given the likelihood of additional protein in the form of midges we decided to skip this. So, when we spotted a McDonalds in Fort William we figured that this would be a good opportunity to have breakfast and take stock of what the plan was for the day, we also had the added bonus of a Morrisons. After eating our Maccy D's breakfast, Percy and all, I headed in to Morrisons to locate some form of midge defence and for a whopping £7.00, it had better be worth it! Back in the car and off we went, continuing on our photographic travels.
Whilst in Fort William though, it would have been rude not to have taken a look at the might of Ben Nevis being the keen walkers we are back home in the Lake District, a pretty impressive lump, it has to be said, we will be back to walk you at some point but, thats for another day.
We drove north west on the A830 following the railway line to Mallaig, taking in some fantastic views on the way, the majority of which were seen through the rain. One spectacular piece of architectural landscape is the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Unfortunately this was not to be photographed on this trip due to the weather and the vast number of tourists all over the area grrrrrr, I often have to remind myself that we are all tourists at times and in this instance, we were. We made it to Mallaig and to be honest there wasn't a great deal to see and the rain was in. We did think however, that a train ride from Fort William to Mallaig was definitely in order at some point due to the stunning scenery it weaved its way through. We sat staring out to sea debating on whether to have a sleep listening to the rain or to move on............ Move on it was, we were going to head east!
We drove off heading for the great Loch Ness! We could see on the map that the road east ran directly parallel to the Loch and figured there must be some parking locations close to the Loch for some photography opportunities. Well, we arrived at Fort Augustus the Gateway to Loch Ness, full of the hustle and bustle of people all over the place, we were glad to get through it quickly and on our way driving down past the Loch. The problem was, there were no parking areas to get down to the shore and the majority of the Loch was shrouded by trees all the way down. Now I understand that this is probably to stop drivers constantly looking at the scenery for road safety purposes but it would be nice to have had a view of the Loch. I guess this is why they have all the over priced boat trips.
After having a quick power nap to recharge our batteries we carried on east through Inverness, we were now heading to Portknockie. Portknockie is a little fishing village north east of Inverness. There is a lovely photographic subject I've wanted to shoot for some time but figured it was always too far to get to directly from the Lake District so, it seemed right to take advantage of being this far north. The subject I was keen to capture is the Bow Fiddle Rock, and I hope I did it justice
I spent about an hour waiting for the light to change and capturing different compositions, another of which you can see and purchase in my Landscape Gallery page, I figured that was enough time spent here, Percy was getting restless and so was the Wife.
Having packed up and jumping back in the car there was some debate as to where next or to just head home. Then after some time it was decided to head home but through the Cairngorms and as many scenic routes as possible deliberately avoiding any mundane roads on the way. Deep down, none of us were ready to head home just yet and the debate went on in the car for quite a while. I decided that if we were heading home we were also doing it via Fort William and Glencoe to take in some more of that fantastic scenery. We made a pitstop at a Fish and Chip shop in Fort William called Sammy's, which to be fair turned out to be a sweet shop, kebab shop, tobacco shop and I'm sure an anything shop. We parked up next to Loch Eil and suitably stuffed our face, Percy had a couple of sausages. It wasn't long after eating that we agreed that another night in the car at Glencoe wouldn't hurt and Percy agreed so, thats exactly what we did.
It was already dark when we arrived so we parked up in a suitable vacant parking area on the A82 opposite Buachaille. We kicked back watching the moon flicker in and out of the clouds to the side of the mountain knowing we were heading into another day and looking forward to what day three had for us, that was that, I was a sleep!
Thank you for reading and look out for Day three coming soon
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Bye from me for now.