Monday, November 3, 2008

Waxwings Come to 't William

Seen today around the Union Road/ Seaview Gardens area of Fort William, a sizeable posse of Waxwings, apparently fresh in from Scandinavia in pursuit of what the Redwings haven't yet gobbled up of our autumnal berry crop

Go here for pictures of Redwings in action in our garden, feasting on the berries from the Cotoneasters

Friday, October 24, 2008


We witnessed a large flock of Redwings in action in our garden today, feasting on the berries from the Cotoneasters:

(Apologies for the low grade picture quality: just my luck these birds arrived when I'd sent my best telephoto (EF70-300mm f4-5.6 IS) zoom back Canon for repair. As a result I only had an old Tamron 28-200mm lens to hand, and it is not sharp at the 200mm end. Ho hum...)

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Summer sunsets in Fort William can be stunning

Took this from the bedroom window at10.20pm last night

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

First Swallows Make A Summer

First swallows of 2008 seen here outside our kitchen window today

Monday, May 5, 2008


Just back from a few days on the Isle of Arran in the firth of Clyde. Sometimes called - usually by its tourist industry - "Scotland in Miniature" - Arran does present a kind of microcosm of the nation, topographically at least.
In the north it is mountainous, rugged and has a large and highy visible deer population and a distillery. The centre contains the area of most dense habitation around the capital Brodick, while the south is greener and more rolling and has views across the sea to Ireland. This might also make the village where we stayed - Lochranza, in the north west corner of the island - the analogue of Fort William, but I wouldn't want to make too much of that

The approach to Arran from Claonaig on Kintyre is spectacular from the outset

and Lochranza has a genuinely dramatic setting,

as well as a fine and relatively well-preserved castle

(seen here from the doorstep of our rental cottage)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Over the sea to Skye (Catch-up #1)*

It's not exactly a long way from Fort William, but it took old friends John & Jean to drag Ruth and I over there

We sailed from Mallaig to Armadale - here's a shot taken on the boat, looking north to the Glenelg hills

High point of the trip was a meal at the Three Chimneys in Colbost, way up in the north west of the island, but the constant dominating presence on Skye is the Cuillins

Last morning we went over to Neist Point, where a lighthouse perches on a peninsula looking out over the Minch to the Outer Hebrides.

Almost impossible to convey anything of the scale and grandeur of this part of Skye, but here's a couple more taken close to Neist Point
First: looking south along the coast

Second: this is Loch Mor at Waterstein on the road from Glendale to the Point

From under the very shadow of the Red Cuillins on the approach to Sligachan, a last look back to the snowy peaks of the Black Cuillin before we head for the bridge back to the mainland, and the drive home to Fort William

* I'm posting this stuff retrospectively - well retrospectively, so look back soon for more from Skye, plus later 2008 adventures on Arran, in France and Holland, Dorset, Edinburgh, and of course - around and about the Highlands

Monday, March 3, 2008

This was all we saw of Buachaille Etive Mor...

... as a blizzard descended on our way back to Fort William. No less imposing for the fact you can barely see it!

Return of the Winter - Today on Rannoch Moor

First stop Ballachulish - 2 goldfinches sighted as I was setting up this shot. Bird book says they don't come to these parts...

Bit of a cliché this shot. Black Rock Cottage and the Buachaille Etive Mor. Unmissable, though, on a day like this. And only one other photographer active at the time!! That would change as we headed down to Lochan na h-Achlaise and the Block Mount Bens...

Still, I think I was the only one that bothered to take a shot of these snow-encrusted trees.

And here we are at the Lochan. Stunning cloud formations - you can tell it's still snowing up there even though we're in bright sunshine. Good day, though the breeze precluded any good reflection shots today

Met this fellow just where the road turns down towards Loch Tulla. Frequent visitors to these pages (if there are any) may recognise him from an earlier post on December 4th last year. He was also on our 2007 Xmas card to select acquaintances. Fine chap. Good to see him again.

And again, stunning skies above Loch Tulla...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Winter Retrospective : Part Two

Shock 'n' Awe in Glenfinnan

I've been trying for a shot of one of these guys for a while, but they're not easy to capture: kind of sneak up and over you. Fortunately this time I had the camera in my hand, switched on, and set - approximately - appropriately. 

Gotcha! Well, nearly...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2007/8 : A Winter Retrospective - Part 1

Laid up through most of January with a busted rib or three, I didn't get much photography done, but here area a few shots that show some of the delights that winter can bring to Lochaber:

Driving snow in Glen Nevis

It often is on winter afternoons that the light is at its best for photographing the highland landscape. The low sun casts long horizontal shadows and somehow the colours - more muted in some respects than the greens of spring or summer - seem more vivid than at any other time of year. The three shots which follow were taken while driving home from the RSPB Insh Marshes wetland centre near Kingussie. Taken over an hour or so and I guess about 30-some miles, they show how the light develops as the sunset progresses

Ruthven Barracks as the sun goes down

This reminds me I must get more shots of Loch Laggan...

Loch Laggan

...whose water level is at its maximum here, as can be seen at the dam at its western end, which supplies electricity to the National Grid as well as the Fort William aluminium smelter

Laggan Dam

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Now for a little Catch-Up

The week before Christmas was a stunner in the Fort William micro-climate, with six consecutive bright sunny days and six successive frosty nights. Temperature didn't rise above -3ºC that week, but your photographer fell on his EOS 400D on day four and bust a rib or two, thus not as much captured as might have been.
Here's a few taster shots from the Great Glen taken that week. There'll be prints of some of these available at soon.

Loch Lochy

Glen Spean

...near Tomacharich on the Highbridge road...

As I've said before - summer is not the best time to visit these parts. On winter days like these, when the sun is low in the sky all day long, there's really nowhere to beat the Highlands

Intersecting Planes

A big, big Happy New Year to all who stumble upon this page!

Such was the view from here at Glenalbyn at 3.15 pm yesterday - New Years Day 2008. Not the brightest, but not lacking a certain enchantment...