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Adventures in Scotland | Part I

In October, I spent close to three weeks in Scotland. The first week’s travel partners were my husband Tom and our good friends and travel buddies: Rainer and Betsy who live in Gross-Rheide, Germany. This post is the first in a series about my travels in Scotland and encompasses, what we like to call, U.S. German Adventures.

Tom and I arrived in Glasgow a day and a half early so we could make a trip to the Old Course at St. Andrews. The Old Course was established in 1552 and is one of the oldest golf courses in the world. It is a beautiful course that sits on St. Andrews Bay.

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Looking at the 18th fairway from just off the 17th green.

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Tom standing on the iconic Swilcan Bridge. He was definitely in seventh heaven crossing the bridge that so many golf greats have walked over.

The plan for the first leg of the trip was to travel from Glasgow to the Highlands with an overnight stay in Fort Williams. The next three days would be spent exploring the Isle of Skye. The house we rented in Portree was our base camp. Special thanks to Betsy for all the leg work she did in the planning phase of this adventure.

With Rainer at the wheel and Tom as his trusty co-pilot/navigator we started on our journey. The guys worked well together. The only difficulties they had was getting into the correct side of the car (drivers vs. passenger side).

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This road leads to The Old Man of Storr (upper right-hand corner) on the north side of the Isle of Skye. The Old Man is a must see on Skye. On the second leg of my trip (with Muench Workshops) I hiked up the steep incline past the Old Man for a sunrise shoot. We started off in the dark, with big winds and rain that felt like needles hitting your face. Unfortunately, sunrise on that day was a bust. You win some, you lose some.

“In Scotland there is no such thing as bad weather - only the wrong clothes” - Billy Connelly. The one constant during the trip was a daily dose of rain. We learned the hard way that even if the sun was shining, rain gear was a must because the rain would appear at some point. The benefit was some cool moody clouds. Perfect for photography.

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Rain from an incoming storm is sidelit by the sun. The location: one of the many moors in the Scottish Highlands. This one is by Loch Ba.

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The Fairy Pools is another must see for tourists and photographers. The Cuillin Mountains provide a backdrop to this series of crystal-clear pools. The water was very cold but a few hardy individuals waded around in it the day we were there. I was content to set up my tripod and try to capture the spirit and beauty of the place.

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This image contains what turned out to be “the elusive blue sky”. It’s a place called the Quiraing. It has an other worldly vibe. There are numerous movies and TV series filmed here as well as other locations on the Isle of Skye. This image contains a little trickery. What appears to be two Loch’s in the foreground is actually two little puddles.

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Self-portrait at Quiraing taken from the opposite direction of the previous image. Product plug: I am wearing the Arc'teryx AR Beta jacket and I highly recommend it. It kept me warm and dry despite big rains everyday for almost three weeks. In addition, I use the Kashmir backpack by F-Stop Gear. It is an ultralight women’s specific backpack that is so comfortable (even with 25+ pounds of gear on my back). I was able to fit my Canon 5D Mark IV, three Tamron Lenses 15-30mm, 24-70mm & 70-200mm), cable release, Breakthrough filters, extra batteries/memory cards, snacks and rain gear in the pack.

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Sunset on Neist Point, Isle of Skye

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Eilean Doran Castle

The week went by so fast. We left Minnesota on October 10 and on October 18 Tom headed back to the U.S., Betsy & Rainer headed to Edinburgh for a few days before returning to Germany and I reported to my photography workshop. “Here’s to the nights that turned into mornings with the friends that turned into family!” Stay tuned for the next U.S. German Adventure. Norway is being discussed.

GEAR & LINKS
Canon 5d Mark IV
Canon 7D Mark II
Tamron Lenses: 15-30mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8
Breakthrough Filters: ND 3 stop, ND 6 stop, CP
Really Right Stuff: Tripod and ballhead
F-Stop Gear: Kashmir UL Backpack w/medium slope ICU
Muench Workshops