Inside this issue
Upper Loch Torridon
A Not So Wintery Visit
An enthusiast who enjoys having photography as an excuse to get out in to the wilds.
Berkshire based photographer and fundraiser.
As well as holding down a busy job, I am a landscape photographer in my spare time. I am based in Yorkshire, England. My photography practice has evolved over more than thirty years from 35mm film, through a long period using exclusively large format cameras and sheet film and finally transitioning to digital cameras. In terms of vision, there are two distinct sides to my work - the representational and the non representational - and I enjoy both.
Professional landscape photographer.
Torridon is a well known area of North West Scotland that for many embodies what the Highlands are about. It is wild, rugged, quite remote and has stood from ancient times withstanding all that the Atlantic weather can throw at it. Standing on rock 2.6bn years old scattered with erratic boulders (a mere 750m years old) precariously balanced on tiny stones while yourself being pounded by wind and a mixture of rain, sleet and snow is very humbling. The pillows of gnarly gneiss are particularly tactile, almost visceral in the quality of the surface. A magical place with ever changing weather, magnificent trees and water of every flavour both on the ground and in the air.
Myself and a small group of friends have been visiting this area for the same week in January for the last 5 years with the exception of 2021 when Covid prevented us from travelling in what somewhat ironically was the best Winter for years. In 2022 we were able to return, staying in a new cottage on the shore of Upper Loch Torridon (abbreviated to ULT from now on) having been ‘moused’ out of our previous venue. This year the ‘four’ included Joe Cornish in addition to regulars myself, Jon Brock and Guy Aubertin.
In the event we had 4 days together in 3 quite different locations in very different weather!
Talking of the weather… visiting this part of Scotland at any time is a bit pot luck with what you get. Normally in January, you can expect snowy peaks and if unlucky polka dot snowy bottoms, rarely full coverage. This year has been a real exception as the peaks were almost completely snow free and temperatures hit 13c at one point. A NW flow peppered by heavy Wintery showers is probably the ideal and we enjoyed that on a first visit in 2017 but only had odd days in the intervening years. In 2022 we had a good forecast for the Thursday that we counted down to from early in the week so advanced planning was possible.
Torridon is a vast landscape stretching over many miles and has to be broken down into chunks to make any sense of it, also to maintain sanity as the travel times are long to anywhere other than just down the road. In previous years we had spent a lot of time in the pine woods around Shieldaig, the Kinlochewe road past Loch Clair and also down the Applecross road to the West (not the Bealach). Our accommodation location this year placed us close to the ‘Pass of Goats’ to Diabaig so our focus was the area on the North side of ULT and the peninsula beyond perhaps best known for grand lone boulder pictures by some well-known photographers.
The week proved to be a great opportunity to compare and contrast output from 4 quite different photographers and to see how they tackled the challenges of the often difficult conditions in ULT.