July 20, 2016

Exploring Scotland: More Than a Pretty Photo

Words + Photos : Victoria Wright

Before I ever stepped foot in Scotland, I was intrigued by its natural landscapes.

It’s been at the top of my visit list for as long as I can remember and, when I arrived, I was instantly captivated by the scale of the scenery. Lush green mountains appeared to shoot straight out of the ground and added to the peaceful, fairytale mystique. The variations of light, endless shades of green, and unique natural elements left me speechless.

Driving from Glasgow through The Highlands and up to the Isle of Skye I was in awe. Corner after corner, valley after valley, there were endless breathtaking locations that left me thankful I wasn’t the driver who had to focus on staying on the left side of the road. I was free to let my eyes feast on the views at hand.

This trip was special for me because, instead of having a strict agenda with a product or person to photograph, I allowed myself to simply be in the moment. I was able to go beyond documenting with a photograph or simply capturing a memory. Instead, I focused on the way Scotland made me feel. The vastness of everything left me feeling incredibly small in a seemingly endless country of rich color and history. Each location felt special because of its beauty and because I was able to truly connect with everything on a level I don’t often get to when I’m on assignment.

With Moment lens in hand, I had the opportunity to visit some incredible locations during my time in Scotland. When I make my way back, here are the spots I would revisit in a heartbeat.

Urqhart Castle Loch Ness

Loch Lomond

This was our first stop on the way from Glasgow to Isle of Skye and it’s one of the first lochs you’ll pass while making your way north on A82. As one of the largest inland stretches of water in all of Great Britain, Loch Lomond is a perfect place to curl up with a book and, with few tourists in sight, the stillness here is palpable.

Loch Lomond3
Loch Lomond2
Loch Lomond 1

Eilean Donan Castle

Resting on its own little island where three great sea lochs meet, Eilean Donan is easily one of my favorite castles. Driving through the Scottish Highlands, you immediately spot it right off the main road and it looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale. It’s partially in ruins, but it’s as beautiful as ever and it’s easy to imagine what it would have been like bustling with people on horseback hundreds of years ago.

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle2

Sligachan—The Old Bridge

This beautiful, single-track bridge showcases features that date it back to the 1820s. Its magnificent stone arches stretch across the River Sligachan and, with the Red Hills looming in the distance, this place makes you feel as if time has stopped.

Sligachan2
Sligachan1

Portree

Only a short drive from Three Chimneys, where we stayed, is the beautiful town of Portree. With a population of just over 2000, this quaint little town is actually the largest in the Skye region. It may be small in size, but it’s big in heart. The people were wonderful, the local shops were more than welcoming, and the overall charm of Portree entirely won me over.

Portree3
Portree2
Portree1

Fairy Glen

The cone-shaped hills and rich greens mingle here with a hint of magic. This place is considered a natural wonder in some books, but it’s a mystical wonder in mine. You get a sense that there’s always something just outside of your vision but when you move to see it, it’s already scurried away.

Fairy Glen1
Fairy Glen4
Fairy Glen3

Neist Point

Neist Point is the most western point in Skye with breathtaking ocean views and a darling lighthouse that’s over 100 years old (which is actually pretty young for a country like Scotland in a place that feels free from time). A long time ago, I told a friend, “Wherever it may be, find a place that renews your sense of wonder.” Neist Point did that for me.

Neist Point1
Neist Point2
Neist Point3

The Storr

A monochromatic contrast to the surrounding grassy hills and knolls, the Storr is a beautiful change of pace. You might not find yourself alone while shooting on Skye’s northern Trotternish peninsula, but that definitely won’t ruin the experience. It felt like I stumbled on a movie set of The Lord of the Rings with Gollum ready to pop out from behind one of the rocks.

The Storr1
The Storr

Inverness

After spending nearly the entire trip searching for the seemingly elusive Highland cow, we finally spotted some just outside Inverness, a larger city set right where Beauly Firth, Moray Firth, and River Ness come together. The town was lovely, but I can’t tell you how much fun we had feeding these fuzzy creatures handfuls of grass. Best of all, their personalities matched their adorable coats.

Inverness3
Inverness2
Inverness

Urqhart Castle & Loch Ness

Just a short, beautiful drive east of Isle of Skye, this place is worth the trip. Urqhart is history, ruins, and beauty in one historic loch-side spot. Cozied up to beautiful Loch Ness, which extends for 24 miles and is up to 700 feet deep, there is plenty to see in this spectacular corner of Scotland. I found the castle beautiful on its own but when I stepped back I noticed how beautifully the surrounding area served as a natural frame. It was picture perfect.

Urqhart Castle Loch Ness

You won’t regret adding Scotland to your must-visit list. There are so many peaceful and uniquely beautiful places to see but, most important, I guarantee that all of these places will make you feel. Those feelings can’t always be captured in a photograph, but the photos will help you remember that there’s something more to Scotland and that memory will make you want to return.

Along the journey, I met up with some incredible photographers and friends. To see their take on Scotland and beyond, you can visit their social media channels listed below.

Kara Mercer
Logan Cole 
Nirav Patel
Dan Cole
Paige Becker 
Jared Becker

IG – @veekster  //  Website – veekster.com  //  Twitter – @veekster

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