Saturday, February 04, 2017

Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish and Gaelic term for a lake or sea inlet is 'Loch' (read more about Loch on Wikipedia). And for a traveler to the Scottish Highlands, it would seem that the entire region of the Scottish Highlands have a number of such water bodies, and also help in drawing a number of tourists to the region. One of the largest such bodies in the region is Loch Ness, a massive water body that is very deep and hence contains a huge amount of water (Loch Ness on Wikipedia); containing more water than any other such Loch in the British Isles with the deepest point being 230 meters deep. Loch Ness of course is more famous for the apparent (or alleged) presence of Nessie, the Loch Ness monster. Sightings have been there for millennia, with the first presence of the monster in the River Ness during the 6th century when Saint Columba ordered the monster to not attack his companion at which the monster drew back. Over the years, especially in the last century, sightings have increased, but no proof has been found even after many attempts to solve the mystery of the monster.

The entrance to the Loch Ness caravan park right next to the Loch
The entrance to the Loch Ness caravan park right next to the Loch (More photos / Print of this photo)
Loch Ness is very beautiful, set amidst some great greenery and with green covered hills on the side. For people wanting to see this beautiful environment and the surroundings, and who are using caravans, this caravan park is a great idea. Set just next to the loch, the image shows the entrance to the Loch along with the greenery.

Trees on the shore of Loch Ness in Fort Augustus
Trees on the shore of Loch Ness in Fort Augustus (More photos / Print this photo)
A spectacular setting on the shore Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. This is a small settlement, called Fort Augustus, located on the south west end of the Loch. The place is small, with less than a 1000 people and is heavily dependent on tourism. With settings such as the above, a small section of the shore of the Loch, looking extraordinarily beautiful, no wonder you have a lot of visitors to the Loch and its surroundings.

Man kayaking on the water of the Loch Ness
Man kayaking on the water of the Loch Ness (More photos / Print this photo)
Enjoying on the waters of the Loch Ness, in the morning. I wanted to enjoy a view of the Loch in the morning, when there is a slight mist, and there are almost no tourists around. Apparently, this person had a better idea, going kayaking on the water of the Loch in the morning. Obviously, no fear of the Loch Ness monster.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Beauty of a number of Lochs in the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands is an incredibly beautiful place, with immense natural beauty. There are long narrow Lochs, some connected to the sea and most others being fresh water ones, there is one deep one that is supposed to contain a prehistoric monster, there are regions which are very rugged, there are some hills and mountains (not very tall though), and some places that seem very untouched. But most of all, for a first time visitor, it is the bodies of water, the Lochs, which present a lot of beauty. In a number of places, these long narrow bodies of water stretch for long distances with a road running right next to them. You can reach them, park the vehicle next to them, get out and just enjoy the beauty of these lakes of pristine water - and there will be many places where you would not see anybody else around.
In a number of these lakes, one does not even know the name of the Loch next to which you are passing by. Just the road next to the lake, with a parking area and you can just stop there, send some time in perfect peace and then get onto doing what you were doing before you stopped. So, for example, on this road, there is a Loch right to the left of the road, and there is a place where it is perfectly fine to park and get out and enjoy a view of the lake.

Small stopping section on the side of the road next to a lake
Small stopping section on the side of the road next to a lake (More photos / Print of this photo)

This is a view of one of these Lochs. We were traveling from Edinburgh towards Loch Ness and came across the first of these Lochs on the side of the road. Soon, we reached a spot where one could easily pull over to the side of the Loch, and even though the side of the road was located much higher than the surface of the Loch, the view from between the trees was beautiful and showed the expanse of the Loch at this point (the Loch is located on the side of a hill, and hence tends to be not very wide, but can be very long, going along the length of the hill).

Broad expanse of a Loch in the Scottish Highlands
Broad expanse of a Loch in the Scottish Highlands (More photos / Print of photo)

Another view of a different Loch. Again, this was accessible from the side of the road and we were again at a higher position than the surface of the Loch. Further, in this part of this Loch, it seems like there is some sort of power generating equipment on the shore of the Loch (either using the waves directly, or which uses the water for cooling purposes and for generating the steam that drives its turbines).

View of shore and shimmering waters of a lake in the Scottish Highlands
View of shore and shimmering waters of a lake in the Scottish Highlands (More photos / Print of this photo)
Another view of the same Loch as above, but from a point that was much further ahead. The gap between the road surface and the surface of the Loch had slightly decreased, but it was still a tricky descent to the water level and we decided not to do it. The trees at this point were slightly thicker, and it was more difficult to get a clear view of the water surface and the horizon, but by moving around a bit, it was possible to get some sort of view.

View of a Loch in the Scottish Highlands, visible through tree branches, with hills in the background
View of a Loch in the Scottish Highlands, visible through tree branches, with hills in the background (More photos / Print of photo)

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Some beautiful landscapes in the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands is a very beautiful place, with a lot of greenery and large rugged spaces. There are hills and mountains, lakes (Lochs) everywhere, many tracts with extensive greenery and seemingly untouched places, and so on. If you are in Scotland, and head off towards the Scottish Highlands, and are fond of photography, then this place is a visual paradise and can shoot off a large number of shots. Here are some photos from one such place, with natural greenery and light effects.

This is an image where we were climbing to a higher level, on a path that takes us to the main road which was at a higher level. While climbing up, it was late afternoon and because of the slope and the direction of the sun, the sun seemed to be over the horizon and was presenting a lovely portrayal of the light silhouetting the greenery. It was a coincidence, but the light seemed to have a cloud formation emerging from it, and that made for an even more interesting picture.

Sunlight from behind some plants on a slightly higher part of the slope with a cloudy sky
Sunlight from behind some plants on a slightly higher part of the slope with a cloudy sky (more photos / Print this photo)

This kind of photo would seem nothing great, but people who live in cities typically do not get this kind of view. Lots of trees, nobody else but us in sight, and it being late afternoon, the sun was slowly starting to make its way down; no longer very bright or harsh, and with clouds over the horizon, the sun was covered by these clouds. The trees looked good, although the trees were not overly laden with leaves; with summer on the way in a few weeks, the trees would start developing a lot of new leaves.

Branches of a tree along with clouds in the sky - Scottish Highlands
Branches of a tree along with clouds in the sky (Print of this photo / More photos)

Yet another photo of a tree, a tree standing on the small slope of a hillock (rather than a hill or a mountain) in the Scottish Highlands. In the immediate vicinity of this tree, the land has more of bushes and grass rather than any other tree. However, the light behind the tree, the spreading of the branches of the tree, all of this make this an interesting location.

An overcast sky in the Scottish Highlands in Scotland, with trees on the hill slope. The aim was to catch the sun behind a tree trunk.
An overcast sky in the Scottish Highlands in Scotland, with trees on the hill slope. The aim was to catch the sun behind a tree trunk. (Print of this photo / More photos)

With these photos, the attempt was also to see whether the setting (or slowly going down) sun could be captures just behind the tree trunk, apparently seeming to peek from behind the tree trunk and make a sort of star effect. The photo below does show something like this, and I was satisfied with the final photo (I could have tried HRD and other effects), but the photos here are shown as they come out from the camera, without any effects, and I will continue to promote that.

Sun rays from behind a tree with cloudy sky in the Scottish Highlands, looking beautiful
Sun rays from behind a tree with cloudy sky in the Scottish Highlands (More photos / Print this photo)

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Monday, April 04, 2016

Beauty of the Corrieshalloch Gorge, near Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands

Ullapool is a famous stop in the Scottish Highlands, with a beautiful drive leading there. Even though it is a relatively small place, a number of people visit it; it is rich culturally and the views of the harbor are beautiful. But this post is not about Ullapool (will preserve that for some other time). This post is about a natural phenomenon, located just around 20 km south of Ullapool, the place being the Corrieshalloch Gorge and the related Falls of Measach.

Sign for the Corrieshalloch Gorge in Scotland
Sign for the Corrieshalloch Gorge in Scotland (More photos / Print photo)

Fence and Sign for the Corrieshalloch Gorge in Scotland
Fence and Sign for the Corrieshalloch Gorge in Scotland (More Photos / Print of this image)
The formation of the gorge was due to the ice age around 12000 years ago (or to be more accurate, by the withdrawal of the ice), when the rapid melting of the ice caused erosion of the rocks and formed a deep gorge. It is also called a box gorge, since it is narrow and long, with a length of around 1.5 km and a depth of 60 meters. To make it more splendid, a deep gorge makes more fun when there is a water body falling at one end, and that is what happens here as well, with the river Droma falling a depth of 45 meters at one end of the Gorge, and this fall also causes further erosion.

The beauty of the water fall at the Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach
Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach (More photos / Prints)

Falling water at the Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach
Falling water at the Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach (More photos / Prints)
This is not a waterfall where you can enjoy the depths of the water falling (even though by waterfall standards, the waterfall is not so majestic as the larger ones around the globe). The ravine has steep and sharp walls, and in terms of safety, getting to the bottom of the gorge is not allowed and there are no provisions to allow visitors to the bottom. The place is very rich in greenery, providing a wonderful place to come to. If there is no fear of heights, there is a small suspension bridge over the gorge that provides a great view of the sights, you can see the waterfall as well as the river flowing in a narrow channel way below.

Small wooden bridge over the Corrieshalloch Gorge
Small wooden bridge over the Corrieshalloch Gorge (More photos / Prints)

Wooden bridge over the Corrieshalloch Gorge
Wooden bridge over the Corrieshalloch Gorge (More photos / Prints)
The place belongs to the National Trust of Scotland, and you can enter through the gate, with a honesty box encouraging you to pay 2 pounds for a visit. This gate is located on the south side of the Gorge, and with a car park where you can stop. Typically, a visit to the place should not take more than a hour to two hours at the actual location, unless you just want to stop and enjoy nature and the exquisite geological feature. 

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