Since I’m more the type for the Nordic countries and especially Great Britain, the country of my ancestors, Scotland had long been high on my „To Do“ list. After our Workshop on the Islands of Lofoten in February 2014, we had Scotland on our bucket list for July. We (Thomas, a photo colleague and I) had traveled to Ireland to photograph a year earlier, but the result were quite few “good” photos (if according to current knowledge, not even zero) and after the workshop we felt safe to make more “good” images, and wanted to use our new learnings, only if you use something you can learn even more!
But that’s really just where it starts. If you have chosen the destination, the questions will soon follow: best travel time, weather dependency of each spot, sun rise or –set location? Low Tide? High Tide? Something in between?
I will write about our approach in this first section of our Scotland-Post, maybe it will help other beginners!
Since this was our first photo travel with planning, I found the variety of information overwhelming and was a bit lost in the prioritization. So, before starting all the booking of our flights and accommodations, I wanted roughly plan the tour and potential spots. I started with viewing images on 500px, Google, etc. and marked what I liked. To our benefit in 2014 was “Homecoming Scotland” and the accompanying website (www.homecomingscotland.com) provided many tour suggestions ordered by nature, hiking, sightseeing, etc. In these tours I found some more ideas and they gave me an idea on what is possible to see/do on one day. More information can be found on www.visitscotland.com, for example if you need to plan a family vacation, as not all photographers travel without their families! I found it difficult to assess how much time I should reserve for a spot, as many places are very dependent on the weather, so I just decided that “it varies” 😀
In the end, I started an Excel spreadsheet to keep up with the region, locations + activities, possible accommodations (later, of course, only the booked accommodation) and the travel times to our accommodation and partly the travel time to individual spots. This table was then supplemented with more locations and links. This process has eaten a lot of time, estimated I’d say at least one week. Of course, over a longer period but just to find accommodation proofed somewhat difficult, for example on Skye, I wrote to approx. 50 B&B and only two of them had any rooms left! So we were really glad we`d chosen to book in advance instead of just driving up there and then have to sleep in our tiny car, that would certainly NOT have made me happy.
We booked our accommodation depending on how many locations we`ve found in each region. So the nights spend ranged from one to seven. The regions were: Falkirk, Loch Lomond National Park, Skye, Elgin and the Lake District in Yorkshire (England not Scotland). Our flights took to and from Manchester as they were a lot cheaper than to Edinburgh or Glasgow! Also our rental car was only have of what we would`ve paid on the other airports.
Since we wanted to spend a whole week on Skye, I was looking for a local photographer to show us some “secret” locations. I found Marcus Mc Adam (www.portraitsofaland.com) his impressive images and nice website convinced me. The first contact was very pleasant too so a date was quickly found. This was the second time we booked a local photographer on our travels and on both occasions this proved to be worth every penny! I can really, full heartedly recommend Marcus to any of you traveling to Skye and wanting to see some different locations or just enjoy being on the right spot the right time without racking your brains.
In Part two you will see if your plan worked and what I will do differently. If you have any questions or remarks, just ask away!