Thursday, 24 October 2013

12-19th October 2013, Heights of Brae, Dingwall, Scotland.

The north east of Scotland would not be everyone's choice for a holiday destination at this time of year, but we love it and with a car packed with clothing for all weathers it was northwards that we set the steering wheel on Friday afternoon.

We chose to break the journey at the wonderful Ewich House a wonderful bed and breakfast stop but booking is essential.

My early morning walk in the grounds brought me a lovely look at one at one of the resident alpacas nibbling the dewy grass of early morn...

With a hearty breakfast enjoyed we had time in hand for the remaining 150 miles, enough time for stop by the commando memorial for a long distance look at the Nevis range...

The summit of Ben Nevis is central at the top of the photograph.

The journey continued up the Great Glen and by Loch monsters visible, and eventually a shopping stop at Inverness for provisions for the week.

A little further north and west through the Muir of Ord and Beauly and then Dingwall, time to get the detailed instructions out now to find the necessary route up to the cottage on the slopes of Ben Wyvis.

Unpacked, dined and outside enjoying the scenery something in the sky made me dash inside for the camera...a beautiful sunset.

The cottage came complete with a knowledgeable owner and when he greeted us by the croft on which the cottage is sited he passed on some local places he could recommend.

Setting out the next morning we were greeted by the wonderful sight of a red kite perched on a post...

We made our way to Rogie Falls, a beautiful place on any day I would think...

A walk in the woods produced a few bird sightings, a notable one being crossbills unfortunately the photographs up into the tops of tall trees were not good!

Weather forecasts disclosed better weather slightly westwards on Monday and we drove the 30 miles or so to Loch Maree. A walk in the Beinn Eighe nature reserve was non too difficult and the sun shone brightly, despite plenty of birdsong all around us the only worthwhile photograph I managed was a robin....

On a leisurely drive back we ventured down Glen Strathconon, three lochs and quiet if narrow road, highly recommended if you are in the area...several stag sightings, just poor light.

The next day was strange...many of our days on holiday we intend to be in one place and end up somewhere else...and not always by misread maps, instinct can be a funny thing!

We started at a bay recommended for bird watching locally, when we got there the paths were invisible in long thorn ridden grass and a check through the binocs disclosed few birds. Back in the car we ventured a little further...

A great buzzard sighting, first on a post then in flight...

A succession of unsigned junctions on quiet back roads later and several more buzzard sightings and we found ourselves in the port of Avoch.

Boat trips were available and a chat with one of the owners disclosed dolphins were still in the area, we booked on a later trip and enjoyed a short sunny walk and some lunch.

Boarding soon later we got sightings of a small group straight away, the difficulties of photographing swiftly moving creatures from a moving and pitching craft were all too evident in my early shots.

I persevered and searched my allotted deck area for bits where I could wedge myself to help holding camera and lens still.

A huge incoming group of geese distracted us momentarily, try counting them if you are short of something to do!

Resuming with the dolphins..

Returning to port a curlew posed nicely, a grand day.

The trip was not dedicated to photography, binoculars and spotting scope got some heavy use as we were treated to sights of dunlin, knott, shelduck, wigeon and many others including a rare slavonian grebe.

Grey dull light became the expected fare, rain thankfully stayed well away!

These common seals were taking a break in the Moray Firth as we passed one day...

Another robin shot...

And another as we drove out to Cromarty...

Some interesting fungi...

Chanonry Point is well known for dolphin sightings close to shore, we had no luck but the starlings and sparrows came close...

Our last day was spent in Glen Strathfarrar, a place of stunning beauty but take care to check opening availability if you wish to numbers are limited and days of opening are limited too!

This is Loch Monar at the "dead end" of the valley, with time in hand we could now reverse the journey and savour the sights and sounds.

The stags were roaring on the hills and a party of wildlife watchers on tour were fortunate to join us just as I spotted a pair of golden eagles soaring off a mist clad mountain.

Fieldfares had been numerous throughout the valley but nervy and impossible to get near enough, I found a sheltered spot and waited...

A newly arrived whooper swan was less nervous...

And as we neared the exit from the glen....

Truly a glen of tranquillity, magical and more great memories.

Many thanks to all who read and don't forget if you do wish to comment...they come to me first for approval :-))


  1. Wow.... will def have to try & get there one day. Fab pics/read Dave. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Wonderful photos Dave. I love Scotland and am sure we have been to Loch Maree

  3. What a wonderful holiday for you both Dave, some memorable sightings. Well worth that long drive, thank you for sharing your fantastic photos.

  4. Brilliant! Most enjoyable viewing Dave :)

  5. Nice photos. I bet you must have enjoyed your trip a lot. Oban is a rich and diverse place. You can see a lot of birds and animals in there and you'll even get the chance to see whales and dolphins during rib trip oban.