Wednesday 23rd May
11.04 Left the house. A38, M1, M18, A1 to Scotch Corner and then the A66 to Bowes and the B6277 through Teesdale.
1.33 Stopped at Bowlees Visitor Centre for a very pleasant lunch and then went to The High Force.
3.30 Left High Force and continued on to Alston and Brampton and then a short distance on the M6 to the A75 and on to Dumfries.
4.55 Arrived and unpacked.
Thursday 23rd May
10.30 Drove through Dumfries and on to Newton Stewart and Minningaff. I spotted the youth hostel and then realised that the cottage I stayed in was opposite. All painted pretty white now. From there we travelled the forest road all the way to Straiton. A marvellous drive, must go down on the list as a favourite.
Once we reached the main road we put in the postcode for the next hotel and just travelled on to Oban.
6.45 Went to The Fish Restaurant. It was upstairs at the docks and although I had looked at the menu I did not know what it was like. When we went in we were very impressed. There was a large dining room with a huge bay window that had a view of the bay. The food and wine were excellent.
8.00 Back to the hotel. B read whilst I went to take photographs.
Friday 24th May
Checked out by 9.00. Put in the post code for The Cullin Hills Hotel and set off.
Stopped at Fort William for coffee. 11.50 Left there having checked that the sat nav was using the route we wanted. It is a good job we did because it was going to take us via Mallaig. Drove past the hotel we had stayed in many years ago at Invergarry. Stopped for lunch of an apple beside a loch. Stopped again at Eileen Donan Castle which was partially covered in scaffolding and green sheeting. So that was one photo opportunity ruined. From there we drove past Kinloch Lodge and the Duisdale Hotel both of which we stayed in before and then on to Eilean Sionnach Isleoransay. I couldn't see how to get to the position others had taken the photo from and so gave up. Need an OS map really to find the paths. From there we went on to Broadford, where we had an ice cream, and left and along the fifteen mile road to Elgol. Fantastic drive along a narrow road. However, when we got there it was a messy place with piles of junk. Took a few quick photos and left. I had noted the time and didn't want to arrive at the hotel later that 5.30.
5.10 Arrived at the well positioned Cullin Hills Hotel. Checked in and booked dinner for 6.00
6.10 Dinner at a prized window table as arranged: a truly delightful meal. Attended by a very pleasant waitress who was soon to go on holiday to Nice. We were able to recommend some things to see.
Saturday 25th May
8.10 Left the hotel and drove to Uig. Arrived at 8.40, bought petrol, and then joined the line for the boat. Dove to the Hebredian Art Gallery, Coffee Shop. Had coffee and bought some cards. Buel Na Mara was just along the road. Drove on the church at Rodel.
From there on to Manish and the rest of the circuit. Neither of us enjoyed this bit really.
6.00 We went to The Harris Hotel for dinner.
7.30 Called in next door where the three other photographers were staying and shared wine and cheese.
Sunday 26th May
4.30 Put on my green wellies and walked along the shore taking photographs of the patterns I could see.
Then took some of the birds and finally of the scenery.
9.00 Breakfast on our own in the conservatory with stunning views.
The food was really enjoyable and the cooked breakfast was excellent. Took our time over breakfast and discussed with Catherine where to walk. Walked on the beach opposite where we were staying. From there we went to Luskentyre beach which turned out to be a longer drive than we thought it might be. Well worth it though. Makes Inch Strand look like a children's sand pit.
Stopped on the road on the way back and had our lunch of various bits of fruit.
2.00ish we went to Scarasta and had a walk, took some more photos.
Drove to Leverburgh hoping that the shop would be open but it wasn’t.
5.00 Back to Buel Na Mara, changed and out for dinner.
6.05 Drove to Tarbert hoping to eat in the bar of the Harris Hotel. It was closed. So rather than go back to the hotel restaurant we thought we would try The Hebredean. We were not hopeful. However, they were open, offered us a table immediately and the food was excellent.
7.40 Back to Buel Na Mara, quick chat with Catherine about breakfast, cookery courses, foxes and mink - and no the chickens are not shut up at night.
Monday 27th May
9.00 Another excellent breakfast and found out the password for the wifi and so am connected. Walked over to the spit and had another go at photographing the terns.
11.00 We left for Tarbert and took the Huishnuish road. We stopped at the pathway to the Eagle Observatory and had a walk of a couple of kilometers. Then followed an amazing drive past Amhuinnsuidhe Castle finishing at Huishnuish. The wind was so severe I gave up photographing because I didn't want to damage the camera.
When we got back to Tarbert we went to a charity shop for cards. After that we called in at Grosebay which was another disappointment because of the rubbish. From there we went to Rodel Hotel to book for dinner. Stopped off at Leverbugh to take some snaps and then stopped again to photograph the off shore wind creating foam spray off the top of the waves.
6.16 Back to Rodal Hotel: A salmon mousse b had the biscuits, B salmon in a sauce, A steak in blue cheese
8.00 Back to Buel Na Mara, called round for a drink and a natter with the photographers next door.
9.20 Went off across the spit. Met up with S and took 60 shots...the lee filter ones were the best.
11.00 Back to our room: downloading photos and writing diary and photography notes.
Tuesday 28th May
8.55 Called on the others to say that we were going to Stornoway and then to Callanish. T asked when we would arrive there and I guessed 3.pm. They were also going there today.
9.00 Another super breakfast.
10.15 Left, bought petrol in Tarbert and then drive on to Stornoway. Looked in bookshops and had a wander round. Looked at the castle which is being refurbished. Stopped for coffee in the Woodshed.
1.30 Drove from there to the Black Houses at Arnol where we had lunch and another wander round.
Then drove in to Callanish and arrived at 2.58 just at the same time as F, T and S. Chatted and then split up. I went to photograph and the others arrived soon after. Several coach parties arrived but it was possible to take some snaps every now and then. I chatted to a lady and then she talked with B for ages.
4.45 We left but the others were staying on until sunset. We enjoyed the drive back and stopped in a layby with a fabulous view of a loch.
6.15 Arrived at the Harris Hotel Bar and had a bar meal.
7.30 Back at Buel Na Mara. Downloading photos, writing diary and photography notes.
9.00 Back out to take photos
10.30 Came in having taken 52 shots. Quite pleased with them. Chatted to Catherine about our day.
Wednesday 29th May
9.05 Breakfast with the other occupants
10.05 Off to photograph the marram grass near the school. Chatted to the lady with the lovely house at the end of the bay which they are building themselves.
11.10 Off to the Eagle Observatory.
12.30 Left the car, walked to the observatory and saw no birds at all. Heard two Cuckoos. Also saw and heard two Golden Plovers chasing off a common gull.
2.45 Back to the car for lunch and then on to look at Scalpay.
6.15 Went to Tarbert and booked for the next two nights at The Hebridean - my choice. Then we went on to the Harris Hotel Bar Meal area and ordered this evening's meal.
8.00 Back at Buel Na Mara
Thursday 30th May
8.30 Popped in next door - chatted about our intentions and where we had been yesterday.
10.30 Off to Leverburgh to the shop to buy apples. When we got there though we went upstairs to the cafe and gift shop where we found the Jack Byard Sheep Books that we have been looking for. Also suggested that B should buy a Hebrides small address book. Took some photos.
Drove Back along the road to the salt flats, turned left and went to the cafe for coffee. Then joined the others on the salt flats and took photographs of Toe Head.
Then to the camp site at Horgabost for lunch and to take more photographs. Took photos of dogs here.
Back to the bay with the rocks and spent nearly an hour doing long exposure shots.
After that we went to Grosebay and on to the Golden Road which was well worth it. Took some photos but it was worth it for the views more than anything.
5.10 Back to Buel Na Mara and a drink. B to read and me to download today's photographs.
5.45 Left for the Hebridean Hotel: an excellent meal which we both really enjoyed.
7.10 Left there and back to Buel Na Mara.
8.30ish T called round and we went to photograph birds on the spit. As we realised later, there was not really enough light. But, I have one or two landscape shots that I am pleased with so it was worth it. Went back to the bungalow and looked at T's photos. On the way back we heard the elusive Corncrake. I described it as an old man struggling with a washboard.
Image from The Western Isles
11.30ish S and F returned having been photographing the water splashing on the rocks near the standing stone. Very impressed by the photographs.
Friday 31st May
9.00 Breakfast and a whole new lot of people.
9.55 Set off. Bought petrol at Tarbert and then went on to Stornoway to the Cabarfeidh Hotel for coffee. Very pleasant surroundings and good coffee.
11.45 Set off for the Arnol Blackhouses. They were open today and we had a good look round and chatted to the man in the shop about the houses and sheep. Took quite a few photos. Visited the house opposite and took photos.
From there we went to Carloway Dun Broch which was fascinating.
Had lunch in the car park. Then on to Callanish where we walked around the other two smaller stone circles and around the almost derelict house.
3.45 Left Callanish and drove back to Tarbert where we went to the Charity shop again.
5.10 Back at Buel Na Mara. Showered, changed and packed.
6.05 Left for the Hebridean Hotel Restaurant, where I think the five of us had a really good meal.
8.55 Back at Buel Na Mara, finished packing.
10.05 B glued to her book. I set off across the spit. Met T at the top of the hill and used the same settings as he did although my camera didn't seem to produce similar results. Then S showed me what she had done which was to crouch low over a small amount of water to make it look as though the foreground was all water with the mountains in the background. Rushed off to have a go at that and am very pleased with the results. Then, at 11.00 pm I finally got round to doing what I wanted which was use the 10 stop filter. 4 minutes produced the result I wanted in those light conditions.
12.15 Back to our room to download.