Skye 2019: Part Eleven
24 June 2019
As I drove, I finally found myself at Loch Slapin. Now here was a place worth stopping for, not least because I needed to stretch my legs. (well OK… that’s just polite speak for this old lady bladder needed emptying, alright…?!) As I rounded the bend and came down the hill, I saw a lovely big area where I could park safely off the main, single lane road. As I looked around me, I immediately noticed a white house across the Loch, standing alone with a gorgeous backdrop of trees and mountains. It was a lovely sight, and totally worthy of a photo for sure. This would only serve me as a memory note however, because the light really needed to be much nicer for this to be anywhere near a stunning shot. But for me, I certainly felt it had the potential to be just that at some point. I took my photo and then went on my way again. According to my satnav, I wasn’t going to get to Elgol until gone 4, so I didn’t want to waste much time here now I had noted it for future use.
As the hills climbed and dropped, I found myself squeezing past buses and other vans, but very few cars which surprised me because I thought this would be a really popular place for visitors. Maybe it was a little late in the day for them? It felt like a long trip down that road, and after Slapin, nothing particularly drew my attention. To be fair, I wasn’t really looking… I arrived in Elgol and initially parked up just before really steep hill down to the bay. The sky looked pretty grim – not characterful grim, but certainly not pretty, and no way was there going to be any chance of a nice sunset. I felt tired, totally uninspired and his hill looked steep with the prospect of walking up it with all my kit on my back being the furthest from encouraging! My mood continued its route downwards and I just sat in the drivers seat considering my choices. I could a) stay and see what I could do here b) go back toward where I had been or c) park closer…
I decided to see if I could park closer first, then consider. I had to drive down the hill as gently as I could, as this was, I think, the steepest one I had done in Fred (the camper) to date, and it worried me. I struck lucky and found that there was one small area that I might be able to squeeze into in the bay car park. From here you could easily see the rocky beach, and I decided that, as I had actually made the effort to drive all this way, I may as well stay and see what I might get. My seascape photography was still poor, as I hadn’t really tried it much on this trip, so here was another opportunity. I was here. Why waste the chance? It took a lot of persuading to get me out of the seat, but I did eventually get out.
An hour later, I left even grumpier than I had arrived and in a very similar mood to the one this morning. The same problems had returned in major style, and I didn’t feel anything was working. Sorely disappointed that I had yet another view in front of me without clear mountains, or that fitted in with the shot I hoped for, I found it hard to see the scene. to see a composition I liked, to work the settings to my satisfaction or to enjoy anything about where I was. I basically felt like I was forcing everything, and struggled with it all.
In hindsight, all I needed to do was ease up on myself. All this pressure to get something was hampering my enjoyment, and I struggled to see the wood for the trees. I didn’t like anything in my viewfinder, and although tried, felt like I was a useless, and terrible photographer, and I wondered what I thought I was even trying to do. I forgot one of the golden rules. Slow down, take a breath, and just chill. This should never have been about ‘getting a shot’, but in checking this location out! It was about seeing what was here and taking it all in for what it was. I had totally forgotten. Being a subject I didn’t consider as a strong one for me, probably didn’t help, although on reflection, all things considered, and without my hopes for the day in my head any more, I really needn’t have been quite so uptight with myself…
I feel now, that I had totally overdone everything and I had just ended up developing a steely determination to just get there and take the photo. This attitude stank as far as I am concerned. That’s definitely NOT what I wanted this to be about. I feel that perhaps it was all part of the big bag of tiredness, lack of food (when had I last had a proper meal??) and over saturation from the days where I had been packing multiple locations in. This was a very bad habit I was to find myself repeating over and over whenever I went away. When will I ever learn?? There’s no rush, these places will still be here next time I come here… and I had every intention of coming back. I forget that rest, food and the enjoyment all add to the end product. I have still SO much to learn…
I got back into Fred, and headed back towards Portree, where I hoped to get a photo of the harbour houses, and find somewhere to stop for the night. As I drove my negative frame of mind hammered at the nail, nearly sealing the fate of my Skye visit. I got to Portree, and (as I had experienced every visit to this small town) struggled to find anywhere to park. I ended up parked in one bay (residents only- oops) and wondered if I could even get find where the shot I had been seeing online had been taken. I walked up and down, and back up again, but to no avail. The only shot I eventually got was looking down from the roadside and when I looked, was absolutely no better than the tourist shot I had caught way back in 2012. This just crippled me, and I snapped.
I got into the camper and left Skye.
This was all just too much.