Scotlands Highlands 2020: Part Seventeen
8 August 2020
Today was changeover day number 3!
With 3/5ths of the trip complete, I was now leaving Ross and Cromarty, and heading out of the Highlands over to Moray for a few days. I started off as usual by sorting Fred, and to do so I visited Highland Campervans (https://www.highlandcampervans.com/motorhome-service-point) in Inverness-shire to empty the loo, grey water and to fill up with fresh water… if you have been following this, you know the drill by now. I was there bright and early, and the guys were really helpful and happily just left me to it. For just £5 it was well and truly worth visiting here.. so much so, I came back here after Moray for changeover number 4 as well!
I hadn’t really thought of the order in which I might visit any of the locations I had plotted in here, so I basically thought I would just head on down to the furthest and work my way back up towards the coast. I was aiming for Glenlivet initially, but spotted another location I wanted, literally on the way, and diverted myself towards Dulsie bridge instead. This looked much closer, and it didn’t take me long to get there. I squeezed Fred into a small layby before climbing over a wall, (daft move, I should have driven to the other side of the bridge -there’s loads of parking there!) and following a small worn footpath down to the water. As I clambered down, I heard several voices, and once under the bridge found myself sharing the space with about 6 young men, all jumping from various heights into the river below. Freejumpers! I have never seen these before! Fascinated, I spent ages just watching them, and even cheering one on at one point.. well… until they all started encouraging me to have a try..(!!) .. whereby I politely declined, citing that I sadly (!!) didn’t have my swimming costume with me… (I know – shame right??!!!)
I felt quite self conscious about getting my camera out to take any photos for a while, and when I did, the photos were rushed, and not really what I wanted. Very little thought went into them, and at the time I resigned myself to naff ones that wouldn’t amount to anything. They would still serve as a reminder of this location for future ventures here… so I wasn’t worried about it.
Ideally, I would have gotten my filters out so that the bubbles in the water would have made delicate streaks, and I wanted to have a good clamber closer to the waters edge… but too shy to do much, I contented myself with my token snaps (which in hindsight were way better than I expected) and just watching the lads. This bit turned out to be the highlight of this location!
After about 20 minutes of watching them jumping off near a waterfall, they ventured to another spot nearer the bridge, when another group of about 5 arrived. Unfortunately these guys left their bags and stood, right in the middle of my scene, so any further photo opportunities would be pretty impossible. However, several of them were far more adventurous and had no qualms about jumping off the bridge itself! This was clearly a winner with everyone around me! Two other lads briefly dropped past, but I suspect they were just hikers as they left shortly afterwards, then a third group of about 7 arrived, with some girls, and also picked a spot in the middle of my scene to settle into. I packed everything away, but fascinated, I videoed their shenanigans instead and sent it back to the kids to see. Then I felt it was time to move on. I could try here another date no doubt, and maybe, (if I pick a cold season), I might get this to myself too…maybe!
(I re-edited it for this blog… my first attempt at editing… hope you like it! Music is Punky by Bensound.com)
No idea why, but I abandoned the Glenvilet idea, and decided to look for Cullen. There were basically two reasons I came to Moray, one was to see Bow Fiddle Rock, and the other was to try home made Cullen Skink from its actual birthplace! Well Bow Fiddle was my aim for sunset and sunrise, and since there was still a fair bit of time, I thought maybe I could try Cullen Skink for tea! I went, but the cafe I hoped to get my skink from was closed (I missed it by 5 minutes – gagh!) and the pub which was my second choice wasn’t serving for another two hours. Disappointed, I took a quick walk across the sea front instead and decided to just go to Bow Fiddle to make my own tea while I waited for the sunset. Cullen Skink would wait for another day..
When I arrived at the sat nav coordinates for Bow Fiddle, I was absolutely amazed to find this well known photographers hotspot literally at the end of a residential street. I parked up, walked across the green, and saw it standing there in the ocean, looking just as lovely as all the photos I had seen. I was not at all disappointed! I hoped to stay here for the night to get an evening, and sunrise shot so, looking around the area, I found a nice spot tucked away from the houses – the last thing I wanted to do was disturb residents at 4am with slamming camper doors. I saw another van down here and stopped for a brief chat to discover another man hoping for a sunrise shot. Fingers crossed we both get the pictures we hoped for.
As the evening progressed into golden hour, I gathered my kit and River, and took the short walk down to the small cove and had an explore. There was another older gent here already taking photos, and when it looked like it was just going to be the two of us (I was a little surprised not to see Camper fella), a large group of foreign tourists turned up. I held off taking any more pictures for a while as they filled the scene, then one younger fella decided that he would climb the rock itself. I was really sad to see all the gulls that had been settling down for the evening startled into flight and they continually circled the rock as he made his ascent. I suddenly realised however, that this might be a good opportunity to try taking a shot while attempting to keep speeding birds in focus. This wasn’t easy. I hadn’t read how to do this, and ended up faffing with the controls. I knew I needed to get my shooting speed up, but kept fighting to get the light correct. I finally settled on shots with 1/1600 sec which seemed to have sharp birds and the better lighting. (header pic)
Thankfully the group all left shortly after that, and the older chap and I were left to our photos in peace. The sun didn’t really kick off, but it did give a delightful pink hue to the wispy cloud, which reflected perfectly in a pool around a line of rocks. I was sad the tide had gone out, as I think it might have made a nicer shot, but I had a good explore of the angles here ready for the morning instead. As the evening drew on I tried to spark up a conversation with the man, but he seemed very quiet. I did eventually manage brief discussions on filters and the oncoming dawn with him, and as the conversation grew, I showed him the dawn photo I had taken at the Mermaid of the North yesterday. “Where is THAT?!!” he asked. Now, he looked experienced, and he was a Scot from this neck of the woods, so this question really surprised me. Even a local photographer didn’t know this spot?!! What was wrong with it, that the Mermaid wasn’t well known to people?! I told him where she was, so I hope he visited and caught some cracking shots of his own…
He left shortly afterwards as the evening darkened and a few minutes later, I decided that bed was calling for me too. It was going to be an early one tomorrow…