Outer Hebrides Photo Adventure – Vatersay, Barra and the Uists
This week long Outer Hebrides photo adventure will have a maximum of 6 participants and will explore the southern part of the Outer Hebridean archipelago from the Island of Vatersay in the south to Berneray to the north.
In early Autumn the weather should be milder as wild autumn light works its magic on the beaches and landscapes of this remote part of the British Isles. You’ll be able to explore all the islands, sample local seafood and get a look into their past and build a picture of life in the Outer Hebrides
Vatersay, Barra and Eriskay
These three small islands could be a weeks destination in themselves. Barra is often called the “Hebrides in miniature or Barrabados”, due to its aqua blue seas and un-spoilt silver-golden sands. Its main settlement, as the name suggests has a photogenic castle ( Kisimul) sitting just 100m offshore and dates back to the 16th century. The west coast is more exposed, battered by the waves of the Atlantic ocean with plenty of interesting rocky inlets and bays to create some dynamic seascape compositions.
To the north a short Isthmus pokes out into the sea with amazing views and the incredibly beautiful Traigh Eas beach, backed by some of the highest sand dunes in the British Isles. The beach is overlooked by the former home of Compton Mackenzie in the 1930’s , the author of “Whiskey Galore” which was set on nearby Eriskay.
The East beach – Traigh Mor is a wide tidal expanse of sand covered by the sea for part of the time. At low tide the beach serves as the islands airport, where scheduled flights from Glasgow land on a beach, a unique airport in the world.
Barra is joined to Vatersay by a short causeway and is endowed with three stunning beaches connected by a wonderful coastal walk that takes in views of the island’s surroundings. The west beach has some interesting eclectic relics in the dunes, old boats, rusting tractors and lobster pots that offer narratives and themes of island life.
A 40 minute ferry ride north, Eriskay might be small but it has several claims to fame as well as its natural beauty. The Prince’s beach is where Bonnie Prince Charlie first set foot on Scottish soil when he sailed from France, which signalled the start of the 1745 Jacobite uprising. It’s also home to Eriskay Ponies which are the last remnant of Scotland’s native horse with less that 300 now remaining.
It’s also the location of the novel Whiskey Galore previously mentioned and we’ll pay a visit to the pub by the beach which takes its name from the cargo ship SS Politician that ran aground leaving its cargo of whisky at the mercy of the population.
South Uist and Benbecula
Eriskay is linked to South Uist, (the second biggest island in the outer Hebrides) by another causeway. The first thing you notice on South Uist are the many lochans scattered everywhere as you pass by and some higher dramatic peaks in the distance , these being Ben Mhor and Thacla to the north east.
To the north of the peaks is Loch Druidbeg, a haven for birdlife and the single track road offers great views and compositions across to the mountains. The loch is also a haven for birds and managed by the RSPB. The single track roads then leads on to Loch Skipport and the old 19th century pier, once the islands main point for cargo and shipping, now replaced by Lochboisdale futher south. We’ll also explore its Machair covered west coast with glimpses over golden sands to the wild Atlantic.
We’ll also look into the past at the Kildonan museum which houses a collection of old Black and White photographs of island life, some nearby ruined black houses and the birth place of Highland heroine Flora Macdonald.
Across another causeway over a sandy expanse the road then takes us to Benbecula, a place that really does sound like it exists on the edge of the world. A low lying island, the east is mostly inaccessible as it’s strewn with wild lochs and peaty pools, mostly the retreat of adventurous and intrepid wild trout fisherman. My own father being one of them in the 1970’s.
To the west we’ll follow the short coast road taking what photo opportunities we find as the weather and light combine across the sea and maybe catch sight of rocky St Kilda in the distance.
North Uist and Berneray
Looking at a map of North Uist you’d think there was more water than land and that’s probably not far from fact.
Sleepy North Uist is again half waterlogged by small lochs and makes for some stunning aerial photography. At low tide the smaller island of Baleshare seems to float in the distance surrounded by dazzling white sand washed clean by each retreating tide. And it’s here that Tidal strands of water create abstract patterns as they trickle out to sea.
Again the Atlantic facing west coast has some magnificent beaches, vistas and old ruins to capture and explore.We’ll make a circuit of the island seeking out wild light and simple compositions before heading across another causeway to little Berneray.
Little Berneray’s west coast is almost entirely a giant strand of empty beach and high dunes. The islands main settlement to the east provides offers a variety of subjects just by strolling along the shore from the harbour and around the bay.
Grey seals can often be spotted and on the far side of the bay where there are deserted houses and a little further on the white sands of the east beach.
The outer Hebrides always offer an abundance of wild light and unforgettable moments and unique imagery – register your interest with Glen so you don’t miss out
Outer Hebrides Photo Adventure subject matter
Wild Atlantic beaches, wild seascapes, mountains, Black house ruins, harbours , Machair covered dunes, wild open spaces, lochans, birdlife and more
We spend most of our time being photographers and exploring the outdoors on our adventures but its nice to come back to a great meal and a comfy bed and start each day with the option of a traditional Scottish Breakfast.
All the venues I choose provide this but most importantly are convenient to our locations.
Isle of Barra – 3 nights self contained accommodation near Bruernish
North Uist – 3 nights Temple View Hotel
Getting there Pick up in drop off in Glasgow or meet in Oban
Scheduled for 16th – 22nd September 2024 ( dates will be confirmed when ferry times are published)
Staring location – Glasgow (for Oban departure )
Ending Location – Glasgow (from Mallaig return)
Meals – packed lunches or cafes along the way. Dinner at local restaurants /pubs as appropriate to our schedule.
Includes – 6 nights accommodation with breakfast, all ferries, transport and guiding to all locations, refreshments and creative and technical photographic support. Trip Fee £2495.00 – Deposit £250.00
Group size 6 places – Sold Out
The full balance will be due 90 days prior to the start date.
Essential equipment camera, lenses ( 16mm wide to telephoto 200mm ) and good quality tripod and waterproof camera bag.
Non essential but recommended Polariser, neutral density graduated and straight neutral density filters would be useful 6 to 10 stop. I use Lee ND filters both hard and soft the drop in type rather than screw in. If you can a laptop with Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop or other image editing software might be useful if the weather gets the better of us on some days.. Good quality waterproof camera bag.
Please register your interest with Glen. Further information will be added soon.
Visit the Lightstalkers Scotland testimonial page here