24 Hours on Skye (by Harry Martin)

Waterfall Skye Photo workshop

Photos and words by Harry Martin

The Isle of Skye is an increasingly popular tourist destination for holiday makers from all over the world. While those living on the island, such as myself, get to enjoy the splendours all year round most people’s experience of Skye is far more fleeting. There are many people who spend as little as 24 hours on the misty isle, obviously not enough time to take in everything. However, a recent 24 hour period proved to me that you can fill one day with some pretty special memories if you know how.

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Yosemite of Europe

Dol web 01

Having built the foundations of my photography career as a travel photographer, I have spent many years working and living all over the world.  During my travels I was lucky enough to visit some of the world’s most amazing landscapes, and got to know my favourite locations very well.  One of these places was northern Italy, when I decided to live in Venice for 6 months.  It’s a long story, but basically a budget airline was offering flights for 1p (including tax) to a selection of European cities, and Venice was on the list.  At the time (2003), I was contracted to work in London every Sunday, so it meant commuting back and forth every week. The airline promotion allowed me to book 26 return flights - flying out to Venice every Monday morning, and back every Saturday evening for six months, for the total cost of 52 pence - yes you did read that correctly.  It didn’t matter if I never used them, but once I had them I was determined to get my money’s worth!

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Old Man in Northern Light

Aurora Old Man of Storr

By Marcus McAdam

We’ve been treated to some great aurora displays up here on Skye over this winter.  However, I seem to always be off the island when the best ones occur.  Only a few weeks ago there was the most powerful solar storm in over a decade, but of course, I was in the Faroe Islands to photograph the solar eclipse.  You would have thought that being as far north as the Faroes, I would have been perfectly placed for a major aurora display, but I was actually too far north, as the display went far further south and was placed right over Scotland.

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Solar Eclipse Preview

By Marcus McAdam

Solar Eclipse Photography

On the morning of the 20th of this month, a partial solar eclipse will be visible from all of the UK, with north west Scotland seeing the maximum effect. I’ve witnessed a couple of solar eclipses in my life, and can honestly say that they were the most amazing natural phenomena I have experienced.  I remember the first one I saw in France in 1999, and although my expectations were high, I wasn’t prepared for the insult on the senses which were to arrive just before and during totality.  I remember when the Sun was covered by around 95%, the light became softer and a little diffused, unlike anything I had seen before.  The temperature suddenly started to drop, and the birds started to roost - it was mid morning. Then just before totality, bands of shadows raced across the landscape, each one becoming noticeably darker.  I had assumed that as the Sun was progressively covered by the Moon, that it would simply get gradually darker, like someone dimming the lights, but it was far from that.  It was more as though someone was turning off lights one at a time, with definite and sudden steps in the approaching darkness. Then the most amazing part, which to this day still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I think about it - a wall of darkness came rushing towards me from the west. 

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Exposing for the White Stuff

Snow footprints photographer

By Marcus McAdam

Winters here on Skye have a reputation for being dark, wet, windy and miserable affairs, but I think this does them a little injustice. I moved to Skye in 2009 and all the locals said that if I made it through my second winter then I’d be here for life.  It’s a well know local philosophy - a newcomer to Skye gets through their first winter by assuming it must just be a really bad year.  When the same thing happens again the following year, they pack up all their belongings and run as far as possible to warmer and gentler climes. However, my experience is slightly different, in that out of the six winters I have spent here on Skye, three of them have been wonderful.  I simply choose to forget about the other three!

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