Edinburgh Christmas Market

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Not really used to the fisheye lens yet so not that many “good” shots.

Also trying out the new Guttenburg editor here.

Nice Gleaming Bike

Any dirt you see was added on the ride home – looked like it came from the showroom.

Huge thanks to Craig Fallow – you are a microfiber maestro!

Bird Silhouette

One of those shots that was just taken at the right time!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

New Lawnmower

I can’t wait for this to be back in stock. I’m assuming for £15,099.99 it includes a gardener to come and do my garden at the same time!

Searched for a petrol lawnmower – this was out of stock – at least they are suggesting comparable products:

  • Mole Traps
  • Pocker Deck Shuffler
  • Handrails
  • Water Filters

1400 miles = North Coast 500 – Done

After driving a portion of the route last year – we decided to do the full thing this year. We ended up not doing the full route but doing lots of extras.

We decided to do it in a leisurely fashion, without any huge mileage days and trying to stay in the same place for a couple of days to prevent the constant packing and unpacking.

We decided to do the route in a clockwise direction: North up the west coast, East along the north coast and South along the east coast. We skipped the portion from Inverness West to the west coast – we did this last year and replaced it with a tour of Skye.

One of my aims from this holiday was to perfect my photography technique for landscape panoramas – you have been warned!

Day 01 – Home to Inverarnon

Day 02 – Inverarnon to Edinbane

Day 03 – Exploring Skye

Day 04 – Edinbane to Gairloch

Day 05 – Exploring Loch Ewe

Day 06 – Gairloch to Scourie

Day 07 – Exploring Durness

Day 08 – Exploring Stoer

Day 09 – The North Coast

Day 10 – The East Coast

Day 11 – Inverness to Home

If you are interested in accessing full size full resolution versions of any of my images then please contact me using any of the social links listed here.

North Coast 500 – NC500 – Day 11 – Inverness To Home

On previous Inverness trips we have visited Nairn and loved it but we had never don further east. We rectified it this time by heading for Elgin. From here we headed down Speyside (scouting for another roadtrip ….) before hitting Aviemore then home.

I have just realised that I have not finished processing all my photos (~3000 in total) so I’ll update this post soon !

If you are interested in accessing full size full resolution versions of any of my images then please contact me using any of the social links listed here.

North Coast 500 – NC500 – Day 10 – The East Coast

The Pennyland House B&B gave me probably the best sleep of the trip, there was nothing wrong with the previous accommodation but the beds here were SO comfortable. Another fantastic breakfast set us up for a long day’s driving.

This was the leg of the journey that I enjoyed least, I’m not sure if it was because it was on “proper” roads or if it was just not as spectacular as the previous week ….

We headed south to Wick, had a wander around then hit the road to our lunch stop at Dunrobin Castle and gardens.

We then had just a number of little stops to break up the remainder of the journey including Loch Fleet

Dornoch and Tain – both of these are also on the list for a re-visit.

The final overnight stop for us and the end of the “official” North Coast 500 route was in Inverness. For us it was the Ballifeary Guest House. Inverness is an old stomping ground for as as we are veterans of the marathon but a new discovery there; The Malt Room did mean it was a late night for us!

If you are interested in accessing full size full resolution versions of any of my images then please contact me using any of the social links listed here.

North Coast 500 – NC500 – Day 09 – The North Coast

Back north again – this time for the final time. I did enjoy driving the A838. It was very remote and very scenic.

We then passed the Kyle Of Durness, when we passed this previously the tide had been out, now in it was completely transformed.

It was then on to Durness – here we stumbled upon a small secluded beach – probably the nicest (of the many) on the trip. I have since found out it’s Sango Sands.

There were still lots of beaches to discover and still lots of scenic hills to admire. Not on the same scale as the west coast but the north coast was not as “barren” or “boring” as the guide books would have you believe.

The next stand out moment was at Tongue, here the road crosses a causeway and you can park and admire the scenic views in all directions.

Next stop – the must see location of John O’Groats. Again another location that was not as bad as the guide books claimed. OK we arrived late after most of the shops were closed and there were not too many (other) tourists around. A nice walk along the coast and you can see just how close Orkney actually is. I think that we should visit there next time!

Much more impressive in my mind at least is Duncansby Head (yes another lighthouse)

Finished in the north east corner we started to backtrack to or accommodation but we had to visit Dunnet Head – the most northerly point of mainland Scotland.

Back along the coast road – back into Thurso for our overnight stay in the Pennyland House B&B which has stunning views out to the sea.

If you are interested in accessing full size full resolution versions of any of my images then please contact me using any of the social links listed here.

North Coast 500 – NC500 – Day 08 – Exploring Stoer

On the route north we had missed out this coastal route as time was getting on so we headed back south to complete this loop. This was a good decision to postpone this as these roads are quite narrow – it was good to slow down and enjoy the views.

First stop was back to Lochinver to visit the Highland Stoneware factory where you can watch real craftsmen and women doing their work. They make it look so effortless, chatting with you and answering your questions while they do their work.

We were now continuing on the coastal route – taking in various beaches:

Achmelvich

Clachtoll

before heading for the Stoer lighthouse (I have only just realised how much I like the scenery at lighthouses and they are so photogenic in their own right)

From here – it was back round the coast road – taking in the Kylesku bridge which we had zoomed over two days previous. Back to the Eddrachilles Hotel for another sumptuous dinner – chilling out and some failed attempts at photographing the stars.

(I was trying to get the sundial to point at the moon – but was struggling to see anything through the viewfinder)

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North Coast 500 – NC500 – Day 07 – Exploring Durness

This was a deliberate lazy day for us. Our friends headed off to visit Sandwood Bay whilst we had a lazy morning exploring the lovely gardens and shoreline at the Eddrachilles Hotel.

We then headed north towards Durness and Smoo Cave. This is a coastal cave which you can go down and explore. There are various blowholes letting in light and the portion of the cave which is flooded – you can explore via boat. We did not partake in that this time.

From there we headed to the Balnakeil Craft Villiage where we visited the excellent Cocoa Mountain for a hot chocolate before exploring the various arts and crafts venues.

On the recommendation of the staff the Eddrachilles Hotel we headed down to the beach at Balnakeil. There is a lovely old church and graveyard there along with a stunning beach.

It was then back to the Eddrachilles Hotel for yet another stunning meal then chilling out by the fire.

If you are interested in accessing full size full resolution versions of any of my images then please contact me using any of the social links listed here.