Tag Archives: snowy glencoe
Once we had left Lochan na H-Achlaise, we headed for the Devils Staircase. This is a part of the West Highland Way and is a small section of the walk from Kingshouse to Kinlochleven. The main interest for us was not completing this section of the walk, but instead we wanted to use this path to gain some elevation and get a new view down the Pass of Glencoe. Once we reached the top of the Devils Staircase, which to be honest was rather disappointing as it was neither difficult or that much of a climb, we had a good view over to Ben Nevis and the Mamores. This was an ideal location for a panoramic shot. This is a large file of over 11000 pixels on the long side and is made up of 12 vertical images stitched together.
Another view, this time from a single image. This concentrates more on the wonderful mackerel sky.
We then decided to head towards the top of Stob Mhic Mhartuin which at 2100ft has quite a good viewpoint along the pass of Glencoe. Cameron so kindly provided a much needed bit of foreground interest in this shot!
We then headed back down and rejoined the original path near the bottom of the hill. I saw this small footbridge on the way up and thought it would be a pretty good lead-in towards the Buachaille (Stob Dearg). By this time it was mid-afternoon and the sun was starting to get a bit low in the sky. I had to use two ND grad filters on this shot, a 3 Stop soft and a 2 Stop soft for a total of 5 Stops, to try and hold back the sky and balance the exposure. I like the setting of the image but I think it might be better to revisit it at another time of the year when the light is a bit more favourable and the foliage is a touch greener instead of a dull brown.
Afther making the way back to the car, we then decided to head for a location to get a decent sunset. Again because of the time of year and the position of the sun, we decided to head for the coast and we chose Castle Stalker.
A question that seems to be asked loads of times in forums and on search engines is…where is the lone or dead tree in Glencoe. I will answer that question for you right now. To find the lone tree. You will have left Lochan Nah Achlaise and are climbing the hill on the A82 heading towards Glencoe. Once you get up the hill, a few hundred yards on the right hand side there is a layby for 3 or 4 cars. It’s not this one! Go further on and the next turning on the right goes into a small gravel car park. Park here. If you now look in North Westerly direction you should see the tree about 2-300 yards away. There is a well worn path here which you can follow to it. If you get it in the right weather it can be a good place for a panoramic shot of Glencoe.
Hopefully I have helped you find the elusive tree!
The harsh winter of 2011-12 has saw the demise of this poor tree. All that is left is a sorry stump!
The planning starts the night before a trip, it involves checking the weather forecast on a few websites as the BBC’s weather is sometimes not the most reliable! Then the sunrise and sunset times are noted along with using Memory Map to scope out suitable locations for sunrise/ sunset shots.
The weather forecast looked promising, light winds with a low of -7c. Ideal weather for a trip away. Glencoe is about 100 miles from my house, so planning is important as I don’t like to squander time (or money) on a wasted trip.
The plan was to get a sunrise at Rannoch Moor. Either Loch Ba, which would mean facing towards the sunrise, or Lochan Nah Achlaise which would mean the sunrise light hitting the Black Mount behind the Lochan.
I left around 5.15am, a little later than planned, luckily the traffic was light. As I travelled further north, the temperature gauge on the car started going lower and lower until I reached Loch Tulla and the gauge was showing -15c. The whole of the Loch was frozen over, which I thought would be a good picture opportunity for later on. There was not a cloud in the sky until I went up the hill towards Rannoch Moor. As soon as I got closer towards Rannoch Moor, I drove into a bank of freezing mist with visibility was down to around 30 feet. This was no use, you couldn’t even see the sky never mind the sunrise. I made the decision not to hang about and started back down towards Loch Tulla where I knew I would be able to get something decent.
This first picture was taken by the side of Loch Tulla after a climb over a fence and down towards the Lochside. The sunrise was still about 10-15 minutes away so the predawn light was starting to change from dark blue to shades of pink and purple.
The next couple of images were taken after sunrise with the sun hitting the black mount behind the Loch. After I had exhausted all possibilities for sunrise shots, I decided to head back up to Rannoch Moor and see if the mist had lifted.
On getting back up to Lochan Nah Achlaise, I was greeted with the glorious sight of the mist starting to lift revealing the sunlight striking the Black Mount behind the Lochan. A few shots later and it was in the bag. It’s moments like these that I love, you know you have got a good image and it makes the trip worthwhile.
After leaving the Lochan on a high, I made my way towards Glencoe. I decided to get an old favourite, a standard postcard shot of the ‘Black Rock’ cottage with the Buachaille behind it.
Continued in Part 2…
Continued from Part 1…..
From here it was on towards the River Coupall, which to my delight was completely frozen over. I parked the car in the nearest lay-by and made my way across the moorland towards the frozen river. The ice was a good couple of inches thick, so I decided to risk it and, going down onto my hands and knees, slid my way slowly towards the centre of the river. I managed to get a few shots of the frozen river with the Buachaille behind. The sky was pretty plain though as there was no cloud cover at all, but you cant have everything!
I messed about with a few more locations and then as it was approaching midday, I decided to head down through Glencoe towards Glencoe village and Ballachulish. I had a short stop for a bite to eat down by the side of Loch Leven. The water was very calm and I managed to get a nice panorama of the loch itself with the Pap of Glencoe in the background. Just to the left of the pap, is the moon! It is a bit small in the frame but the full size image shows it quite clearly.
Turning the other way was just as good. The clear day meant that visibility was high, which was a good thing as it meant that the hills behind the Ballachulish bridge were clearly visible.
Suitably refreshed I made my way back towards Glencoe. This time I headed down the Glen Etive road. Even though the snow was about 6 inches deep, the roads had been well gritted and were still passable. I made my way alog the road until I got to Lochan Urr. The Lochan was half frozen over, so I decided to park the car and walk down the hill towards the Lochan.
I took a few pictures from here, this one was probably my favourite. The golden colour of the reeds and hills contrasting nicely with the frozen Lochan.
After climbing back up the hill to the car, I decided as time was getting on to start heading back towards Rannoch Moor. I did manage to stop a couple of times to capture more shots of the frozen River Etive as the late afternoon light started to light up the hills behind it.
My initial idea when I planned the trip was to stop once again at Lochan Nah Achlaise for the sunset. When I arrived there late afternoon, I realised that it wasn’t going to be such a good location after all.
I did take a few shots however of the low afternoon light really showing the flakes of snow that had frozen onto the surface of the completely ice covered Lochan.
Time was running out now with less than an hour to sunset. I decided that maybe I could get a few panoramas of the sun setting over Loch Tulla. I headed towards the viewpoint overlooking the Loch and waited for the sun to set.
The sky was still practically cloud free, so my main focus was on the light striking the hills behind Loch Tulla. This first image is of the sunset over Loch Tulla and Beinn an Dothaidh.
The second shot is another pano shot taken from the same viewpoint but concentrating on the last of the light hitting Beinn Achaladair.
After the sun had set, all that remained was a trip to the Real Food Cafe for a bite to eat before starting the 100 mile journey back home.
I arrived back home at 8.30pm. It was quite a long day as I had left the house at 5.15am that morning. It was well worth it though as I got a few images I was pleased with plus I managed to fulfil something I had wanted for a long while, A day trip to Glencoe with loads of snow.