Skye in Snow: First photography trip to the Isle Of Skye
I’ve been wanting to visit Scotland and Skye with the camera ever since I took photography up in 2016. I’d spent a lot of time there on holidays as a child, mainly around Loch Lomand, and have fond memories of the wild feel Scotland emits.
I finally got around to booking a week in Scotland, spending 5 days in Skye and a day in Glencoe and managed to get a rough itinerary together in the weeks leading up, but in full knowledge of how Scottish weather can be, left most things flexible for my trip.
I wanted to have a winter trip there as I’ve been wanting to take some photos in snow for some time now, and we never get snow in the southern UK anymore. Fortunately for me, the week before we went saw huge snowfall across the highlands, meaning the peaks in Syke good a good covering of fresh snow.
Quiraing and Neist Point
On my first day, I visited Quiraing, and was met by a huge front of cloud and snow making its way East over the peaks. Although it didn’t lend itself to photography, it was exactly the welcome I expected from Skye. Throughout the day, the clouds and mood around Skye were beautiful with a lot of fabulous light and colour making fleeting visits to the scenery.
It did get frustrating at times driving along and seeing scenes unfold but not being able to stop and compose something in time. This I expect is pretty typical photography for Scotland, you have to persevere and adapt to what’s happening around you.
After checking the satellite weather, I noticed a clear front moving in from the west, so decided to make my way to Neist Point as it seemed like the cloud would be good for sunset there. It worked out great, and I was able to capture a few shots despite the intense wind.
As I arrived late, I really didn’t have much time to scout around, so I ventured to the obvious route and spot which most photos are taken here. In hindsight, the point really does look better from lower down on the cliffs, but as this wasn’t a shot I was really after, I’m really pleased with how the cloud and light played along regardless.
Loch Fada & Quiraing.
For the second day, I woke early to check the satellite weather and saw there was barely any wind and cloud, there was one shot I really wanted and these conditions were near perfect for it. I made my way toward Loch Fada to grab the reflections of the Storr with the island amongst the loch.
This scene with snow up on the Storr is one my favourites, and I was lucky to get some amazing morning colour in the sky.
It was then back up to Quiraing to have a second attempt with the late morning light, which this time was playing ball. There were small patches of icy snow on the ground which helped make things a bit more interesting.
I assume Quiraing photographs much better in the spring when the sun spends more time illuminating the hills and rises a bit more Easterly. Regardless, I was pleased with what I got and it was a lovely place to have a short explore.
Sligachan and Kilchrist Ruins
In the afternoon the weather started to deteriorate, but I visited Sligachan for a couple of hours to explore some of the many compositions you can find up along the river there. There were a few frozen pools of water which looked really pleasing against the snowy mountain backdrop. I loved the mood in this valley at the time, and there were a few pauses in the rain for me to play around with long exposures with the water.
For the late afternoon, I made my way up to the Kilchrist Manse Ruins in the south of Skye. I missed the good light by about 15 minutes, but the sky stayed interesting enough for me to get a shot I was pretty happy with. For me, having the snow on the peaks in the background was just as important as the sky, I really love how they look in this scene.
For my last day, I tackled Storr – A shot which I’m sure any photographer wants on a visit to Skye. I had been putting Storr off the whole week, gambling on a clear spell of weather that was forecast. Fortunately, this was one Scottish weather forecast that stayed true. The hike was extremely icy and took a good hour longer than I was expecting as I navigated around the ice rink of a trail.
As I ascended the weather was quite dull and moody, but I could see a new front coming in on the weather satellite, so was keeping my fingers crossed. As I passed Storr and made my way up to my location, large breaks in the cloud started to form, and I was greeted by some huge rays of light illuminating the East of the island and sea. The golden late morning light was bouncing off the snow crystals and painting a truly amazing scene.
I couldn’t have hoped for anything more – A snowy photo of Storr with great light was exactly the scene I was after, I feel incredibly lucky to capture it.