If you want dependable weather, you should think twice about booking one of our Autumn Gold landscape tours. But do you know what? The more I work in so-called ‘bad’ weather, the more I’m starting to enjoy it (see previous blog post). It’s not that I particularly like grey skies or pouring rain (and don’t get me wrong, it’s not like that all the time!), but I do relish the challenge of making something from nothing, It doesn’t always work, but if you persist…and more to the point, if you’re prepared to persist.
Our Ultimate Autumn Gold landscape tour has become an annual event and despite going through a number of changes over the years, the tour fundamentally remains about making the most of this melancholic time of year. I’ve got to say, I love it!
The Cairngorms is a mosaic of forest, moorland, river, loch and mountain. It’s a rich landscape with something for all photographic tastes. Skye is much more solemn and could be described as bleak, although I’d prefer brooding. The cocktail of 4 nights in each location does it for me thank you very much.
Much to the relief of several of our (not so) hardy group (mentioning no names) we only managed 2 early starts with little promise of a decent sunrise on most days. It always surprises me however that although deprived of the ‘classic’ conditions we all yearn for, there are shots to be had if you shun your creative straightjacket. Loch an Eilein at dawn would have been nice, ditto a misty Glenfeshie but it was not to be and we bravely persisted with what was on offer from the weather gods. Loch Insh was briefly majestic and our favourite beech forest glowed in autumnal splendour.
Moving to Skye via Glen Affric (where the sun shone) the forecast was for heavy rain. How come the forecast for rain is always right? Why can’t they forecast misty dawns with the same accuracy? An attempt at the Old Man of Storr was akin to a bad day on Everest with horizontal rain and gusts of wind that bordered on dangerous. Many of our intrepid group climbed the whole way, got their cameras out, immediately put them away and descended with dignity (and cameras) intact. Slighachan worked well though as did Trotternish eventually and although there is a thin line between edgy conditions and outright crap, we trod the right side of that line for the most part.
I’ve never been one for chocolate-box landscapes, preferring instead the moody and broody that Scotland delivers on, especially in spring and autumn. I hope our fantastic guests for this tour agree with me on that at least (we discussed religion, politics, marriage, divorce and birth control during the wetter moments when opinions were not always uniform!) October has been a golden month this year – in experiences if not always colour. Bring on 2012.
If you’d like to join us on the same tour next year (and Mark promises not to bore you too much with his Photoshop tutorial – see below – view details here)