Freedom to roam. In real life, or through captured images, the great beauty of the Scottish highlands and islands brings release and adventure. We are delighted to share five of Rob Bruce’s magnificent photographs, taken during 2020
1 Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair
I moved to the north-west Highlands on January 1, 2020, after a few years working in Boston. As the world went into the turmoil of the Covid pandemic, I felt lucky to be out of the eye of the storm, in the beautiful area of Wester Ross. Over the year, I have enjoyed being able to work on my skills as a landscape photographer.
This photo was taken in January before I had even heard of Covid. It is a couple of hours walk up to Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair (pronounced Corrie Vick Eracker). This translates as “Corrie of the Son of Farquhar” . Farquhar is the Gaelic rendering of the Norse name Erikur and ‘Mhic’ means son of. Above the corrie stands the triple buttresses of Ben Eighe (pronounced Ben Ai).
2 Roaming in the gloaming
During the first lockdown, the highlight of the week was our Friday tea-time visit to the community centre in the “big village” for excellent fish and chips. My wife, Jackie, and I would eat them by the shores of Upper Loch Torridon. This was taken while wandering after the meal; a low shaft of light caught the island. Jackie wanted to title this picture “roaming in the gloaming” but we have a disagreement about when the gloaming starts. She argues that it includes the crepuscular light as day shades into night. I think it means the period between sunset and full darkness, like twilight. Anyway, the photograph was taken at about 7pm in May. Imagine us a pair of shadowy figures, bickering quietly as we walk along the shore.
3 What we see in the shadows
The sunsets in the north-west Highlands are always extraordinary but on clear nights they are spectacular. Because of the latitude, these sunsets last longer than they do almost anywhere else in the UK. The weather is generally good in spring and early summer so we enjoyed many of these magnificent solar events. I particularly like this photograph because the shapes in the foreground remind me of the Rorschach inkblot test.
4 Apprentice climb
In late summer, things opened up again. Many people who had spent lockdown in cities were keen to get out into the countryside and the Highlands were busy. We had a few different groups of visitors. This photo shows our friend, talented young climber Robert Igoe, ascending a route called “Apprentice Bhoys” with the amazing jack of all trades and talented wordsmith Walter Kemp Bruce holding the ropes at the base (thanks for the proofreading Walter!). Our other son William is not there because he was at home working on the cottage. You can’t see the midges which fairly deaved us through July and August. Some readers may have seen this image already as it was used for a Sceptical Scot fundraiser to raise money to pay young journalists.
5. Deep Water Horizon
In October, I left the Highlands temporarily for France, after being invited to work from a holiday home belonging to friends for a few weeks. I took this shot as I drove south early one morning, a shaft of light from the low autumn sun falling across Glen Doherty and glinting off Loch Maree.