Blog entries for us are like busses, you don’t get one for ages, then two come along together.
After the success of our autumn trip to Loch Lomond a couple of years ago, we were really looking forward to heading off to Scotland once again, this time to Loch Ard to shoot lochs and autumn colour. Loch Ard is a new destination for us, but having researched it on the internet it looked a really beautiful place.
The trip was a bit of a late decision, so we had to be content with what accommodation we could get and as it turned out the cottage was good, but it would have been much better if we could have booked something a bit nearer the loch. We arrived early afternoon, giving us time to explore the area which was to prove useful for the following morning.
We set the alarm for early and set off for Kinlochard at the east end of loch in the hope of getting a nice misty sunrise. We were aware that Loch Ard was popular, but nothing prepared us for the scene that greeted us that morning! As we pulled into the car park in the remote village of Kinlochard, we were amazed to see 9 other cars parked and 15 photographers at the end of the pier, with many more dotted around. I reckon there must have been at least 24 photographers there that morning! Most stood around grumbling about the fog, but we were in our element and got to work with the minimal conditions on offer
The fog persisted so we adjourned for some lunch, then as the fog lifted we went for a bike ride in the woods on the north edge of the loch. Then as we headed back towards the cottage, the skies cleared giving us exquisite soft afternoon light, so I donned my backpack and tripod and retraced my route along the loch side taking photos as I went.
As afternoon turned to early evening the crowds subsided, but I still kept meeting the occasional walker. The sun was shining, the stags on the hillside were baying and everyone just wanted to stop and talk about the wonder of the scene. No I-pods, no I-phones, no I-pads, just people just wanting to soak up and express the splendour of the real world.
Call me old fashioned, but I found this rather refreshing.
Monday morning saw us up at 6.30 again to a very cold morning with a clear sky, but heavy mist over the loch. We headed back up to Kinlochard to find a completely empty car park this time and not a single other photographer to be seen! The sunrise promised much, but ultimately failed to deliver.
We were standing talking when Janet’s tripod inexplicably keeled over as if in slow motion, landing her camera in the loch! On close inspection it had trashed the filter and lens won’t retract, but fortunately the camera has survived intact. The rate we are going at the moment, we are probably on the Christmas card list from the Nikon repair department!
Once the sun was up, we spent the morning working back down the loch and I got a nice shot of the boat in the reeds at Kinlochard and some nice shots of the boats houses at the Milton basin. Arriving back at the cottage around 11 in glorious sunshine for a coffee plus a late breakfast sat outside in the sun!
Janet had a fancy for shooting the lone tree at Milarrochy Bay on Loch Lomond, so we set off early and arrived on a fairly un-inspiring looking morning. I left Janet at the tree and in the absence of any mist on the water, went off in search of inspiration. As the light strengthened towards sunrise, a hint of pink appeared in an otherwise fairly blank sky. This strengthened as time drew on, then suddenly some gorgeous rim light appeared on the hills above Luss, then the rising sun finally lit up the whole range of hills. What a wonderful sight! Hungry after our early start, we had lunch sitting in the sun at 9.30, before heading back to base for a second lunch!
In the afternoon, we took a ride up Glen Arklet to Inversnaid, marvelling at the autumn colour on the way and shooting the waterfall near the Inversnaid hotel.
Travelling back down Glen Chon, I spotted an animal crossing the road. I pulled up and grabbed the compact camera and headed off to investigate what turned out to be a herd of wild goats grazing in the thick undergrowth. They were quite tame and let me get fairly close, so I spent a happy ½ hour trying to gets some clear shots of them.
Wednesday morning promised to be cloudy again, but we headed back to Kinlochard again just in case and were rewarded with a reasonable sunrise. Then after another 2nd breakfast we had a lovely ride over the Dukes Pass to Loch Katrine. A quick explore convinced us the colour was superb round the side of the Loch so we stayed to take some stock autumn shots, before moving on to Loch Drunkie where we managed to shoot some more stock colour in nice late afternoon light.
We even managed to get a reasonable sunset at Loch Ard that evening, but the weather was due to deteriorate overnight, so that was about it for photography.
All in all a successful and productive trip to a really picturesque area and one we can highly recommend.