Haste ye Back

1 ferry, 5 days, 4 photographers, 1400 miles, 624 photos

It started with a Facebook invitation in November to share a car journey to Scotland over the mid-term break.

At 6am on a cold Monday morning in late February I met my photography companions at the train station, ready for the journey ahead – to Larne in Northern Ireland for the ferry to Cairnryan in Scotland. The car journey up north was punctured by radio djs declaring it a crisp spring morning and a frantic search for any difference in the landscape once we crossed the border.

The next five days in Scotland were filled with a landscape so beautiful, I considered, for a moment, moving across the Irish Sea. ‘Like Killarney’ I was told. It certainly is, but so much more. The rain didn’t dampen our spirits, just the camera equipment. Burnt orange slopes on mist covered mountains and Bruce’s Stone filled my eyes. Small birds flitted from tree to tree and deer shuffled to the feeding hatch eager to see what visitors brought them. Otters in conversation park, capybara and the odd emu, made the week enchanting. The early morning chorus outside our lodge reminded me why the city’s choir of traffic doesn’t compare. Maybe I could live in Scotland after all.

We tumbled out of the car on an equally cold Friday night to get a connecting bus home. It had been an intense week of 12-hour days. Churches, ruins, animals littered my memory, the beginning of my love affair with an tAlban.

Haste ye back is an attempt to capture the beauty, wildlife and commitment to photography I encountered on my five day tour of Galloway & Dumfries, Scotland in February 2017.

 

What a difference a week makes

Back to the Sugar Loaf mountain yesterday for a successful ascend to the top. What a difference a week makes, with no sleet battering our faces, no slippy surfaces to contend with. And best of all was the view, a patchwork of green fields on one side and Dublin Bay on the other. This was a truly travel happy hike. img_4174

The Sugar Loaf Mountain

On a cold and windy morning in February we tackled the Sugar Loaf mountain in Co. Wicklow. ‘Showers’ was what the weather forecast stated. The drive out was uneventful, straight out on the N11, a turn missed and a curse echoing around the car. Once the satnav voice declared the turn off was upon us, it was a slow and cautious drive up Red Lane to the base of the mountain and a very well maintained car park with an interesting stone arch entry way.

The minute we stepped out of the car it started to snow. But not the light and fluffy snow you see in movies. This snow was sharp, piercing and excellent at hitting its mark. So we hesitated. Hopping back into the car wouldn’t have been acceptable. We had gotten this far and turning back after just looking at the mountain would have been disappointing, even sad. So we trudged up the Sugar Loaf as a respectful pace, watching every step as the wind lashed snow against out faces. The mist rolled across the top of the mountain, giving it a mysterious air. The higher we climbed the strong the wind blew, as if it didn’t want us to ascend its protected possession. Passing one or two climbers on the way up who looked beaten by the weather and rocky ground we should have taken the hint.

As the snow fell even faster and the wind blew event stronger, we accepted defeat and headed for home, or at least the car park. It’s a beautiful place, surrounded by a patchwork of green fields, snowy paths and dotted with isolated houses. I’ll be back to try again soon, when it’s warmer of course.