Assynt A landscape of distinction

A place to rekindle my love for the landscape.

Assynt is a geological wonder. Lochs, mountains, woodland and rocks.

A view of the accommodation across a sunlit Loch Culag
Lochinver Harbour

Lochinver is a village on the coast in the Assynt district of Sutherland in the Highlands of Scotland. As a small fishing port it is dominated by its fish market. Also here is the Highland Stoneware Pottery. The amineities are limited but a couple of lovely places to eat including the Lochinver Larder which is famous for its Pies, and Peet’s restaurant. This was a photographic workshop run by Norfolk Landscape photographer Jon Gibbs.

Day 1, exploring around Loch Culag
Wonderful detail on the rocks
Day 2, the official start of the workshop on Loch Assynt

Our first location was Ardvreck Castle, a 16th century ruined castle built by the Macleod clan which has been abandoned for centuries.

Ardvrack Castle with the first of the morning sun on Quinag

After the sun had risen and was too harsh, we moved on. We travelled along scenic rich roads to a waterfall. The path was tricky to negotiate but the end result was this beauty....

The Wailing Widow
The Allt Chrànaidh river with Quinag

After lunch it’s was time to move onto the coast and place called Clachtoll, is it the Scottish equivalent of Clacton?? I have to say on arrival it seemed a strange place, put wonders are within. Beautiful sand patterns and the marvellous wall of fine art rock, examples below.

The Wall of Fine Art Rock
To finish the day, fine views from a nearby hill side out to sea.
Day 2

The second day started with a hillside viewpoint looking towards Suilven and Cul Mòr on a glorious morning of celebratory light.

Cul Mòr is wonderful light.

We moved further along the A835 and continued our fine mountainous views of these icons of the landscape.

Cùl Beag
In the afternoon we moved onto Achnahaird Bay. With its beautiful beach, estuary, dunes and mountain backdrop, another area worth exploring over time.
Beautiful sand patterns
Sand dunes with a wonderous blue sky complimented by whispy clouds
The estuary as it exits into the awaiting Atlantic Ocean
Icons of Assynt on the horizon
Day 3 - The difficult Wednesday

Whenever I go away for a week or 5 days of photography, there is an inevitable difficult day, usually a Wednesday. The creative mind simply needs recharging and photos are difficult to make. The day is unproductive and disappointing. It is a physiological matter that needs nurturing and discussion. Why does it happen? Similarly I tend to work in 2 hour cycles. After 2 hours of creativeness, the brain gets tired and needs to rest. Interesting to note for the future.

Inverpolly Forest
Day 4, exceptionally good weather!

Day 4 greeted us with clear skies, as the previous image of Quinag demonstrates. With lovely light we moved onto Loch Awe.

Where the ground was wet, and a touch of frost....
The clouds started to return
In the afternoon, we ventured to the quietness of Garvie Bay
It was small, but empty. All to myself.
Wonderful pink tones rocks. There was literally no-one else there!
The day ended at Loch Druim Suardalain with Suilven in the background

And that was it, the official end of the workshop. Tomorrow was my own time to venture. Assynt is a treat and you should be able to find at least one great picture here. A must return visit in the future whether alone, with company or like minded folk. Who knows. But I will be back!

The final day, my time to explore further

After a lovely drive on and around A837 and A884 and a lunchtime treat at the Lochinver Larder - Haggis Pie and Mash. Delicious - the afternoon yielded a visit to Achmelvich. A little busier than some places but nevertheless a real beaut.

More wonderful rocks
Beautiful teal coloured waters
And treated to exceptional afternoon light

So that concluded a week in Assynt. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I can only thank our workshop leader Jon Gibbs for being such a lovely person during the week. Not as “famous” as other photographers or super whizzy at post processing, but what you get is someone who has you at the heart of what he does on a workshop. It makes you feel like you can breathe in the landscape, giving you opportunity to be creative. It is not all about the magic shot and making it brilliant in post for the Instagram crowd, or winning competitions. It is about you creating images of what you feel. The question remains, did I rekindle my love for the landscape? Only l time will tell. Work/life balances remain challenging. But maybe, just maybe, it’s not over yet and more opportunities for further ventures remain.

Created By
Martin Godfrey


Copyright Martin Godfrey 2019