Time in Scotland – Travel and Photography Blog

January 19th, 2012

A view of the Firth of Forth Bridge in South Queensferry Scotland (Ian C Whitworth)

I recently had my first opportunity to visit Scotland while on a British Isles cruise.  This is definitely a very scenic country with its rugged countryside, great cities, beautiful lochs and many castles to explore.  We entered Scotland through three ports, allowing us to venture in to tour from the west, north and east of this cool and green country.  As with rest of the British Isles, weather can be changeable and you should always be prepared for rain.

A view from on top of Edinburgh Castle (Ian C Whitworth)      Rooftop view from Edinburgh Castle (Ian C Whitworth)

A view from a cannon at Edinburgh Castle (Ian C Whitworth)      A view from on top of Edinburgh Castle (Ian C Whitworth)

The capital city of Scotland is Edinburgh, a beautiful unspoiled city with Edinburgh Castle overlooking things in Old Town.  Edinburgh Castle is built on an extinct volcano and the very impressive fortress towers over the city making for great views either looking up at it or from its walls looking out over the city.  The castle is the home of the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo during the month of August and this open-air venue performance goes on no matter what the weather and has never been cancelled since its start in 1950.   Great images can be captured of Edinburgh from the castle and also from climbing the 287 steps to the top of the Scott Monument just northeast of the castle off Princess Street.

An arial view over Edinburgh with a Union Jack in the foreground (Ian C Whitworth)

Heading inland from the port of Invergordon in the north of Scotland, we visited two castles.  The first was Cawdor Castle, about ten miles east of Inverness with its beautiful colourful gardens and fully functioning facility, known as one of the finest medieval buildings in Scotland.  The castle dates back to the 14th century and was built around a thorn tree.

A view of the gardens at Cawdor Castle in Scotland (Ian C Whitworth)

Cawdor Castle from the beautiful gardens (Ian C Whitworth)

Next we visited the ruins of Urquhart Castle sitting on the shore of Loch Ness, home of the famous “Nessie”, the Loch Ness monster. The castle was in existence in the 13th century and was one of the great strongholds of medieval Scotland looking out over the loch.  Even in its state of ruin, it is a very impressive sight.

Tourists visit Urquhart Castle on Lock Ness (Ian C Whitworth)

Looking across Urquhart Castle at the tourists on Loch Ness. (Ian C Whitworth)

While our short time in Scotland only provided a small snapshot of what this historic country has to offer, I would definitely recommend adding it to your list of destinations to explore.  We were lucky enough to take in the Military Tattoo with 9,000 others from all around the world in the amazing setting of the Edinburgh Castle.  It is definitely one of the highlights and needs to be booked in advance to ensure seating as it sells out quickly.  Our Tattoo excursion left from the port of Greenock on the west coast and was approximately two hours by bus one way to Edinburgh and then there was a 20-minute walk up to the castle.

Looking up at Earl Haig on his horse at Edinburgh Castle (Ian C Whitworth)

As a photographer, Scotland offers many unique image opportunities with its natural scenic beauty and medieval castles.  The city of Edinburgh is truly a beautiful city with an abundance of photographic possibilities.  Just always keep in mind the ability for the weather to change with little notice and to be prepared to protect both your equipment and yourself from the elements (see the tips below).

 (Ian C Whitworth)

Scotland Fun Facts: Photography Tips:
  • Scotland’s population is more than 5.1 million people
  • Currency is the pound sterling
  • Capital city is Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh’s population is just under a half million people
  • The one o’clock gun fires every day at 1300 at Edinburgh Castle except for Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day – started in 1861 to convey time to the ships in the Firth of Forth
  • The open air Edinburgh Military Tattoo has never been cancelled for weather
  • Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster became popular in 1933 when a London man driving around the Loch claimed,  “the nearest approach to a dragon or pre-historic animal that I have ever seen in my life”.
 Rainy conditions pose challenges to the photographer but can also result in unique images so consider the following:

  • Use a waterproof camera bag or backpack to protect your gear
  • Consider camera & lens protective rain gear available at your more serious camera shops
  • If you are travelling with a companion, as them to hold your extendable umbrella (you packed) over you & your camera
  • Using a lens hood can help keep rain off the glass surface of your lens or filter
  • Carry a micro fibre cloth to wipe off the glass surface of your lens
  • Don’t wait for the sun to come out or you may miss your opportunity!


A view of the spikes on the Edinburgh Castle gate (Ian C Whitworth)

If you get the chance to get up to Scotland, you should definitely take the opportunity to explore this great land.


References:  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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