I finally got away on Thursday in a different vehicle (my trusty Alfa daily runner), having gone to collect some gear out of the Trooper. A good drive up saw me get to my hotel in Kinross early in the evening. As the nights come in early at this time of year I took an early night before an early start Friday morning.
The alarm seemed to come around really quickly on Friday, I was out of the hotel at 5.50am. From Kinross I drove up to Queens View near Pitlochry. This is a stunning viewpoint overlooking Loch Tummel. I was hoping for a nice colurful sunrise but a thick blanket of cloud put paid to that. Still the trees were still in fantastic vibrant colour.
From Queens View I drove up, catching breakfast at the Ralia Cafe near Newtonmore and then on to Aviemore. I took a drive up to Cairngorm Mountain but sadly there didn't appear to be much snow so I left the mountain railway for another day. I dropped down past Loch Morlich where I took a long exposure.
From Loch Morlich I carried on to Inverness before realising I was just on the doorstep of FFordes camera shop at Beauly, a goldmine of interesting gear.
From Beauly I took the route along Loch Ness, stopping for some more long exposures, and then past Fort Augustus and down towards Fort William
Passing Invergarry I saw a sign for the Glengarry Castle Hotel, I turned in down a long drive past an amazing ruined castle to a hotel. On approach I found that the road I was on was the private drive for the hotel. When a lady, who I assume was involved with the hotel, looked a little puzzled I explained that I was a photographer looking for locations. She couldn't have been more helpful encouraging me to go anywhere I wanted around the grounds of the hotel, which had closed for the winter. The hotel looked amazing and had lovely grounds down to Loch Oich not to mention the castle. The lady left me a brochure on the hotel and I will be sure to give it a try some time. I really appreciate the lady letting me take photos in the hotel grounds, it was most pleasant.
I arrived at Fort William around 3pm and was hopeful that the cloud might lift long enough for a decent sunset so drove up to Loch Arkaig which runs East to West, ideal for a sunset. Sadly the cloud didn't lift so it was fruitless, I did however identify a couple of spots for future use. I keep my satnav on all the time, even when driving roads I know, so I can save photography locations for future. These spots are now saved for my next trip.
On arriving back at Fort William I'd covered over 300 miles of mountain roads, a good day's driving. I checked into the Premier Inn, my usual haunt around these parts, and had dinner. Another early night is scheduled this evening, I am going to be out early tomorrow, I have big plans! Watch this space.