Harris and Lewis, The Outer Hebrides
19-25 Sept. 2020
Harris and Lewis, The Outer Hebrides, 19-25 Sept. 2020 - £1299 pp - LAST FEW PLACES
Harris and Lewis form the major part of the Islands situated off the northwest coast of Scotland known as the Outer Hebrides. The landmass of the Outer Hebrides is actually quite large, stretching around 80 miles from the north of Lewis to the south of Harris, and with more than half of the population living in the capital of Stornoway, the islands have a remote, unpopulated and peaceful feel.
Despite being so close geographically, Harris is quite different to Lewis in topography, with the West coast in particular home to perhaps the UK’s finest and most remote beaches. As a consequence you can find yourself alone on an expanse of beach stretching for miles, with crystal clear waters resembling those of the Caribbean. To the North, Lewis is much larger and more rugged, yet retains a feeling of remoteness and of life lived at a slower pace.
Our tour will include plenty of time to take in the beaches and salt marshes at Luskentyre, Scarista and Traigh Mor on Western Harris, with their gorgeous white sands, marram grasses and views across to Taransay and the Harris hills, as well as exploring some of the abandoned old cottages and small villages. To the North on Lewis we will visit the famous standing stones at Callanais, which have stood for over 5000 years. We will photograph them against the Hebridean dawn and the changing light that follows, and will also visit some of the beaches on Lewis, as well as small local villages and the rugged coastline. The sea stacks at Mangersta are particularly impressive as is the nearby local beach, which was populated by a herd of photogenic cattle on my last visit there!
Our hotel is well placed to visit both Harris and Lewis, and during our tour we will react to the ever-changing atlantic weather for which this area is renowned, taking our time to seek out original compositions and make memorable images. The hotel is also within easy walking distance of the famous Harris Gin distillery, which apart from selling a much sought-after tipple, has a rather fine little restaurant.
Sunrise and sunset times are reasonable in late September, with around 12 hours of light, but in between sunrise and sunset the rapidly changing weather makes for dramatic photography right throughout the day. Think storm clouds, rain, sun, and rainbows all in about 10 minutes! Photography is the priority of this trip and meals will fit in around this.
This tour is led by Mark McColl and is suitable for photographers of all abilities. The dates and length of the tour have been chosen to maximise the opportunities for incredible, changeable light in an outstandingly beautiful part of the UK.
Minimum group size - 3
Easy / moderate: Most of the locations are easily accessible, though an average / moderate level of fitness will be required for walking on beaches / gentle inclines. The beaches are expansive but can be explored at a leisurely pace.
• 6 nights accommodation at the Harris Hotel in Tarbert, Harris, on a double / twin room for single occupancy basis
• All transportation during the workshop
• Tuition from Mark McColl
• Meals / drinks not specified
• Travel to and from Harris
• 6 nights accomodation
Advised to bring…
• Camera body, lenses (wide angle, telephoto), cable release
• batteries / memory cards / laptop / cleaning equipment
• Filters, including 10 and / or 6 stop
• Warm waterproof clothing (layering advised – base, fleece, outer waterproof layer, waterproof trousers and thermals, gloves, hat)
• Waterproof walking boots and wellingtons (most of the locations are accessible from the road, but note that some areas have rough boggy terrain and a reasonable fitness level is required). Wellingtons in particular would be useful for photography on the beaches.
Getting to Harris / Lewis
There are two relatively easy ways to get to Harris / Lewis – either by flying to Stornoway (there are direct flights from Glasgow airport) or by taking the ferry from Uig on the Isle of Skye to Tarbert. The former is by far the quickest route, the latter for someone perhaps wishing to also take in Skye as part of a more extended tour of the Scottish islands.