So finally, it was November and my journey to Scotland started. I was told in January of that year to make holidays as fast as possible but did not get it managed before now. It was a tough year and I was looking forward to enjoy one weeks of complete solitude. No people, just me alone and empty landscapes. Indeed, I thought travelling to Scotland in November was a smart thing. No normal person would travel there in November. Unfortunately, once I arrived there, I found there are many people having the same thoughts…. In retrospective it was fortunate for me having so many other tourists surrounding me.
The day I started my travel I jumped into my car 3 a.m. in the morning and hit the highway north to Calais to catch my ferry. Little did I know that the following week would turn out different than I thought.
Faster than expected I arrived in Calais which allowed me to take an earlier ferry to Dover. Being exhausted I decided to stop at a campsite near Dover and head to Scotland the next day. It was already evening the next day when I arrived in Edinburgh. The original plan was to arrive earlier and visit the city centre. But due to unforeseen traffic conditions I was late. So, in order to stick to my plan, I drove to Stirling and slept there at a resting place and continued the following day towards the Isle of Skye.
Never a journey of mine was better planned than this one. Usually I love to jump into the car or onto my bike start the engine and pull the throttle. I like the freedom to do whatever comes into my mind along the way. But this time I planned everything. The equipment was carefully selected and packed. The exact route on paper and all things I wanted to photograph were also written down. As perfect the plan as wrong it was. It was the exact opposite of what I needed. I was going to learn this soon.
Driving through Glen Coe I figured out that more people on this planet thought travelling Scotland in November was a quite good idea. Indeed, it was lots of them. When I stopped at a resting area with a beautiful view, I observed busses full of tourists stopping by. They jumped out took a few shots and continued their travel. Shaking my head, I realized I was no better. Instead of enjoying this fantastic landscape I was on a race to reach the next ferry to the Skye. I asked myself what the hell I was doing. Was this the holidays I needed? No. This was exactly the way I worked the last year and which gave me a very hard time. When I realized this, I cancelled my whole planning. This was the moment I finally arrived in Scotland.
Much relieved I continued my travel. The Isle of Lewis was still my planned destination. But the pressure was gone. All the spots I planned to visit became irrelevant. Even more because of the number of other tourists. I decided to not photograph the big attractions but the small things most people don’t see. Of course, I did not stick to this decision and this gave me a not working camera.
The second day on the Isle of Skye I visited the Fairy Pools. Rain was pouring but I took the walk. For some reason I do not know I decided to step into the river to take photos slipped and fell into the water drowning my 5DMK4 with an attached 24-70Mk2 into a deep-water hole. Back to my car I tried drying the camera and my lens the best I could. Still nothing was worked. I left the Fairy Pools pretty devasted to search a place to sleep overnight. Now I was shooting on my cell phone and a small point’n’shoot camera. To my surprise three days later the camera became operational again. At this point I had already decided not to take a ferry to the Isle of Harris. I found enough less crowed places on Skye to enjoy being alone.
I learned several things on this journey. First, take your backup gear with you. I also learnt it is cold beginning of November in Scotland and that all the autumnal colours have already disappeared. Travelling two weeks earlier would have provided me with landscapes and trees in red and orange. Well, next time. Also, don’t over-plan. It is a holiday after all and not a race. The photos I took are far from being good but this holiday was not about perfectionism. Meanwhile, many things have changed in my life and I am looking forward to my next travel to Scotland to sort things. I fell in love with this part of the world.