The Joys of Hebridean Light
The interplay of light in the Hebrides has for a long time made the location a mecca for photographers, both amateur and professional. The weather patterns constantly change, and as photography is essentially all about exposure, these variables make Harris both challenging and rewarding for patient people of the lens.
Dawn and sunset are when the light is at its most exquisite, and it is most intense in these coming months. Some evenings, everything is just right, and there will be an interplay of laser-like light, and variable layered clouds during one of our glorious late summer sunsets. It is curiously disjunctive to be basked in sunlight at 11 pm, listening to bees buzzing as they feed on the wild flowers of the machair. Our far northern latitude means those who experience Harris over all seasons can also ponder the way the earth tilts, the so-called ‘obliquity of the ecliptic.’ This seasonal wobble of the earth means the sun sets in locations that differ by about 90 degrees. So if you come to the Estate headland in winter, you will see sunsets behind the looming bulk of Tow Head. If you come during summer, you will see the sun set behind Taransay. When you are next on the Estate headland, ponder this, as it is a big difference.
Anyway, all this wonderful light means you can have some fun with a Neutral Density Filter, which is basically the same as slapping sunglasses on your camera. Light is restricted from entering the lens, allowing one to play with long shutter speeds, say about 30 seconds. Once a sturdy tripod is deployed, to prevent camera shake, all that lovely Hebridean light hits your light sensor in a gentle caress. Initially it is a bit of a faff, tinkering with shutter speed and changing the variability of the filter to get the optimal image, while the light changes. But when you get it right, elements in motion – such as the ocean or running rivers — turn to a mystical blur. You can see some results in our Landscapes and Seascapes Gallery
The Wild Fish are Arriving
We are pleased to report that the first sea trout was caught on the Laxdale system for 2014. Our very own Estate Manager Steve Woodhall, took the honours this week, with a 4lb 8 oz specimen bagged at Loch Fincastle.
‘It only took half an hour and it was a very strong take,’ he reported, about his stressful day at work. ‘My first sea trout caught in the Western Isles, and my first on the Estate, so I am over the moon.’
His catch came just a few days after our annual sea trout sweep. This involves netting the sea pool to see the number and health of the fish in the migratory system. We are pleased to report that we saw a lot of sea trout smolt heading out to sea, and sea lice numbers appear to be reassuringly low.
Out along the coast, salmon have been spotted in the known approaches. When it rains, the oxygen in the river waters will lure them towards the rivers from which they left years ago, but to which they now return to spawn and complete an extraordinary journey. So all-in-all, we think we will have a bountiful fishing season for 2014.
The Laxdale system is available for exclusive use for guests of the Estate, but we do give access to outside parties if guests are not fishing. For the initiated, we also provide ‘Have a Go’ packages for visitors who wish to learn the subtle art of fly fishing. A half day introductory package starts at £120 per person, with full day packages starting at £200, inclusive of a light luncheon. All details on our Fishing Page.
We don’t get many complaints from those who fish on the Laxdale system. As a wise man once said, “The angler forgets most of the fish he catches, but he does not forget the streams and lakes in which they are caught.”
Talented Bloggers Welcome
It is always gratifying to get unsolicited compliments, and we were very fortunate to have a talented blogger recently stay at The Broch.
Katie MacLeod is the author of ‘Stories My Suitcase could Tell’ a blog that gives us her insights into various travel destinations. Certainly her postings on her trip to Harris have some great photos, and quirky observations from a talented writer. Understandably, our favourite was her review and nice shots of The Broch.
As Ms MacLeod said ‘The Broch at Borve Lodge is truly unique, both in design and atmosphere, expertly marrying luxury with a local edge that hints at the natural landscape beyond its walls. For a few indulgent lazy days, The Broch felt like home – a very luxurious home, and our very own Hebridean hideaway.’
There are still a few openings for a week-long stay at The Broch this summer, and if you are interested, our Booking Page shows availability.