#291 – Scottish Sunsets

The sun starts to set over Sgurr nan Gillean in the Black Cuillins, just above Sligachan (May 2019)

Same sunset, same location, same time, but looking towards the Red Cuillins (May 2019)

(For the best viewing experience, left-click the images and maps to zoom in, then use your browser return arrow to go back – go on, it really does work!)

Map of the sunset locations mentioned in this post

You can’t beat the spectacle of a good sunset!   I once read that you should look at each sunset as if it’s your last, but someone else said that’s rubbish – what you should be doing is trying to see more sunsets!   That was one of our aims on our autumn 2020 trip to Scotland, with another aim to try and come away with some good photos.   The trouble is, sunsets can be awkward little beggars to capture.

An Teallach seen from Fain near Dundonnell (May 2019)

Obvious as it is, one of the main ingredients of a good sunset is the light, combined with the clouds and a good background, and those elements don’t always line up – literally!   In 2019, we had a great display over An Teallach from Fain near Dundonnell, but 1½ years later the scene was quite different.

The same view from the same location in September 2020

The light starts to get a bit moody and stormy ….

…. and before long, the ‘weather’ arrives on the mountain

A bit of cloud works wonders in a sunset, giving the light something to play with – however, on the 2020 trip, there was more than enough cloud over An Teallach, and it wasn’t taking any prisoners.    It was certainly a good night for viewing the mountains from a distance rather than close up.

A warm, light sky seen from Altandhu in Assynt ….

…. and a cool, dark sky seen from Staffin on Skye

The slightest possibility of catching a good sunset in a photograph occupies many an hour on our trips, especially when there is a good bit of coast or mountain as a background.  What’s more, it’s another chance for Border Collie ‘Mist’ to check out all the local scents whilst I’m busy checking f-stops and exposure times (don’t worry, just some of the arcane practices that photographers get up to).

Camas nan Geall at Ardnamurchan ….

…. where the day slowly slips away ….

…. without being in any great hurry

Sometimes is nice just to be able to witness the end of another day as it slowly slips away.  We had gone to Camas nan Geall at Ardnamurchan in search of sea eagles – ten years earlier, we had watched one patrolling over the bay for about half an hour but didn’t have a camera.    This time, I was ready for an eagle pic, but it was a no-show by the big bird – the changing light as the day disappeared was good compensation though.

Lochbuie on Mull ….

…. where the cloud starts to slip away to sea ….

…. and the strange cloud formation starts to change ….

…. as it catches the last rays of the sun

Lochbuie on Mull is another location we returned to in 2020.    The cloud out to sea raised hopes for a dramatic light show, but as the sun dipped over the horizon, the cloud decided to follow in the same direction.   Then suddenly, the focus of the action shifted to the strange cloud formation to the east, which was catching the colour from the disappearing sun.  (Hint – if you’re watching a sunset, keep watching the rest of the sky as well!)

Near Ettrick on Bute, and a last view of the sun as it disappears ….

…. but the light show isn’t finished yet ….

…. and continues for some time

At Ettrick on the Isle of Bute, we had most of the ingredients for a good show – it’s a bonus when there’s a last sighting of the sun as it disappears, but a few moody-looking clouds made a great projection screen for the changing colours.    But my all-time favourite for sunsets was the one we saw in 2017 at Elgol – what’s more, those colours are genuine!  As the man said, ‘see more sunsets’.

Probably my all-time favourite – the Black Cuillins seen from Elgol on Skye (April 2017)

Text and images © Paul Shorrock – images all from the September/October 2020 trip except where another date is given.

About Paul Shorrock

I've been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention. I started out by walking my local hills, then went on to rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Still doing it, and still getting a buzz. I'm now sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides. Just to make sure I keep really busy, I am also currently a member of my local mountain rescue team.
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8 Responses to #291 – Scottish Sunsets

  1. Steve says:

    Great stuff! Would have liked to see a close up of the fishing boat in the pic ”Camas nan Geall at Ardnamurchan” if you could have taken it with your sparky new long lens….. but great stuff as usual Paul!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Definitely says:

    Great article 😀 keep it up 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Note to self – more pics of fishing boats for me mate 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful pictures! There is a town near me called Lochbuie. I’d never seen that word anywhere else before. Fun to see where it likely came from!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind words. Lochbuie is a tiny wee place, with a community cafe, some houses and little else. The road there is one of the narrowest roads you would want to travel down, but it adds to the fun! It’s on the South Coast of the Isle of Mull if your travels ever bring you over here.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That Elgol one is truly superb!


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