I have a plan but I need your help (part one).

Posted by on Jan 9, 2020 in Blog | 2 comments

I have a plan but I need your help (part one).

From 2004 to 2012 we lived just north of Connel Bridge which lies about five miles outside Oban. Our two boys both attended Lochnell Primary School in Benderloch which was just two miles north of the bridge.

Connel Bridge. Long exposure over the whirlpool.

The bridge was originally built to carry trains with road traffic using a ferry to cross just beyond the world famous Falls of Lora, a renowned surf kayaking location. For many years road and rail traffic shared the single track bridge but with the closure of the coastal railway line ( now a superb cycle route) the tracker were removed and the surface set for road traffic only.

Every once in a while someone would try to cross the bridge in something too tall to fit under the steel cross beams and would either get wedged or certainly dent the metal. The bridge would be immediately shut and couldn’t reopen until structural engineers gave the say so. Unfortunately the nearest specialists were based in Glasgow some ninety miles away, a journey that takes two to three hours depending on the conditions. Effectively anyone hitting the bridge, no matter how lightly, closed it for five to six hours. The two miles we would normally drive from the bridge to collect our children from school immediately increased to ninety, a diversion that headed inland to Tyndrum then up and over Rannoch Moor, down through Glencoe then left at Ballachulish and all the way down the coast past Castle Stalker back to our home village. The reality, of course was that friends would look after our children while we sat out the long wait by heading back into Oban to do more work at the gallery but the circuit became the boundary of an area of wild mountain country that I came to know and love and extensively photograph.

The area encircled by the A85, A82 and A828 includes many iconic mountains among the twenty four Munros ( Scottish mountains over three thousand feet). Some, including Bidean nam Bian with its ‘Three Sisters’ standing proud over Glencoe, the iconic Blackmount group viewed across Lochan na h’Achlaise and the very essence of a Scottish mountain, Buachaille Etive Mor rank among the most photographed views in the UK. Dig deeper though, break through the barrier of great hills on the northern rim and you enter a world of relatively unknown landscapes. A world I had only really started to reveal through my work but one now I plan to return to and to focus on in my Scottish photography.

Having had a custom OS map made to help plan my attack I was delighted to find that the very centre of the map just happened to be the top of Loch Etive, one of the first places I made a successful image of having moved to the area in 2004. Serendipity.

Light and Shadow, Upper Loch Etive.

My plan is to visit once a month for four to five days, to hike, to camp, to reacquaint, to immerse myself in the place and to finally finish something important to me that I started.


And to publish a book of the images but I’m going to need your help…..

More on that in the next instalment but in the meantime a few more images.

Misty Slopes.
Argyll Mountains
Elleric
Sgurr a’Choise.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Richard,

    On my to-do list this year is to come and see your gallery at Ironbridge. I love your photography whether it’s the massive landscapes or the detail of a rusty shed. And now you’ve mentioned a book…I can’t wait! I don’t own any of your work but I am a keen photographer and your photographs inspire me to get out there, so thank you. Your strength and courage to keep going over the past decade is amazing and I fully understand how much peace you get from being out with your camera.

    • Many thanks Michelle. Your encouragement is exactly the help I need and will be asking for in the next instalment of this series. I look forward to meeting you when you visit.

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