If you’re a regular visitor to this site you’ll know of my fondness for the Isle of Skye. I’m hardly the only photographer who’s been taken in by her charms but some things are popular for a good reason. There are so many incredible locations on this small island and Sligachan is one of the more popular ones. It’s just by the roadside and it’s easy to park. There’s an old bridge, a rocky river and a choice of mountains to act as a background which makes it a brilliant, accessible and easy location to shoot. By the old bridge is a great spot but just a little further up the river are a couple of waterfalls. Did you know they’re called waterfalls because they’re watery and you can easily fall into them? True story, but we’ll get to that in a minute!
Having worked at the old bridge a few times before I really wanted to explore further up the river so I set out to find it just in time for sunrise. Night had turned to day but sunrise wasn’t really happening as such and the light was flat through the whole scene. No problem for the waterfall but the mountains in the background were a bit flat. Looking at the sky I felt it would only be matter of time before things changed so I made use of the time to try a couple of different spots on the edge of the waterfall. When I’m at the coast or by a river I usually wear wellies so I’m free to take a step into the water. This can open up new possibilities fro my composition that sometimes aren’t available from dry land so, like I often do, I took a casual step into the river. Before I knew it I was in the river and I’d started to be carried by the flow of water. Somehow I managed to roll onto my left side and stick my foot on a rock which stopped me from going right down the waterfall. It wasn’t foremost in my mind but I was also able to keep my camera from going into the river. Thankfully, another photographer who was just a few meters away came to my rescue and pulled my out of the river and incredibly I was completely unharmed and totally dry (my waterproofs really are waterproof!). His friend told me he had done exactly the same thing the previous day (great minds and all that!).
After moment to collect myself I got back into it. I managed to make a shot from the spot I was eyeing up when I fell then I headed back to where I’d started which was a better composition. Then the light broke through, lighting up Sgurr nan Gillean in the distance and rewarding me with the photograph below.
In a typical moment of misty isle meteorological magic there was a hail storm just a few minutes later which we saw coming in over the hills. We covered our cameras and hunched against the hail as it passed over us and we watched as it made it’s way down over Loch Sligachan and on towards Raasay. For me, I’d got the shot I came to the location for and I was on a mission to hit as many spots as I could in the limited time I was on the island so I packed my camera and with one last glance at the scene I headed off.
Sligachan is quietly become one of my favourite locations on Skye. It’s easy to take for granted because it is so accessible but with the river, rocks, waterfall and choice of epic backdrops it’s got unlimited potential for great photographs. I’m already itching to get back to Skye – see the tours section of the website if you’d like to join me on my next trip!