Everybody has their own way of preparing their photographic expeditions. I admire my friends photographers who spend the long weeks before traveling in a detailed, careful study of local conditions, photographic possibilities, local specialties and compiling a time itinerary. Not that I did not prepare myself at all. However, it often happens that I will change my destination during the trip and will not arrive at a pre-planned location at all. Then, logically, sometimes I feel somewhat unprepared.
This year, many of my friends went to Scotland. Each of them has visited the famous Skye Island. We were also heading there because everybody knows dramatic photographs of torn rock cliffs. When we were on board an aircraft on the Prague – Eddinburg line we met other compatriots heading there, we said we had to change the plans.
Orkneys are a little “out of hand”. This is not the usual destination of cruise routes. The absence of UNESCO monuments eliminates the risk of charter flights from Asia with crowds of tourists with mobile handheld devices to digitally capture everything. From the airport, we made the shortest route north to Kirkwall. Without any difficulty, we boarded the ferry in the morning and, in very windy weather, we aimed to narrow the strip of land on the horizon.
This Scottish archipelago consists of over 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited. Together with Shetland the Northern Isles. The administrative center as well as the largest city is Kirkwall on the Mainland Island. However, for the first time in Orkney, we went to Stromness.
Because our trip was, as stated in the introduction, minimalist (less than two days) we were able to visit only five islands. In addition to the largest Mainland, there are still islands like Lamb Holm, Glimps Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay. Minimalist here is the landscape, too. The slightly wavy landscape of the island, without forests full of pastures and freshwater lakes, seemed to be trying to compensate for this collapse on coastal cliffs. Especially dramatic are the cliffs in the northwest of the Mainland Island in the site of Yesseby with the rock stack of the Sea Stack. The highest reefs in Britain are then on the neighboring island of Hoy and with the rock dominance called The Old man.
The fact that we made the visit in the first half of October was surprised by the number of bird species here that have been staying here. In addition to the expected marine species, such as gulls and gannets, some ducks and a large number of waders, we also observed singers, such as stonechats, wrens, wagtails and pipits. To our surprise we have even found 3 ex. Common Swallows! Obviously thanks to the austere nature of the landscape, most shots of the Orkney animals are simply minimalist. Judge yourself.
For a return trip to Eddinburg, we chose a route across the Scottish Highlands. Instead, it was not only a magically beautiful landscape with countless views and intimate landscapes, but also a surprising encounter with a typical representative of the local avifauna by the Scottish mountain bark.