Ardvreck Castle stands isolated on a rocky promontory on the north eastern shore of Loch Assynt in Sutherland, north west Scotland. It dates back to the 16th century and is thought to have been built by the Clan MacLeod family around 1590. Sutherland has long been a stronghold of the clan MacLeod who owned Assynt and the surrounding area from the 13th century onwards.
This particular image, which was taken in winter, was an early morning composition. I recall that throughout my stay in Sutherland there was a bitterly cold spell of weather with strong north easterly winds that had a real bite to them. Standing there, composing the image and waiting for the moment was both arduous and exhilarating, well wrapped up against the cold and armed with a flask of hot tea I was ready for the challenge that lay ahead.
I had in my mind that I wanted to convey a sense of place, to show the isolation and remoteness of this dramatically beautiful area. To achieve this I selected a viewpoint that would not show the nearby A837 road that runs alongside Loch Assynt. Having found a suitable vantage point it was just a question of waiting for the best light, the kind of light that adds to the drama of the composition.
It took three separate visits within my weeks stay in the area to finally get the shot I wanted. Whilst all of the days initially looked promising it was only on the third day, aided by wonderful light, that I felt I had actually done photographic justice to Ardvreck Castle.
Sutherland is without doubt a wonderfully remote and dramatic part of Scotland. With big skies and dramatic hills rising from an otherwise barren landscape there are plenty of landscape photography opportunities.
Another trip to Ardvreck Castle?
Would I go back to Ardvreck Castle? Most definitely, in fact my next trip to Sutherland is already scheduled for this coming winter. I can’t wait and will once again add Ardvreck Castle to the list of other places I want to photograph whilst there.