There is a growing trend that when we visit new places, we are often inspired by some of our favourite films we grew up watching. Familiar movies such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Inception, and James Bond franchise has got dramatic landscapes and mesmerising sets that constantly raise the bar of cinematography works in Hollywood films. It is also because of these locations that cannot be found in Singapore that has largely influenced me into doing landscape photography.
Scotland is one of the many places on my bucket list while studying abroad, and I have made it as part of the destination for my landscape photography works and research on provocative landscapes. Planning for the trip was challenging at first, as there were so many places to see and yet so limited time and budget. It took me three months to work out the best options to explore and my route of advancement.
Eventually, I decided to fly into Glasgow, rent a car and drive around the highlands through Inverness and Aberdeen before ending at Edinburgh. I’ve got a travelling buddy so he could navigate while I drive. Being unfamiliar with the weather conditions in the highlands and also my first time driving such long distances, I had sought more advice from experienced people and planned out more pit stops so I would have ample rest while taking photos and driving. For our accommodation, I thought of camping outdoors and staying in hostels on alternate days.
Throughout the journey has been a daunting experience. On the first few days of our journey, we ran into problems. It took me a while to get used to driving in a larger car. I had accidentally scratched another vehicle while performing a parking manoeuvre. It was a misjudgement on my part. I alerted the car owner and apologised for the accident caused. Fortunately, the car owner was an understanding person. However, I had to bear the guilt of paying the damages for the car rental for the rest of the journey as it did not occur to me the full car insurance was extremely important.
Also, my buddy revealed that he had felt uncomfortable travelling in the highlands and wanted to head back to Glasgow. Hence, we made the arrangement to send him to the nearest bus station while I continue the rest of the journey myself, but with one full day behind schedule. We agreed to keep each other in contact and meet up at Edinburg as scheduled, before heading to Manchester City.
To accommodate for such unforeseen circumstances, I had to revise my plans (which I had worked on for three months) while on the fly. It was extremely stressful for me as I had to focus on my driving and getting to the right direction. Because of this I only did little photography works than I had initially planned. I managed to arrive in Edinburgh on time, as I had to miss exploring areas around Inverness and Aberdeen altogether.
Even with eight days of driving, it still isn’t enough to properly visit the places I had planned. For this trip, I have clocked more than 550 miles of driving, plus 55gb of raw images. All these photos took quite a while to edit and sort them out. Finally, those processes are completed. I am proud to share some of my best captures during my time in Scotland.
All in all, this is one heck of a journey that gave me much experience to drive long distances and overcoming unexpected scenarios (I’ve got stopped by two police patrols on two separate occasions). Scotland is such a huge place and my itinerary isn’t enough to satisfy my wanderlust. Given the opportunity and budget, I would like to visit Scotland highlands again.
For my best of Scotland (part 2), click here.
Special Thanks to
Lecturer Ross Trevail for advice on driving around in Scotland
Sean Hancock for advice on places to visit
Rhiannon Steele for lending me her camping equipment
Course Lecturer James Cant for being supportive of my endeavours