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Photographing Scotland – new book and competition

Esha Ness – Shetland

Dougie Cunningham, a 40-year old professional photographer and hill walker, has spent the last five years travelling around Scotland, researching, visiting, photographing and writing about the most beautiful places in Scotland for his book, Photographing Scotland published this week by fotoVUE at £27.95. At Walkhighlands we’ve an extract below, the chance to win one of three copies of Dougie’s book, and a discount code – WANDER – you can enter to get 20% off all fotoVUE books at their own website, with free shipping until the end of the year.

This 592-page photo-location guidebook – featuring over 800 inspirational photographs – guides you to the most beautiful places in Scotland to visit and photograph. From Esha Ness in the north of Shetland to the Mull of Galloway in the south, Dougie has explored the best of Scotland’s glens, mountains, the coast, islands, villages, rivers, loch’s and quite a few distilleries – he does like his single malt – and has documented his travels in detail so that you can follow in his footsteps, all the while giving tips how to take the best photographs.

Look inside Dougie’s book here:

We’ve three copies of the book to give away – for your chance to win, fill in your details and your answer to the question below:

Which mountain summit does this ridge lead to?

To give an idea of the book, here’s the text of a sample chapter on Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste – with a selection of other images from the book below.

Beinn a’ Chrualaiste

Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste is a bit like the shy guy at the bar that lets his mates do all the conversational heavy lifting. Cool by association, Chrùlaiste is a Corbett at the eastern end of Glen Coe, an outlier for the main range of Munros in the area. From a walking perspective the ascent is fairly mundane, mostly just a boggy trudge up the open hillside, but Chrùlaiste has hidden depths. Being surrounded by much larger, more interesting friends, the views from the broad western tail of Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste are incredible.

This is one of the very best positions to photograph Chrùlaiste’s immediate neighbour, Bauchaille Etive Mòr. With the advantage of a higher elevation than the viewpoints in the glen, you have an unsurpassed view across its north western crags and into Coire na Tulaich. Further west, you have a clear view past Bauchaille Etive Beag directly down Glen Coe to the Three Sisters guarding Bidean nam Bian. If you continue to the summit you will enjoy views over Rannoch Moor to Schiehallion to the east, and the entire Mamore range headed by the mighty Ben Nevis to the north.

Your wide angle lens will be very useful for the view of the Buachaille, though there is an excellent argument for bringing something longer to pick out other segments of the landscape on a clear day too.

What to shoot and viewpoints

Viewpoint 1 – Below Stob Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste

From the car park at Altnafeadh, walk east along the side of the road on the West Highland Way for around half a kilometre, until the path takes you through a wooden gate (NN 225 562). From here, leave the path and follow the fence line as it leads upwards. When the gradient eases on the shoulder of the hill turn right to continue your ascent directly up the hillside, heading east. You may occasionally encounter short sections of what could almost be a path as you climb but for the most part this is just bog-trotting. Keep the top of the Bauchaille in view as you ascend.

You will reach a steep rocky step in the hill at around 570m, immediately below Stob Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste. From the slopes below the small cliff you have an excellent view across to the Buachaille, with the river Coupall circling the base of the mountain like a necklace in the Moor. There are plenty of rock features here for foreground if desired, but the panoramic view from here is impressive enough that it stands well on its own.

Viewpoint 2 – To the summit

Continuing up through a break in the cliffs, the gradient soon eases. Keeping to the southern side of the broad shoulder of the mountain gives consistently good views across to the Buachaille. From the top of Stob Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste the view down Glen Coe is excellent (your longer lens will be appreciated here), but if you continue far enough to the east you will nd that you have to work the hillside into your photographs. A couple of small streams tumble off the steep southern side of the mountain. Along with a handful of bouldery areas they offer good foreground potential to balance out the view across to the Bauchaille.

Once you have had your fill of the view to the south, turn to the north and walk back up onto the broad flank of the hill, making for the summit with its views over Rannoch Moor and the Mamores. Return by the same route.

How to get here

The easiest parking is in a roadside lay-by next to the Altnafeadh cottage, at the foot of the Devil’s Staircase, 9 miles east of Glencoe Village on the A82. The parking is 1.9 miles west of the A82 junction with the Glen Etive road.

Parking Lat/Long: 56.664502, -4.9060793
Parking Grid Ref: NN 220 563
Parking Postcode: PH49 4HY (4.3km)
Map:OS Landranger Map 41 (1:50 000) Ben Nevis


For much of the walking you are traversing open hillside with little in the way of paths to be found. The terrain is uneven, and often wet and slippery, which can make the descent in particular tricky for inexperienced walkers. The initial ascent as far as Stob Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste is steep, though it does ease off further up. Despite the neighbouring hills all being that much larger there this is still a day out on a fairly big hill. Only experienced walkers confident in their navigation should consider a visit to shoot sunrise or sunset, with the need to ascend or descend in the dark. Similarly, in winter only those with the skills, equipment and experience to be out in the mountains in winter should tackle the mountain: there are many excellent viewpoints down in the glen as alternatives if in doubt.

Best time of year/day

Looking directly south over Buachaille Etive Mòr, this makes for an excellent vantage point at either end of the day, throughout the year. The great craggy face of the Buachaille catches the light beautifully as the sun rises in particular. Though mid morning and early afternoon you will likely find that you are shooting directly into the sun. Around the equinoxes the sun will set directly down Glen Coe.

Sample photos from the book

page 63 – Forth birdge

page 96-97 – Lochranza deer

page 193 – Ben Aan

page 199 – Cobbler summit

page 243 – Glenfinnan

page 330 – Laig beach on Eigg

page 374 – Neist

page 444 – Suilven

page 542 – Whaligoe

page 582 – Up Helly Aa

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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.