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Dave Werner | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Beautiful Wasteland... Autumn in Scotland's Northern and Western Isles tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Beautiful Wasteland... Autumn in Scotland's Northern and Western Isles

A few photos from my recent trip to Shetland, Orkney, Inverness, and the Outer Hebrides.

The gallery's title is from a song by the Scottish group Capercaillie.

The complete set of 571 images can be seen at:

Gamma optimized for Macs and printing (may look dark on PCs)- View in "Original" size if possible.

Thank you for dropping by. - All photos Dave Werner 2005

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The Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, seen from Jarlshof. Seaward outer wall of one of the iron age roundhouses at Jarlshof. Reindeer moss - Safely buried for a millenium, Jarlshof's older walls are now fending for themselves in the damp sea air. Looking northwest from the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.
Sumburgh Head Light, automatic now, but a classic 19th century design by Stevenson Engineers The walk from Jarlshof to the light, along bird covered cliffs and fields of sheep, was a highlight of the trip. The magical island of Noss can be seen in the mist to the north of Sumburgh's cliffs. Horse Island, the end of the peninsula across from, and to the west of, Sumburgh.
This beautiful double ended launch surprised me as I was setting up the shot of 'Swan' (the ketch in the background). A surprising amount of 18th century Lerwick is still there. North of the small boat harbour you begin to see vessels that can (and do) go out in anything the North Sea has to offer. Lerwick's R.N.L.I. Lifeboat.  (If you're going out in a hard chance, this is the boat to do it in.)
The Laird of Bressay and Noss lives in the house seen in the distance. Gannets (twenty thousand at last count) inhabit Noss' eastern cliffs in September. A gull and minke whale, northeast of Bressay. Built in the 14th century, St. Magnus is still Kirkwall's tallest building.
H.M.S. Royal Oak Memorial Art students sketching in the flag draped nave of St. Magnus Cathedral. St. Magnus seen from the ruin of the Bishop's Palace. I can't say for sure... but the Shapinsay Ferry sure looks like a converted LST (Landing-Ship-Tank).
Balfour Castle (now a hotel). Helliar Holm Lighthouse, 1893, the work of Stevenson Engineers. This abandoned fixer upper near the Highland Park distillery gave me a silly idea... The Highland Park distillery has two resident cats: Barley and Malt.  (Your guess is as good as mine.)
The ferry ship Hamnavoe looms over smaller classic workboats... two lobster boats, a small ferry, and a dive boat. Picturesque marconi rigged skiff close hauled off of Inner Holm, in Stromness Harbour. Night falls on the inner harbour with the mainland ferry still out. Even with the construction crane looming, Stromness Harbour and Scapa Flow look magical.
Stromness still has centuries old narrow alleys (this one is Khyber Pass!) running off the main street. What can  say?  I want it! This alley features one of Stromness' best restaurants. It rained often while I was there, but those wet flagstones look so good in the photos!
One of the taller stones in the Ring of Brodgar (man is roughly 6 feet tall). The misty rain kept the crowds down, and the light was magical at times... Surrounded by the great concentric circles of hills and lochs, you stand within the stone circle and feel the site's power. The freeze-thaw cycle in winters will eventually split and destroy the stones...
Stromness harbour with Scapa Flow on the horizon. The Isle of Hoy, as seen from atop Binkies Brae (a hill just west of Stromness) Looking north from the castle along the river Ness. An easy walk from downtown up the river towards Loch Ness
After sunset... Callanish Stone Circle on a windswept September day. The long 'runway' that differentiates Callanish from Brodgar and Stonehenge Standing here, you are at the focus point...
This bay (west of Callanish) connects with the North Atlantic The sides of the stones away from the windswept, horizontal rain stayed dry! The Gearrannan Black House that I stayed in for two nights during a series of norwesterly gales. The catspaws and foam streaks on the surface of the sheltered bay tell the story... gale force wind.
Gale force winds still blowing at sunset...  It's going to be an noisy night in the blackhouse. Tarbert is a very small town; this is about half of it. The shed of the well known boatbuilder and author: John MacAulay Author/Boatbuilder John MacAulay's access to the sea...
The stark and barren south shore of Harris stands in marked contrast to the north coast's white sand beaches. We experienced lots of heavy weather in Lewis & Harris... Atlantic swells fetch up on Harris' Atlantic north shore. One of the fabled white sand beaches of Harris' Atlantic side.
Sheep, looking quite comfortable, thank you... on the machair. Like nearly all towns in the Hebrides, Stornoway is first and foremost a harbour. Yachts, in for the winter, compete with centuries old buildings for the skyline. Gaelic is still the first language on Lewis & Harris
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