Scotland’s Ever-Changing Landscapes – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Nothing endures but change.”


(12 Photos)



This week Kristin has challenged us to illustrate Change. These past few weeks change has been my constant companion, but that not-withstanding I’ve decided to focus on something much more interesting – the incredible, ever-changing landscapes of Scotland.  Despite its size Scotland delivers an amazing variety of scenery and climate. Having driven 1,200 miles from north to south and from east to west, we experienced change at every bend in the (frighteningly narrow!) road.



Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

George Bernard Shaw

I will admit I was stunned by the sheer beauty of the place. I expected great golf (which we certainly got) but had no idea that the landscape would be so glorious. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather, but one cannot visit Scotland without experiencing a bit of their famous wind and mist. Happily, we never saw the pounding downpours for which they are famous, but the moody mists appeared often when least expected. (I swear I thought I might see Heathclif appear around the next corner more than once!) Happily, for the most part they were gone as quickly as they’d arrived.



“He who lives must be prepared for changes.”

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The landscapes of Scotland are enhanced by their proximity most everywhere to water. The sea, the lochs, the firths, the waterfalls – it’s water, water everywhere. But the surprise for me came with the hills and mountains. Who knew there was actually skiing in Scotland??! Of course we did know there would be hundreds of castles – in all shapes, sizes and states of repair – but their positions on the water or high on a bluff made them even more interesting than they might otherwise have been.



“Change is the end result of all true learning.”

Leo Buscaglia

I promise there will be many more castles to come in future posts 😀. For now though, a look at an adorable creature seen often in Scotland’s landscape – the Highland Cow.  How on earth does he see through that hair-do?? I’ll save my many landscapes filled with sheep, dairy cattle and goats for future posts as well.



“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Winston Churchill

Interestingly, while in Scotland I was reading Dead Wake, Eric Larson’s book about the sinking of the Lusitania. Much of the story is focused on submarines prowling in and around Scotland’s rocky shores. Not surprisingly we saw quite a few beautiful lighthouses guarding her shores from predators as well as protecting her seafaring communities from disaster.



“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

Malala Yousafzai



“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”

Anatole France

Seen below, an example of why they are so important:



“Change is the law of life.”

John F. Kennedy

It’s hard to believe the seas can be so treacherous as you observe some of the sleepy little villages that also dot the landscape.



“Change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.”

John Steinback

Another surprise for me was plethora of flowers. Of course there was the famous heather, which is quite beautiful and grows everywhere. But there were also fields and fields of wildflowers as well as beautiful blossoms growing along the sides of the roads. I suppose Scotland’s challenging weather means that only the strongest (and most vibrant) survive.



“True life is lived when tiny changes occur.”

Leo Tolstoy

I will close with two photos that to me illustrate the diversity of Scotland’s landscapes. The first is a capture of one of the beautiful waterfalls which can be seen everywhere. This particular scene lined a hike we took at Fairy Pools – a series of waterfalls of varying velocity that ran for miles (a future post for sure).



“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others. ”

Jacob M. Braude

The second is a view of one of the hills that surrounds Edinburgh, Scotland’s beautiful capital. We were fortunate to visit during the peak of their largest annual festival so the city was literally humming with life. Lots more on that as well as our Highland Games experience later.



“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”


One of the challenges for a photographer in Scotland is the size of their roads.  I can remember many times when the scenery was breathtaking but there was absolutely no way to pull over to capture a shot. Those moments remain vividly in my mind as eye-photos! The other challenge when traveling is the time of day when special scenes appear. Fortunately, Scotland’s light is quite beautiful at almost any hour; it is very rarely harsh, even at peak sunshine hours.

My thanks to Kristin for her (to me) very timely and interesting challenge. To see some of the changes others have highlighted, click here.


128 thoughts on “Scotland’s Ever-Changing Landscapes – Weekly Photo Challenge

  1. A beautiful first look at stunning Scotland and what a selection you have given us along with the quotes that always give me food for thought. If these are just a small sample I am looking forward to more of the misty mountains and castles. What a great road trip, all be it a scary one…

    • It WAS a bit scary Pauline bit of course in hindsight that was part of the fun! I certainly have a better understanding of why European cars are typically smaller–between the price of gas and the narrow roads it’s quite a challenge!

  2. I really enjoyed this post. You have reminded me of all the beautiful places up here that we still have to visit. The weather has been fantastic this last week and I have been lucky enough to go walking up Bennachie two weekends running. Unfortunately my camera is too heavy to carry, so a lightweight one is on my wishlist as we get out and about a bit more now. I loved your shots of Seaside Sunset and Castle and Colours – where was that castle? Looking forward to more photos of your trip.

    • Thanks so much Annette. The castle was near Onich. We came upon it by accident as we were headed to a bicycle rental place. A wonderful little restaurant/sandwich shop was just above it and our bike ride nearby was spectacular!

  3. Spectacular Tina . Loved your account of driving 🙂 and pictures of grumbling skies , lochs , lighthouses and castles found in the heart and coastline of rugged Scotland . A sense of remoteness . It’s about time I revisited now photography is my passion … must make sure I miss the midge season though ! Let’s see MORE 🙂

    • Hi Poppy – so nice to hear from you! Yes the midges ; I had (thankfully) been warned and was prepared but there was only 1 time that they appeared and OMG, how does ANYONE deal with them?!?!?! Anyway, yes rugged, remote Scotland was more than I ever imagined it could be – and the little seaside towns were wonderful! Now if I’d just seen the northern lights it would have been perfect 😄

      • For future reference you need Avon’s Skin So Soft apparently – either that or a hat with a net that goes over your face. Here on the east coast we don’t get bothered by them thankfully.

  4. Pingback: Week 28 Sept. – 4 Oct. 2015 ✦ Share Your Best Travel Photo | Julie's PhotoBlog

  5. Absolutely gorgeous, Tina! My daughter has been wanting us to take a family trip to Scotland for the past couple of years. Your photographs might convince my husband that it is a good idea! 🙂

  6. I loved the Anstruther shot too! Thanks for naming it, Tina. I wondered! That third shot looks like a painting with its lovely soft light. You reminded me just how beautiful Scotland is. I have no excuse really, do I? It’s not too far up the road. 🙂 Looking forward to Fairy Pools.

    • Thanks Jo–honestly the light in Scotland was wonderful almost all the time. Even in the mist it was wonderfully moody! You must get back there and do some traveling in the northern highlands. magical!!

  7. Beautiful, thoughtful post, as always. So you were there in the fall? Where is that second photo taken, the one of the village by the sea; I’ve never seen Scotland portrayed quite like that one!

  8. Breathtaking shots, Tina. Scotland truly has mesmerising views and I’m sure it felt like you were in a dream sitting in that car and realising that the scenery was going no where as you were journeying on. The second photo has to be my favourite – the houses are so close to the mighty waves below. It must be beautiful and a bit frightening at the same time to live there.

    I love that Rumi quote at the end. Wise words indeed. When we change ourselves, often we learn to see things from another perspectives and keep learning 🙂

    • Many thanks Mabel. You’re not the first to mention how scary it could be living on those waves. I suppose in a real storm they might indeed get a bit wet!! But they are a village that depends on the sea for everything so I guess they knew the dangers when they built! Their views are magnificent too 😀

  9. Well worth the wait Tina. A wonderful photo homage to the beauty of Scotland. You’ve taken me back to our visit way back in 1968. Look forward to more in future posts. Best wishes 🙂

    • Thanks Perpetua – I’d go back in a heartbeat. Would love to be able to shoot all of the beauty I missed!! And I too love Rumi, altho I wouldn’t call myself a student. Nice to e-see you!

  10. what a tour of scotland……just fascinating shots….’castle and colors’ really caught me eye…so peaceful!! Love them all!! Thanks for the charming trip!!

  11. Beautiful place. One of my colleagues prior to my retirement is of Scottish descent. She still sports the brogue. She recently returned from her homeland. You are now the second person in recent weeks to pique my interest in visiting there. Looking forward to those future posts.

    • Thanks so much LRS – hope your relo is going well. It’s quite a challenge isn’t it?! I feel your pain on the non-Chef’s kitchen. Same here!!! Didn’t realize quite how spoiled I was!

  12. Such a ruggedly beautiful place. It’s been years since I’ve been there, and I’d love to get back. Your “Castle and Colors” photo is the mental image I always carry of Scotland.

    • Thanks so much Lex – ruggedly beautiful is a very good description of much of the country. And the castles were magical. Not sure how long my followers will tolerate the photos but I expect to be using them for quite a long time LOL

  13. A lovely summary of your Scottish tour – my favourite has to be Ullapool, such beautiful light in that photo and the furthest north I have been. I really must spend more time up there, so much to see and such stunning and varied landscapes. Fairy Falls looks beautiful.

    • Many thanks Jude. We actually went as far as Lochinver and then did a day trip south to Ullapool. So glorious up there. The heather and the misty rolling hills were so wonderful. Many more photos of them to come but honestly you cannot do justice!!

      • I think it is very hard to do justice to a great landscape, you just can’t get it all in or get the light right or the height. But I am more than sure that you will have done your utmost and found some details to home in on. 🙂

  14. Just a beautiful travelogue of Scotland. First photo is my favorite. Glad you didn’t clone out the wind turbines. Don’t think power washing will ever be popular in Edinburgh. Such a pretty city.

    • Thanks so much Kathy – I did consider taking them out but really to me they’re a testament to the power of the wind in Scotland. They’re less prevalent than you’d think but you do see them here and there. Appreciate your kind comment!

  15. Although I believe I was conceived in Scotland, I’ve never actually been there. Your photos are really great, Tina, as are the carefully chosen quotes. The Rumi one is my favourite. The Highland cow’s hairdo really made me smile, and I loved seeing the castles and lighthouses. 🙂

  16. Wow! You have captured the essence of beautiful Scotland so well, Tina. You obviously had a great time and driving on “the wrong side” was no problem at all? 🙂 Looking forward to what ay come. Our Bookfayries want to go back to Scotland very soon as we missed Fairy Pools last year. I wouldn’t mind; Scotland is great for hiking. 🙂

    • Thanks Dina! The driving was VERY challenging as the roads are incredibly narrow – sometimes if a car is coming from the other direction you have to either pull over or if there’s no room one of you has to back up! Yikes – but well worth the effort. And you of ALL people must visit Fairy Pools LOL!!

      • I’m very relieved to read this, Tina. Every time I leave Germany with its excellent highways and end up in Norfolk, England, I experience the same. Norfolk has only got narrow, winding tiny roads with beautiful hedges (and plenty of hedge cutters); the locals drive at an incredible speed! The oncoming traffic is a challenge, especially if I drive my own car and sit on the left side.
        Sure, Fairy Pools are on the list! 🙂

  17. lovely post Tina. May I suggest at some stage, if yo7 have not already done so, a short trip to my neck of the woods – southwest ireland. Lahinch, Ballybunnion, Waterville, and The Old Head at Kinsale for golf. And at that last venue you can look out to sea and view where the lusatania was actually sunk. Sport, history and photo opps to die for. Enjoy!

    • Thanks so much Micheal. Actually my husband and I spent 3 weeks in Ireland several years ago. We played Lahinch, Ballybunnion, Waterville AND Old Head. We saw the plaque re the Lusitania and I thought of it instantly when I read the book. Yours is also a beautiful county and we enjoyed it immensly!! My favorite place was Kinsale and Old Head was magical.

  18. Hi Tina. Thanks for your photo essay on Scotland. What a gorgeous place! Your photos, as always, are striking and beautiful. I especially love your shot of the Highland Cow. What a shaggy and glorious beast!

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