“It was 3.30am on a wild beach in a remote corner of the Highlands, and wonderful things were about to happen.”
Adventure consultant and wilderness photographer David Russell has been enjoying the amazing early summer weather going camping in the North West Highlands. Read about him experiencing a stunning Highland sunrise.
I unzipped the tent and shoved my head beneath the outer sheet to check the sky. One glance confirmed that I was about to fulfil the reason I came here. I am a wilderness photographer, and my business is witnessing nature’s most extraordinary moments. I was there for dawn.
Even at 3.30am there was plenty of light to see by. In June night never really arrives in the northern Highlands. On a clear night such as this you can watch the red glow of the sun simply dip below the horizon for a few hours, to reappear less than 90 degrees from the place it set.
The horizon glowed pink with deep blue above. Strung along the edge of view were the silhouettes of mountains waiting quietly for another day to start. Mountains as familiar in outline to me as my own shadow. Quinag; Suilven; Stac Pollaidh; Cul Mor. In front of them lay the humped Summer Isles, and before my feet the sea and sands of the wet beach.
I took no convincing to leave the warmth of my sleeping bag, and before long I was on the sand with the spectacle before me. There was hardly any wind to carry away the sounds of the waves slowly inhaling and exhaling – hushing on the sand. A pair of Oyster Catchers wheeled and shrieked above me. Nature does not lie in.
As I considered this my eye was caught by a round shape among the waves. A Grey Seal popped up, staring back at me from the opposite side of the gulf of curiosity. Backdropped by the mountains and rising dawn, it’s a sight that roots me in this moment. Yet it feels timeless – the past and present living in the same space.