During the last week of February 2018, the “Beast from the East” - a polar vortex stretching from the Russian Far East to the British Isles, covering almost all of Europe - combined with Storm Emma, which pushed in from the south-west. As a result, parts of the UK experienced heavy snowfall, high winds and unusually low temperatures.
No snow was forecast for Ullapool, in the north-west highlands of Scotland, but we awoke to find that over 8 inches had fallen overnight which made getting about without a four-wheel drive challenging. The road into the Inverpolly Nature Reserve was impassable for days due to the high snowdrifts. When the road finally re-opened, a magical scene awaited us. Inverpolly had been completely transformed into a winter wonderland, with the distinctive peaks that rise steeply and abruptly from the rough landscape of moorland, bogs and lochans - including the volcano lookalike Stac Pollaidh - blanketed in heavy snow.
I composed the image so that the ridges of the snow drift led the eye to the little lochan below and waited until Stac Pollaidh in the far distance and the peak of the ‘Fiddler’ (Sgurr an Fhidhlier) on the left were lit up by the sun. I used a two stop soft graduated filter to balance the exposure and a polariser to enhance the natural colours in the sky.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor