The further north in Scotland you go, the more ‘lonely’ the mountain peaks are, but at the same time they tend to be distinctive. This is certainly true of Ben Loyal (from Scottish Gaelic Beinn Laghail), a Corbett in Sutherland in the far north of Scotland. Rising in an isolated position south of the Kyle of Tongue, Ben Loyal’s distinctively spiky profile is instantly recognisable from other peaks around the region, with its four peaks along the main ridge running north to south offering superb 360 degree views of bog, moor, mountains and sea. Its highest peak, An Caisteal, reaches an altitude of 764m.
This image was taken in April of this year – technically springtime in Scotland, but it looked and felt very wintery under leaden skies. I waited in the car for yet another hail storm to pass before venturing down to the shore of Lochan Hakel, where I found a near-perfect reflection. Working quickly in anticipation of the next storm, I set up my camera and tripod to capture the wider view. I used a 2 stop medium graduated neutral density filter to balance the exposure of the foreground and sky and a polariser to enhance the reflection of the peaks in the gently rippled water. I took a few frames as the clouds swirled above the peaks, checking my focus and exposure as I went along, and was about to add a neutral density filter to smooth out the water when the wind suddenly picked up again. The reflection was lost to the little whitecaps disturbing the surface of the water, but at least I managed to come away with an image that showed the moodiness of a beautiful landscape.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor