IMAGE OF THE MONTH
Snow covered Slioch from Loch Maree
Loch Maree is located in Wester Ross in the north west Highlands of Scotland. It is 13 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. It is the fourth largest freshwater loch in Scotland. Loch Maree has beautiful scenery containing 5 large wooded islands and over 60 smaller ones, many of which have their own lochans.
The most prominent mountain on the northern side of Loch Maree is Slioch, one of Scotland’s Munros, which dominates the eastern end of the loch. The southernwestern side of Loch Maree is also mountainous, comprising the Torridon Forest. The most prominent peak is Beinn Eighe. It is an area popular for hill walking, scrambling and climbing.
Loch Maree is of international importance for its special wildlife and biodiversity, and is the site of one of the largest breeding concentrations of black throated diver in the UK. The presence of black throated divers on the loch has led to it being designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), this also extends to cover the surrounding hills including Beinn Eighe.
The islands of Loch Maree are wooded, being the location of some of the best native Caledonian pine forests in Scotland. Pine Martens and white-tailed sea eagles can be found on the islands. Among the other birds observed in the area include the golden eagle, buzzard, merlin and many species of smaller birds. In autumn time you can hear the red deer stags bellow echoing from the crags, during the rutting season.
It was a beautiful, cold, crisp winters day. I set out to capture the three important elements of Loch Maree, Slioch and the Caledonian Pine Trees. I was aware that the low winter sun would soon disappear behind Beinn Eighe, so I set up to capture the sunlight striking the line of pine trees along the lochside.
Almost as the sun lowered and would disappear for the day, it broke through a gap in the clouds and set the foreground trees ablaze. It was a stunning scene, that was best captured in a panoramic image.
I have pieced together a short video, which captures the beautiful hills of Slioch and An Teallach, with Loch Glascarnoch, Loch Droma, Loch Broom and Loch Maree. I hope you enjoy it.