Is Corrie the prettiest village

We were on the Island of Arran at the weekend and it poured from the moment we got off the ferry until we got back on the next day. Arran is in the Clyde estuary and is described as Scotland in miniature with mountainous glens in the north, small satellite islands off its own coast ( the Holy Isle)  and beautiful villages.  The stand out place on this trip was the village of Corrie.

Row of houses all painted white with flower fled front gardens and a white wall along side a wet road running through.

Corrie on the island of Arran must be one of the prettiest villages in Scotland. ©Paul Carroll

Is Corrie the prettiest village in Scotland ? There are plenty of competitions for this title and I’d be astonished if it isn’t in the running for the Keep Scotland Beautiful wee village trophy.  Every single house is tastefully painted and every blade of grass in the walled gardens the go along the seawall is perfectly cared for.

Small garden with floral borders and agate at the far side leading on the a beach and a view out to sea.

Between the street and the shore on Corrie there is a walled garden and each house seems to make the most of it with stunning floral displays and a gate to the beach. Lucky them. © Paul Carroll

Even on a wet day it was a joy to pass through. There is a small harbour at one end that includes a long-boat in a viking style. At the other end of the street are mature trees providing a canopy to the colourful cottages.

If anyone asks us for a list of the prettiest villages Corrie will spring to mind. Where would you put on a list of Scotland’s picturesque villages?

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Glasgow Welcomes the World

So proud of Glasgow -the place of our birth. Here’s a great blog from a great blogger at the commonwealth games.

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Isle of Lewis gallery update

Its been a month since we got back from the Hebrides and I am only now getting around to updating our galleries. Check out the new additions to our Isle of Lewis gallery.

I am afraid I suffer from a football related syndrome and it induces a trance like state during the month-long World Cup in June.

This year for our annual trip to the Hebrides we stayed on the Isle of Lewis in a family friend’s house in Gravir in the Lochs area. This meant we travelled more than before around Lewis and fell in love with the western road along the atlantic coast of the island.

looking out to see there is an island rock formation in middle of the scene with a jaggy edge

This is the view from the beach at Bosta on Great Bernera, an island of the isle of Lewis (but connected by a bridge). © Paul Carroll 2014 There is more of this on

The road from the expanse of Uig Bay in the south of Lewis travels past several stunning bays such as Valtos, Reef,  Great Bernera (Bosta beach) and then up past the famous Callanish Stones and another fabulous beach at Dalbeg. We also spent some time at the Morvern Gallery in Barvas, which included some fantastic originals by Pam Carter.  The road culminates at the Butt of Lewis where there are rugged cliffs and stacks.  The wonderful Port of Ness harbour is a good place to rest a while and call in at the Harbour Gallery of Anthony Barbour.

There were far more motor homes and camper vans on the island roads this year. The Western Isle is ideal territory for the travelling camper. The ferry pricing has changed making it far cheaper for vans under 5 meters. We fancy doing it that way ourselves next year. There are plenty of quiet coastal areas to park up and watch the Atlantic sunsets from the beach.

Here are a selection of some new shots from the Lewis Gallery.

A stack rock pillar beside a cliff  - looking down on to it.

A stack at the butt of lewis. ©Paul Carroll 2014

Looking over the red roof of an abandoned cottage towards moor land contaiing lots of small lochs and hills in the distance

A popular view on from the village of Achmore across the moor towards the hills at Uig and North Harris. This particular red roof is appearing in several photographers galleries. This shot has particular good late evening light. ©Paul Carroll 2014









This is a view out to sea from Gravir where we were sating in 2014

This is a view out to sea from Gravir over the fish farms at Loch Odhairn ©Mhairi Carroll 2014


Looking across a large beach. Grass in the foreground

This is another huge beach on the Western coast of the Isle of Lewis called Reef. There is a large Caravan park here if you are interested in where to stay. We ( spent a couple of weeks travelling the western coast of the Western Isles.


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Colin Prior’s Karakoram project

Hopefully you got to see the fantastic one hour Adventure Show special on Colin Prior’s photographic trip to the Karakoram mountain range. Perhaps it was only available in Scotland – BBC 2.  Follow the link above to the adventure show website where there are more clips and images or watch the embedded Vimeo clip below.

Colin is Scotland’s best known and top landscape photographer. He describes this project as his Magnus Opus. It required a six-week trek to the heart of the Karakoram range and he was accompanied by a three-man TV crew. Here is a video summary on Vimeo by the production company – triple echo productions.

<p><a href=”″>Colin Prior Karakoram</a> from <a href=”″>Triple Echo Productions</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The documentary features some of the incredible scenery of this range which boast K2, the world’s second highest mountain, plus three other mountains over 8,000m and 30 over 7,500 all around Baltoro glacier. It also includes Colin discussing how he approached the photographic challenges. The programme shows great examples of a photographer getting set up then waiting for nature to provide the right light. He describes what the right light is for the image he wants. This is nail-biting stuff if you have trekked six weeks to get there.

This has been a dream of Colin’s and he is supremely qualified to achieve it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to such an inhospitable place. However, he mentions the Scottish mountains and the Skye Cuillin in the same breath as Karakoram. These are at least more accessible to you and I.

This is the first product I have seen from this project and I can’t wait for more.

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John Ellis – Another fantastic Scottish Landscape photographer

If you love dramatic Scottish highland scenery you will love the images on the John Ellis Photography website.

Its been a while since a new Scottish landscape photographer has caught our eye. However, Mhairi has been sharing pictures on a Facebook group for people connected to the Isle of Harris and spotted a few scenes posted from John. He refers to his grandparents being from Luskentyre and vividly remembers spending summer holidays there as a child.

rock on the beach is in the foreground with the sea green sea behind and distant hills

Horgabost on the Isle of Harris. ©John Ellis.

This first picture is of one of our favourite places and John has captured a wonderful composition.

He lives in Strathpeffer in Rossshire, which is just north of Inverness. This puts him in easy reach of many of Scotland’s most stunning scenes. Ease of reach isn’t the only criteria as the pictures on the website cover the inner and outer Hebrides and some shots of Glasgow.

His website includes galleries on landscapes, seascapes , flora, fauna and other work. Each image can be purchased as a mounted print.

He says his passion is landscape photography and he is constantly on the lookout to capture new and different shots. Looking at the images on his website he has mastered long exposures to get the drama from the brooding Scottish weather as dark clouds pass over water falling or lapping on the shore.

Here are a further couple of images John shared with us recently.

A stream of water runs through a grass covered salt marsh to a hill in the distance.

The salt marsh at Northton on Harris. ©John Ellis

orange from the sunset is reflected on the sand and over the sea to the call island of Taransay in the distance

Taransay sunset, Isle of Harris. ©John Ellis

So if you have not yet visited his website go and take a look at some of the great pictures on


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This year’s trip to the outer Hebrides

We have finalised arrangements for this year’s trip to the outer Hebrides. We are staying this time (the first two weeks of June) in the lochs area of the Isle of Lewis. This is new territory for us and it seems for most other people as well as there are very few images of the lochs area of the Western Isles on the internet. That won’t be the case after we’ve been there.

view down loch Seaforth which has hills on either side of deep blue water

Loch Seaforth is a deep and long sea loch that has the Isle of Lewis on one side and the Isle of Harris on the other. © Paul Carroll

The famous Loch Seaforth bounds the area to the south. This is one of the many places in Scotland Bonnie Prince Charlie landed on his flight from government troops and supporters. However, he found it hard going to get from there to Stornoway further north as it involved crossing many other lochs and lochans in between. Sounds like the kind of place we love to visit and photograph.

The South Lochs area is also the Pairc Estate, which is about to become another example of the land reform gradually sweeping through Scotland. After a ten-year campaign the Pairc Community Trust is about to take over ownership of the land from a private landlord under the community (crofting area) right to buy scheme introduced by the Scottish Parliament in 2003.

Cover of book Harris: Photographic VIew Volume One

Cover from our eBook on the Isle of Harris

We will of course be able to spend another couple of weeks visiting the adjoining Isle of Harris. It now has global recognition from both the National Geographic magazine and Rough Guide as one of the top ten destinations in the world. If you spend any time looking through our Isle of Harris gallery you will see why. Watch out for more coming soon on the wonderful Harris atlantic coastline, the hills of North Harris and the rugged Bays area.

On the last trip we explored some of the west coast of Lewis. The fabulous beach at Uig and the 5,000 year old Callanish stones. We intend to visit more of Lewis including a trip up to Ness. Our picture of the Callanish stones graces the artwork on the fan site of the series outlander ,the new drama being filmed in Scotland just now.

standing stones across the top of a hill in black and white and heavt cloud in the background

The oldest and largest standing stones site in Europe is over 5,000 years old; into neolithic times. Here it is on the Isle of Lewis. ©Mhairi Carroll

We are looking out for great ideas for views to photograph on Lewis, especially the lochs area or the atlantic coastline. Either reply here or head to our contact page to email a request.






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Another favourite drive – Glenshee in winter

Here is another addition to the quest to list the best driving roads in Scotland. What makes it even more special is this road can deliver a fix of snow-covered landscape when there has been little to go around in the lowlands.

Road looking down through snow covered mountains.

The A93 through Glenshee takes you close to the top of a Munro (the Cairnwell) and through the Glenshee Ski centre making it a candidate for one of top drives in Scotland. ©Mhairi Carroll

Realising that we were approaching the end of winter and had not had a snowfall we were desperate to get to somewhere that had. The A93 is a quick way to get into the high snow-covered mountains. At just over an hour from Perth the road from Blairgowrie to Braemar passes high through Glenshee and the ski centre there. It comes within a few hundred feet of the top of a Munro (mountains over 3,000 ft), the Cairnwell in the Cairngorm National Park. This and the Cairngorm mountain itself are probably the only easily accessible mountains from the road in the National Park.

The picture above is the of the road heading back down the hill towards the small village of Spittal of Glenshee. In front is the summit ridge of Creag Leacach – another Munro listed mountain.

Snow hares are easily spotted abounding these hillsides. It therefore would pay to be ready with a longer focal length lens.

White snow and a white snow hare is just able to be seen

Look closely to see this snow hare creeping past in Glenshee. ©Paul Carroll

Here is one quickly trying to creep past as we prepared to take the shot above. Alas a wide-angle lens didn’t get a close enough shot.

Further along we watched a herd of stags. This is fantastic access to wildlife from the road.

Actually, a thing to bear in mind is that to keep the road clear the snow plough will push piles of snow along the side. Bear this in mind as it means your first steps off the road are likely to be into deep snow. This is a lesson I forgot and a short step quickly filled my boots with snow. Thankfully, I had spare socks.

Another lesson to remember is that snow will fool your camera to thinking it is brighter than it is and render all that white as grey. It is normally a good idea to add  +1 exposure compensation to take a reading.

Previous posts on the best roads in Scotland may or may not feature the A93 at all nor place it high up the list but if you want to make a distinction based on the season then for a road for a snow-covered alpine like experience in Scotland the A93 through Glenshee must be a contender.

Here are the previous posts on the best driving roads.

Scenic drive suggestions for touring around Scotland

The best roads in Scotland part 2

What is the best road in Scotland

More suggestions are welcome and we will keep adding to the list. Maybe an option is to start to think about different roads for different seasons.

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Upgrading our website is an oily rag of a job

Upgrading software might be replacing the annual car service for the masses. I no longer know or want to know what goes on under the bonnet of a car so I rely on professional mechanics to sort out the annual service and MOT. Now instead for some reason I am learning what goes on under the bonnet of our website to carry out annual maintenance tasks and upgrades. It is a sign of the times that a lot of us have replaced weekends with oily rag and spanner with Search Engine Optimisation audit and upgrade to responsive design websites for our work or leisure pursuits. Ah the information age.

We use PhotoShelter as our website service and on the whole its pretty easy to work with. However, it had not kept pace with the design requirements of the tablet and smart phone viewing experience. No fear  – the developers at PhotoShelter have introduced a new “Beam”  website and provide one click from their classic interface (actually still the current for most) to the new Beam interface ( still in Beta test version).

As, according to our google analytics feedback, approaching half of the photography and art audience now view our website on a tablet we ought to change. It is not as one click as the company say but as it is important to keep up with the times I decide to go ahead with the upgrade. It is still a beta test service from Photoshelter so some of it is still not as good as I would like but you do get to swipe through the images on a tablet.

Anyway, my apologies if some of the links to embedded images need fixing and some of the text looks to point you in the wrong direction (e.g. see menu on left, which is now above etc). It will take me a while to go through it all. Perhaps changing the oil was more fun that this.

If you have a look at the site , especially Mhairi’s new Woof in the Wool collection and want to offer some advice it will be gratefully received. Mhairi’s new artistic venture will be a major feature of what we are doing this year. I aim to have the website all spruced up by the end of the month for the new exciting year ahead.

five dogs made from needle felted wool sit in  a row.

The Woof in the Wool – needle felted animals pictured in scenic settings. Here five breeds of dogs in a row show just some of the animals Mhairi is creating. ©Mhairi Carroll 2014

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Introducing sculpting with wool

Mhairi is great at making things. This year she has started producing life-like animals out of the process of felting wool. I am blown away by how lovely they are. We have several around the house now and they are so life-like they almost take on personalities.

Range of felted animals including a fox, sheep , dogs and hares.

Here is a growing collection of felted animals enjoying a crisp winter day on our window ledge. ©Mhairi Carroll

These are not easy to do and each one takes between 7 and 10 hours to produce.  Mhairi has paid particular attention to getting the dimensions correct as well as the facial features. The two border terriers in the front are virtual mini versions of our own two Borders.

Tow felt sculptures of border terriers standing together on part of a log.

Two Border Terriers in felt creation by Mhairi ©Mhairi Carroll

Dougal and Dillon, our pet Borders, sat staring at these for a while. I would love to know what they were thinking looking at these minute versions of their breed of dog.

The process involves using a barbed needle and 100% wool fibre and through the felting process i.e. pushing the needle in and out of the wool to knit the fibres together, combining wool of different colours to give realistic variations in the coat of the animal  and shaping parts around a wire frame.

Its a craft which is hugely popular in Japan and the USA. Some artists are able to offer a portrait service to pet owners where their felt creation is indistinguishable to the real thing.

The range of animals Mhairi can do is growing. The other characters so far include sheep, foxes and hares. Enough to get a farm collection going.

A white sheep with a black face made from felt sitting on a window sill.

Felted sheep with black face. ©Mhairi Carroll

Three felted foxes in a group. Two are at the back standing on a log.

Family of three felted foxes. ©Mhairi Carroll

The Hare is a popular animal in the felted world. When looking on the internet for felted animals the Hare seems appear more than others: one winning a national arts and craft competition. Here is one of ours from the window ledge.

A felted Hare sitting on a small log.

One of the felted Hares. ©Mhairi Carroll So we welcome your feedback and suggestions of favourite animals.

They can rage in size from ten to twenty centimetres.

This is the start of diverging from a largely photography driven blog and website. We hope you enjoy the photographs though. Mhairi would appreciate any feedback on the animals as she is thinking of producing them for sale. We are also keen to explore art and craft in the widest sense to combine our love of the outdoors in Scotland with a variety of ways of representing it visually.

The picture below is the same as the opening one but if you look at the back you can see Mhairi’s felting block and tools.

Range of felted animals (foxes,sheep,dogs,hares) and the  tools and material at the back, which consists of a sponge pad and a needle holder that allows three needles to felt the wool at a the.

Felted animal farm with the tools to make them. ©Mhairi Carroll

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Flickr keeps growing

There seems to be a law of exponential growth in the community of people who enjoy seeing the world through the lens. I am celebrating the number of views of our flickr images passing 200,000.

It took three years to reach 100,000 and just over one to double that. The number of contacts who see each new image builds up and there is a lot of tablet computer apps that load a stream of flickr supplied pictures onto screens around the globe.

If I am ever running out of steam I enjoy looking at the favourites we have selected from other flickr users. Most of them are simply stunning and letting them slide-show when listening to music is a great way to relax.

One specific image of mine has topped 30,000 views and it would appear to be a hit on Pinterest.  The Fairy Pools is a classic Scottish scene from the Isle of Skye and our popular pic below catches an unusual angle on it.

Picture of waterfall at the Fairy Pools Isle of Skye

This image has over 30,000 views now and is our most popular. ©Paul Carroll

Flikr is still one of the main outlets for our images. Although we sell some through Getty’s, 500px and our own website I get as much satisfaction from freely sharing great pictures from around Scotland and in return seeing the world through others sharing their images.

Its maybe time to stop counting but perhaps if we stay with it the next news will be passing the one million views mark. Will let you know if we do.

So thanks to all the viewers out there as it provides a spur to get back outside and take some more pictures. If you get out where you are lets see what captures your eye.

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