Dunvegan Castle, Waternish, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Dunvegan Castle, Waternish, Isle of Skye, Scotland

It's amazing what can be achieved on a first visit to anywhere and the same can be said for that first sojourn of mine on Skye. A bike got hired for a day and it took me across the island to Dunvegan and its castle. It was the cause of controversy a few years back when the MacLeod of MacLeod (clan chief of the family) put the Cuillin on the market in order to fund repairs to its roof. The sale never came off and the castle and the hills are now in public ownership with the John Muir Trust coming to own a good share of the south of the island.

All of that was lay in the future when I spent a sunny afternoon around Dunvegan before returning to Portree for the night, a journey that went down the west coast as far as Bracadale before turning inland to cross the island on the B885. The day was a hot summer one so any hills were felt more keenly, even on a 21-speed bike, and that indented coastline had its part in lengthening the round trip too. Thus, a good rest was in order so that's precisely what I was doing in a quiet corner of the gardens when I made this photo. The castle is a very square affair with most congregating in front of it while I was there but the gardens were superb and there was magic in the views out along Loch Dunvegan to complement them too. In fact, that feeling of magic was set to continue in the evening sun as I found my way back east. To this day, I am a sucker for a pot of dramatic coastline backed by enticing hill country in evening sunshine and that was granted to me on the day. There is something about the mixture of blue seas and sympathetically lit green countryside that does it for me and it's been the cause of my returning to places like Skye time after time.

See more photos from: Isle of Skye, Scotland