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UK fine art landscape prints by David Ross

Cairngorms fine art landscape prints

Archival prints of the Cairngorms national park and surrounding areas

I adore the Cairngorms, particularly in the late autumn, when the colours are a symphony of reds, yellows, and oranges. The area around Loch Garten and Abernethy Forest in the north, and around Braemar and Mar Lodge estate in the south are my favourites. Hopefully these images will help you see why!

CAIRNGORMS LOCATIONS

I use the term ‘Cairngorms’ in a loose sense I suppose, taking in the national park itself, but also stretching south to take in Royal Deeside. I spent a wonderful week in late autumn in the area, based at Nethy Bridge, just outside the ancient forest of Abernethy. The forest was an unexpected delight, and I loved the silence of the woods, with the huge old trees reminding me at times of scenes from the Lord of the Rings. Most people come to Loch Garten to see the Osprey Centre, and indeed that was on my list of places to see, though I am not a bird photographer by any stretch. Unfortunately, my research was faulty and the centre was closed for the year. But on the plus side, the forest and the area around Loch Garten was an absolute delight, especially when the first snowfall of the year coated the ground around the shore with fresh white snow.

A short walk through Abernethy Forest from Loch Garten brings you to Loch Mallachie, one of my favourite places in the Cairngorms for late evening photography. There are a few ancient stumps of trees sprouting out of the waters of the loch like some kind of ghostly scarecrows, and I found these trees incredibly photogenic. One glorious sunset while I was photographing the loch a pair of geese exploded from the reeds along the shore and honked past a few score feet above my head. I love those moments, those magical, unexpected moments when nature surprises me, and leaves me with my mouth wide in awe.

Another area I particularly enjoyed was Rothiemurchus, where trails lead through the estate and marvellous autumn foliage. One particular walk around Loch an Eilean was especially colourful. A short way south from Rothiemurchus is Loch Insh, one of the few places in the Cairngorms where you can get unobstructed views westward, towards the setting sun – always a pleasure if you enjoy photographing sunsets over water like I do!

Just a bit further south again is Ruthven Barracks, one of the most photogenic historic sites in Scotland. Ruthven is one of those locations that always draws your eye, where the light always seems to create drama. I was determined to photograph the barracks at night, illuminated by spotlights. Unfortunately, the night I chose, the weather decided it was time for another snowfall. As I headed south past Feshiebridge I was half-considering turning back, because the snow was falling thick and fast, and I didn’t want to get caught out driving at night on snowy roas. But in typical ‘oh what the heck’ fashion, I decided I was going to go for it. I arrived at the barracks just as the snow started to really whip in, and I thought I’d be unable to get any photos at all, but by covering the lens with my hat until the last split second, I was able to rattle off a half-dozen shots befotre the wind changed direction and starting sending the snow straight into my lens. I gave up and fled for home, and by sheer luck I suppose, managed to beat the worst of the snow on the roads. The result you can see in this gallery.

If I had to pick one ‘hidden delight’ of the Cairngorms area I’d have to go for the Mar Lodge Estate. The area around Linn o’Quoich, in particular, is an absolute delight, and seems to get almost no visitors. But the walk into the woods, past a series of wonderful waterfalls, to the aptly named Devil’s Punchbowl, is a wonderful example of Highlands woodland scenery, especially beautiful when the autumn colours are at their best.