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UK fine art landscape prints by David Ross

Western Isles Fine Art Landscape Prints

Archival┬áprints of Scotland’s magnificent Outer Hebrides

Is there a more beautiful area of Britain than the Western Isles? If so, I want to go there!

ABOUT THE WESTERN ISLES

I could write volumes about the wonderful Western Isles. Maybe the best way to describe how much I enjoy photographing this area is simply that I periodically find myself pouring over estate agent advertisements, and sighing over the prospects of finding a perfect house on one of the islands – I can’t decide which one – and seeing the glorious Hebridean landscape on a daily basis.

I didn’t always feel that way; I recall the first time I visited the Isle of Harris. Travelling north from the ferry terminal at Tarbert towards the Isle of Lewis I was overwhelmed by the bleak, almost lunar landscape of tumbled boulders and bare hills. But it didn’t take long for the Hebridean magic to start weaving its spell. And that’s what it does; the sheer rugged beauty of the Western Isles gets under your skin. So does the pace of life, a sort of British version of South American ‘manana’.

If Harris is rugged, what can I say about Lewis? Magnificent sandy beaches that would happily grace a holiday brochure for a Caribbean resort, a landscape by turns barren and stunningly beautiful, and more history than you can shake a stick … er … camera at. One of the most moving and awe-inspiring moments of my life was spent photographing one of those historic monuments; I spent three days at Callanish, or Calanais if you prefer the Gaelic and politically correct spelling, and photographed the sunrise and sunset every day. One of those mornings I arrived at the stone circle (actually a couple of avenues, but let’ not quibble) at about 3 am. I was in time to see the dawn sky turn the most astonishing array of crimson red that I have ever seen. For ten minutes of frantic photography one corner of my brain was simply standing in awe and wonder at the astonishing beauty I was witnessing.

But of course there is more to the Western Isles than Lewis and Harris. Hmm … I wonder when they became the Western Isles? When I was a child they were definitely the Outer Hebrides. But we must move with the times and now they are the Western Isles, or if you prefer the Gaelic, Eilean Sar. Like I said, there’s a lot more to se and photograph. I absolutely adored the Uists, including North and South Uist, Benbecula, and Berneray. West Beach on Berneray is almost as beautiful as Sandwood Bay, seen elsewhere in this gallery, and the thatched youth hostel on Berneray is one of the most photogenic buildings I’ve ever seen.

On North Uist is the wonderful stone circle at Pobull Fhinn, named for the Gaelic hero, Finn MaCool. There are several solitary standing stones on South Uist, none easier to get to than Pollachar, standing as it does by the parking lot for the Pollachar hotel. There is fabulous beach at Garrynamonie, and a picturesque harbour at Ludag, with views across to Eriskay. The little island of Eriskay is perhaps best know for its semi-wild ponies, and more recently for its role in the popular book and film Whisky Galore. But films aside, Eriskay is a delight; the landscape is magnificent, the lifestyle serene. If only those blasted ponies would keep still long enough for me to get a good photograph!

But if its good photographs I wanted – and I always do – then there’s just one place I’d head; straight to Loch Druidibeg nature reserve on South Uist. Its just one of those magical places that grabs you and doesn’t let you go. There are circular walks through the reserve, which has a good bird population, but in truth there is very little in the way of visitor facilities. What there is instead is just a wonderful series of small lochs with views westward towards a series of low hills – too low to be seriously considered mountains. When the late evening light streams acros the lochs and casts a golden glow on the sweep of yellow grasses, the effect is almost surreal; a vista of stunning beauty. Which pretty well sums up the Western Isles in my opinion. It can be bleak, inhospitable, barren – and then in the next moment the most magnificently beautiful area on earth. I hope my photographs can do justice to that beauty.