July 15, 2022 3 min read
Explore series 4: In the explore series, we journey to stunning corners of Britain with some of our favourite photographers to discover the best locations for you to visit. In this episode, Aberdeen based, Elliot Hepworth takes us around his favourite places in Scotland.
Nestled below high sand dunes and rugged cliffs, Hackley Bay is one of my favourite places next to home. This beach produces some incredible scenes whether you visit on a warm summer’s day or in the depth of winter; this beach has a special feel to it. Especially when you get the whole beach to yourself!
Aberdeenshire has been home to over 260 castles. However, New Slains Castle – perched on the cliffs some short way north-east of the beautiful village of Cruden Bay – is by far my favourite to visit. It is said that this remarkable castle laying in a somewhat state of ruin was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula and when you visit on a moody day, you can see why.
There is just something about a red and white banded lighthouse that is so pleasing on the eye. Buchan Ness lighthouse is no different but what really brings me back here time and again is the location. Situated on a small headland, the lighthouse catches some incredible light when the sun rises in the early hours and also looks fantastic in the eye of a storm. With it being a short distance from New Slains Castle and less than half an hour from the much more popular Rattray Head, this lighthouse is a must!
Is this Scotland’s most famous rock? I wouldn’t blame you for thinking so. Resembling the tip of bow, Bow Fiddle is located on the Moray Coast with easy access from Portknockie or a beautiful longer walk from Cullen Bay. It is often the first place on my mind when stormy weather hits as I imagine the waves landing blow after blow on this incredible formation; trying tirelessly to weather its unique shape.
No trip around the North Coast 500 is complete without a stop to either hike up or view the Queen of the Scottish Mountains – Ben loyal. This beautiful mountain stands at 764m and classifies as a Corbett and offers stunning views from the top in all directions, including to the most northerly Munro of Ben Hope. However, on a calm day, my favourite view to Ben Loyal is from Lochan Hakel.
Located at the northern end of the Trotternish Ridge, this landscape features some impressive rock formations, steep cliffs, and some excellent walking. Although, I believe that this place looks best dressed in Skye gold, as the sun rises in the early hours and less people are exploring.
I have been lucky enough to visit some impressive beaches in Scotland such as Achmelvich and Sango Sands on the west and north coast respectively. Nevertheless, it is the white and gold sandy beaches of the Isle of Harris which have left me truly speechless. Coupled with gorgeous clear green-blue water, I felt as though I was not in Scotland but rather abroad!
A place like no other where I truly felt as though I was on the islands at “The Edge of the World.” If you are visiting the Outer Hebrides and have the opportunity visit this archipelago which is rich in history, wildlife, and landscape…GO! This group of islands was abandoned in 1930 by the remaining 36 residents who were evacuated and has since become the UK’s only dual UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of only 39 in the whole world. There are a few walks which you can complete during your short time on the island as well as exploring the main village on Hirta.
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