After a week on leave I had singularly failed to capture any decent images, mainly due to the poor weather and surprisingly few opportunities to get out with the camera. So today I was determined to get out with the camera, regardless of the rain and the wind. There were some really nice breaks in the wet stuff where the sunshine provided excellent light, but I sadly missed them. The result was a long drive around Lochalsh, seeking inspiration, and ultimately a journey to the top of Glen Shiel to an old favourite subject of mine.
This isolated tree illustrates perfectly the human impact on the landscape. Apart from some forestry blocks and a few isolated clumps of native trees in less accessible areas, these vast spaces are devoid of the natural tree cover that should be there. This is the reuslt of a culture of deer stalking, where preference is given to having larger numbers of beasts to shoot, for pleasure, as opposed to balancing nature. Further down Glen Shiel you can see the difference either side of a deer fence, where a native woodland scheme is now growing with heather on the open spaces between the clumps of trees. On the hill side of the fence, which is open to grazing by deer, there is no heather and virtually no trees.
These two images demonstrate this naked landscape that has been degraded over centuries by mankind, or at least larger landowners, in the pursuit of pleasure. These isolated trees are a symbol of what might be if the deer numbers could be properly brought under control. The first image is taken looking south-east towards Coire an t-Slugain and Druim Shionnach. The following image was taken from slightly further east, looking south-west towards A' Chioch.
I am an amateur photographer who is also a Chartered Geographer with his own part-time consultancy business and I work as an estate manager for a national conservation charity in Scotland. I am based in Lochalsh, Wester Ross, Scotland, just next to the Isle of Skye.
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