Magazine article Geographical

High Light

Magazine article Geographical

High Light

Article excerpt

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Scottish photographer Colin Prior spent five years stalking the beaches and mountains of Scotland in search of emotive imagery of his homeland. Trekking to some of the most remote corners of this geologically dramatic landscape, he often camped out overnight in order to capture the dawn light as it fell on subjects ranging from seaweed to the remnants of ancient landslides

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PREVIOUS SPREAD: Blaven and Clach Glas mountains on the Isle of Skye. Part of the Cuillin range, 928-metre Blaven and 789-metre Clach Glas are located in the southwest corner of Skye. First climbed during the late 19th century, both mountains are still popular with climbers today because they are relatively easy to scale, although their iron-rich volcanic rock often stops compasses working properly. Skye, the largest Inner Hebrides isle, and the second-largest of all the Scottish islands, has been occupied since at least the seventh millennium BC. The population of the island peaked during the mid-19th century at more than 23,000 before clearances and First World War losses led to a decline. This trend was reversed towards the end of the 20th century when incomers began to boost the number of islanders, which stands at more than 9,000 today. Despite this influx, the island is still a stronghold of Gaidhlig (Scottish Gaelic)--in some areas, 60 per cent of the population can speak the language; ABOVE: Lochan na h'Achlaise, Rannoch Moor in the Central Highlands. The Lochan contains small brown trout, which rise to the surface to feed on insects at dawn and dusk; RIGHT: Bruar Water, Blair Atholl. After visiting the waterfall in 1787, the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote that he found the water feature 'exceedingly picturesque and beautiful, but the effect ... much impaired by the want of trees and shrubs'. To remedy the situation, he addressed a poem, The Humble Petition of Bruar Water ('Let lofty firs, and ashes cool/My lowly banks o'erspread'), to the Duke of Athole, who planted a wild memorial garden around the falls when Burns died nearly a decade later; CENTRE RIGHT: a fern and birch at Knoydart, on the western coast of Scotland. One of the most remote areas in Britain, Knoydart's 100-strong population can only be reached by boat or foot; FAR RIGHT: icicles at Inverlael in western Scotland. As part of Scotland's commitment to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, a small hydroelectric scheme has been built on the River Lael, producing enough energy for 1,500 homes

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ABOVE: the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye. The Storr is a 719-metre-high mass of rock that forms part of the Trotternish peninsula on the north of the isle. Britain's largest landslide occurred here during the Paleogene period (around 65-23 million years ago) when more than 20 lava flows created a dried crust so thick that it crushed the Jurassic (around 200-145 million years ago) rock below, shearing off a huge section of the landscape about two kilometres wide and 30 kilometres long. The 50-metre-high Old Man is one of the remnants of this landslip; FAR LEFT: a patchwork of crustose lichen covers the surface of some sandstone boulders in Assynt, a parish in Scotland's far northwest. …

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