Jim Richardson@jimrichardsonng

National Geographic Photographer | Covering environment, agriculture, exploring Scotland | Co-founder @EyesOn.Earth | Writer | Speaker | Nonconformist


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Jim Richardson

Looking out from my perch on the Shiant Isles, across the calm Minch cluttered with seabirds and the air crowded with traffic. And yet there should be more, were more in the past, perhaps will be again. A special place to consider how we can partner with nature to enrich the world. @adam.nicolson @natgeo @natgeoimagecollection #scotland #hebrides #seabirds


Jim Richardson

The puffins were most friendly when I visited the Shiant Isles several years ago. But seabirds we’re having a tough go because black rats attacked their nests. Now my friend Adam Nicolson (whose family owns these tiny islands) reports that the rat eradication program is starting to pay off. To great celebration Storm Petrels are breeding here again. Land birds doing better, too, like skylarks, wrens and rock pipits all thriving and numbers climbing. Great to share good news coming from these Scottish islands. For better understanding of Atlantic seabirds don’t miss Adam’s book The Seabird’s Cry. @adam.nicolson @rspb_love_nature @natgeo @natgeoimagecollection #scotland #hebrides #puffins


Jim Richardson

Callanish on the Summer Solstice. Over twenty years ago I came to the stone circle on the Isle of Lewis to wait for sunrise. I shared it with others, each seeking something in their lives in a place that had been drawing people for 5,000 years. It was both powerful and very personal. @natgeotravel @natgeo @natgeoimagecollection #scotland #hebrides #solstice


Jim Richardson

Callanish on a summer night is never truly dark. This far north on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland the dusk just slides from the west around north and then into a long dawning in the northeast. To be alone with the stones that night was, well, magical — like all ancient religions are somehow magical. My photographer self had plenty of time to play with flashes (and flashlights) seeking images to match the experience. But I also had moments of sitting and wondering. Surely someone 5,000 years ago had sat and wondered in this exact same place. The stones still have that power. @natgeo @natgeoimagecollection @natgeotravel #scotland #hebrides @hiddenscotland #neolithic #ruins


Jim Richardson

More visitors to Small World Gallery tell me they are planning trips to the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, which I heartily endorse. The Wild West coast of Lewis, such as the beaches at Mangersta, is just stunning. The main barrier is the added ferry trip, but that’s part of the allure for me, and added bragging rights for any traveler. Besides all that just poking around in island little communities (like Valtos) gets you close to the Scotland of old. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection #scotland @hiddenscotland #hebrides #island


Jim Richardson

Any traveler going to the Isle of Lewis will almost certainly include Callanish on the trip list, 5,000 year old standing stones with real character. I spent the night there once and can say that the coming of the dawn was a sublime experience, alone in the silence of the night, until the first bird announced the coming light in the northeast. By the time I took this picture the dawn was overpowering my small flashlight and I could only light the tip of the tallest stone. @natgeotravel @natgeo @visitscotland @hiddenscotland #hebrides #scotland #island


Jim Richardson

Another of David Stevenson’s lighthouses graces the ancient cliffs at the Butt of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. This one is unusual because it was built of red brick and left unpainted. Conversation this morning at Small World Gallery was centered on Lewis and Harris because visitors told us their parents were researching a trip there. I urged them to see the Callanish Stones and maybe try to get out to St. Kilda (tough but worth it.) And I urged them to find Peter Irvine’s excellent guidebook, Scotland, the Best. We carry my fine art prints, cards and posters at Small World Gallery. You can get there from my profile page link. @natgeo @natgeotravel @hiddenscotland #hebrides #scotland #island #lighthouse


Jim Richardson

Fulmers drift along the cliffs of Noup Head on Westray, where the North Atlantic winds are finally forced into updrafts. Those same winds made these rocky shores perilous to sailing ships, hence the lighthouse. If you are looking at a pretty lighthouse on the west coast of Scotland it surely was built by the Stevenson family, this one by David Alan Stevenson who also built Neist Point on Skye and Skroo in Fair Isle, all pretty. You know his cousin Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped and the rest. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection #scotland #orkney #lighthouse #seabird


Jim Richardson

Sanday in Orkney is just one of those islands where the North Sea cannot seem to leave well enough alone. Stove Bay is carving its way inland and will, in a few centuries, succeed in creating a new island, which will become the Calf of Sanday. You can see something similar in the background where the Calf of Eday snuggles close to Eday. And so it goes in Orkney, Scotland. @natgeotravel @natgeo @natgeoimagecollection #orkney #scotland @visitorkney @visitscotland


Jim Richardson

Looking down on Pierowall, the main village on the Orkney island of Westray, you are right to notice that the folk here are (and always have been) adaptable. The North Sea is the main actor in these dune-built islands and can’t be denied when it gets the urge to cut an island in half or build another one someplace else. Papa Westray (just visible in the upper right) was connected to Westray when farmers were building the Knap of Howar around 3800 BC. You could walk over there. Today you take the pedestrian ferry over to Papay (local’s jargon) or the Orkney airline, the world’s shortest scheduled flight: record time 53 seconds. (There’s a travel trophy for you.) @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection @visitorkney @visitscotland #orkney #scotland @hiddenscotland


Jim Richardson

Circling the Broch of Gurness in a small plane flying over Orkney it was easy to see that a whole lot of history had happened here. And with the sea encroaching from the nearby shore the story isn’t over yet. The central tower (broch) was some 30 feet high when built, probably around 200 BC, by an itinerant band of broch-builders plying their business up and down Eynhallow Sound. Soon enough this local “big man” was attracting followers eager to favor his protection by building their houses in the shadow of his. Hardly isolated (Roman amphora were found here) this might have been home to the Orkney King who submitted to Emperor Claudius in 43 AD. Looking down it was also easy for me to see that the North Sea eats at islands relentlessly and that the Broch sorely needs the protection of its sea wall, a modern addition. I love the way Orkney tells its story so freely. @natgeotravel @natgeo @natgeoexpeditions #orkney #scotland @visitorkney @orkneyjar_sigurd #ruins #history


Jim Richardson

Rain storms were sweeping across the sound from Westray that evening, all wind and fury over a peaceful place. Six thousand years ago farmers here in Orkney were building this house on Papa Westray, long before the sea crept so close, about the same time that Uruk in Mesopotamia was rising to power as one of the world’s first cities. This humble house, the Knap of Howar, is thus not some remote insignificant artifact in the North Sea but central to the human story that flourished after the retreat of the ice age — that’s our story. Many of these sites are now threatened by the rising seas that will become common in coming decades. When the rain arrived and beat down on us we sheltered in the tunnel that connects the two houses. Incredible experience. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @visitorkney @historicscotland #scotland @orkneyjar_sigurd #orkney @hiddenscotland