Jim Richardson@jimrichardsonng

NatGeo Photographer | Environment, agriculture, exploring Scotland | Co-founder @EyesOn_Earth | Writer | Speaker | Nonconformist


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Jim Richardson

Mists stalk the Moors of Scotland, swift and silent, like a visible breeze always moving. This morning near Durness, in Sutherland, they seemed to be in a rush, as if they had an appointment in Cape Wrath and no time to waste. The Highland Clearances took their toll long ago, emptying the land of its people. The women of Ceannabeinne township fought back, running off the sheriff with his eviction notices — twice. But today it is sparse and travelers on the Northcoast 500 may never ken the drama of this place. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection #scotland #northcoast500 #highlands #hiddenscotland #sutherland


Jim Richardson

Small dramas can reward driving the backroads of Scotland. One took me to Valtos on the west coast of Lewis where crofter Johnnie Buchanan was hauling sheep over to nearby Pabay for summer grazing. One lamb took exception to the planned voyage and made a break for it off the bow of Johnnie’s 150 year old boat. Johnnie was startled but fished the lamb out soon enough, drenched but unharmed. If you go look for the road sign in Gaelic to read Bhaltos. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection #scotland #hebrides #island @hiddenscotland


Jim Richardson

The Wee Mad Road wanders its way across the mountains of Sutherland, toward Clachtoll on the Scottish coast. Given the traffic load the one lane is enough, supplemented by passing places every hundred yards or so. Good manners are required when you meet someone coming the other way — along with the ability to back up to the last passing place. (Wave and smile and be on your way.) Look out for sheep. Honk at the blind corners. Some fun. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection #scotland #roadtrip #sheep #driving #wanderlust #remote


Jim Richardson

After a summer of grazing on the the little Scottish island of Ensay it was time for the cattle to make a trip back to the Isle of Harris — by barge. Farmers graze sheep on the islands around the coast of Scotland, too, and it is always a community event to bring them in, neighbor helping neighbor. This has been going on for a very long time, evidenced by the fact that the name Ensay comes from Old Norse for Ewe Island. It was a rare treat to get to go along that day. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection #scotland #hebrides #island


Jim Richardson

Sunrise found me waiting for this brilliant light to fall over in Rodel on the Isle of Harris. This is petty much all of Rodel today but back in the fifteenth century the Chiefs of the MacLeods were spreading their influence across the islands from their seat at Dunvegan Castle on Skye and this church was built for them. Far back on the horizon you can see North Uist, another island worth exploring. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection #scotland #hebrides @hiddenscotland #sunrise #church #island #landscapephotography


Jim Richardson

As we begin a new year I want to thank you all for being here and sharing the great exploration that is life. Your comments this past year have fortified me and guided me. Here are a few of your favorites from Scotland. For those of you who have been, those of you who hope to go, and those of you who travel vicariously please know that we have shared much — and will share more. Happy New Year. Your friend, Jim Richardson.


Jim Richardson

Heather spread across the glen at Mar Lodge Estate, carpeting the hills in purple. It was glorious to see, not just because the shafts of sunlight were spotlighting the beauty of the Cairngorms, but also because we (Paul Tomkins was assisting me on this Scottish Moors story) had been looking for it for a week across Scotland — and here it was. I was in a delirious panic to capture the light that fleeted, quick like a fox down towards Braemar. Landscapes in Scotland do not hold still for you, but dare you to see them in their moment. If you find yourself near any of the National Geographic Fine Art galleries you can see gorgeous prints of it. Follow them @natgeofineart for more. #scotland #cairngorms #heather #mountains #sunrise @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection @natgeo


Jim Richardson

The Hairy Loch on the Isle of Skye has an actual name: Loch Cill Chriosd. It’s always beautiful but especially so on this morning with the mists rising. I could see why legends abound here, that St. Columba (from Iona) chased an evil spirit from the Loch in 570 AD, or that another in the form of a water horse (a Kelpie?) remained and would lure young women only to drown them. Whatever, I found a scene of tranquility and grace. Visitors to the National Geographic Fine Art Galleries seem to agree with me, I’m glad to say. (NGFA represents this image.) Scottish landscapes are so rich in lore, so layered with meaning. @natgeofineart @natgeo @natgeotravel #scotland #skye #island


Jim Richardson

Drive west from Broadford on the Isle of Skye, drive past the Hairy Loch, drive around the looping road that hugs the Glens, drive to the end, to Elgol where you will be rewarded with the view over to the Cuillins, that gather themselves in a horseshoe arc, like the redoubt of an island warrior clan. From here the Bella Jane offers rides, past the seals basking on rocks (Selkies? Be cautious!) over into the heart of Loch Coruisk. Wild, it is. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection #scotland #skye #island @hiddenscotland #hebrides


Jim Richardson

The solstice today brings back memories of a night at Stonehenge several years ago, and the great longing that grew as the night gave way to morning, all of us anticipating the first rays of sunlight on the Summer solstice. I shared a few moments that morning with a couple who gifted me with their radiance. I thank them for that time together, wherever they may be. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection #solstice #stonehenge


Jim Richardson

Poking around the Small Isles of Scotland is a kind of therapy, where there are places that will assure you that they are wild — and mean to stay so. The Isle of Muck is a tenuous place for people to try to make a living, blessedly indifferent to human comfort. If you go expect (no, demand) rain. @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeoimagecollection #scotland #hebrides #hiddenscotland


Jim Richardson

If you ever wonder where Lagavulin gets its intense sea-born flavor and and why it smells like musty sea weed on the shore at low tide then look closely at where the warehouses sit, close by the bay on the south shores Islay, washed by storm tides in the winter, the whisky aging patiently for years and decades, taking on the character of this place as naturally as rain falls from clouds. You can’t make it anywhere else except there. Down the road a mile you can make Ardbeg, but not Lagavulin. #scotland #islay @natgeoimagecollection @natgeo @natgeotravel #whisky @hiddenscotland