4 locations in 4 hours, across a 14 mile mini tour, around the area next to Fort William

A large wooden Shipwreck, beached on the shores of Loch Linnhe at Corpach. A Pepper Pot Lighthouse at Gairlochy, with fantastic views down the Great Glen of Scotland. A rarely photographed view, of the Nevis Range across Loch Lochy. Then to finish it all off, a beautiful roadside view, of the double drop Eas Chia-Aig waterfall, that according to ancient legend, is said to be haunted by a witch

Most if not all landscape photographers visiting Scotland, usually make a bee-line straight to all the well known 'Honey Pot' locations, with Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe being very high up on that list. To then continue travelling further North, to what is probably the most popular location of all, the Isle of Skye and the North West of Scotland. So if these locations are on your list, then at some point, you are probably going to find yourself driving through the town of Fort William, to stock up on supplies and fill up your tanks etc.

But instead of just heading North out of Fort William as quickly as you can, you might be surprised to learn, that there are quite a few other locations hidden around this area, that are definitely worth looking at and that you may not even be aware of. But which are certainly worth a visit with your camera and an hour of two of your time. And who knows, these 'extra' unplanned photo locations, might just be the ones that provide you, with some of your best portfolio grade image opportunities, over and above all the other ones you are hoping to capture, around the Isle of Skye and the North West of Scotland.

Setting the scene: Corpach is a small village just to the north of Fort William, that sits beside the Caledonian Canal, as it flows along the edge of Loch Linnhe. The name Corpach (or A' Chorpaich in Scottish Gaelic and which translates directly into English as "The Field of Corpses"), is thought to be the name that was given to this location, in reference to the many killings that took place here and that finally culminated, in the bloody battle of Corpach.

There was a time, when the killings, murder and evil doing in this region, became so prevalent and continuous, that Donald Dubh, who was the current Chief of the local Clan Cameron and who's family had ruled peacefully in this area for hundreds of years. Was finally forced to escape over to Ireland, just to avoid becoming the next victim. But which then led to this entire region, descending into chaos. That is until one day, when a new and yet more malevolent force moved into the area, to fill the vacuum that the lack of Clan leadership had created and which was led by a fearsome brute of a man, called Hector Bui Mclean. Who it is said, began to infest the area, with his large and uncontrollable gang of cut throats. Who as soon as he arrived on the scene, had his band of evil doers, track down any remaining members of the Clan Cameron family who still lived in the area, young, old or infirm. To then have them dragged out of their homes and murdered in front of their families one by one. Until every known Cameron in the area had been killed.

But Donald Dubh the Chief of Clan Cameron, heard what was happening back home and realised, that he would have to do something to stop the slaughter and so returned from his exile in Ireland, to rally his kinsfolk from across the rest of Scotland and gather them together into a formidable army. Donald's army then swept back into the area and after a short but bloody battle, his men began to round up every one of Hector Bui's Mclean's large band of cut throats, including Hector himself. Donald then had them all publicly hung in front of Hector Bui Mclean, including both of Hectors own sons. With all of their bodies, then being dumped unceremoniously into a pile. Before Donald personally took charge of the hanging process, so he could hang Hector Bui Mclean himself and have his corpse, thrown on top of the pile.

The large pile of corpses, were then left to rot in a field next to this beach and to act as a warning, to anyone else who thought they could ignore the rule of law, or attempt to forcibly take over this area, or to oust the Clan Cameron from their lands.

How to get there: From Fort William, drive North out of the town along the A82, until you arrive at a roundabout (not the tiny one leading up to Glen Nevis, but the next one just after to the left) and take the left turn to the Glenfinnan Monument (15 miles) along the A830, Street View, Map View.

Then carry on driving along the A830 for three more miles, until you reach a left hand turn off from the A830, heading towards the Corpach train station and the Caledonian Canal parking area, Street View, Map View. So turn left here and drive down the road towards the station (there are public toilets on your left in the community hall by the way, should you need them). Until just after crossing over the railway lines, you then arrive at the large parking area next to the Caledonian Canal, Street View, Map View.

So park wherever you can and grab your gear (your wide angle and mid range zoom) and set off walking, towards the Caledonian Canal, now directly in front of you.

Then as you reach the canal, walk across one of the several canal lock bridges you will see in front of you, to get onto a path that then leads up to your left, on the opposite side of the canal and that follows along the side of Loch Eil.

Then a couple of hundred yards further up the path, you will come to another path, that cuts through the straggly trees next to the loch on your right, just before a small bridge that goes over the canal overflow area. So take this path through the trees and then walk down to the pebbly beach.

You will now see the wooden wreck of the Golden Harvest to your left and just beyond the outflow from the canal, as shown in SHOT3 to the right. Now even though this is the first shot of the wreck that I took on this day, I did not choose to put it at the top of the page, because I don't think it is a good enough shot, to be the first view of the wreck that I wanted to show you. Because to be honest, this view of the wreck from this particular viewpoint, is not (in my humble opinion) the best vantage point from which to shoot it. As the trees immediately to the left of the canal overflow, look very straggly and not very pretty to me and the pebbled beach in the near foreground, has lots of thick, ugly wire netting running through it. So the shot on the right, is more of a record shot to show you the scene when you arrive here, rather than something I would ever want to hang on my wall. But who knows, you might get something better from this viewpoint.

Although I did go back a few weeks later, to shoot the old wreck from this very same viewpoint, using my 70/200. But alas, still to no avail.

However, this viewpoint it is certainly worth a look and who knows, in spring, summer or autumn, when the leaves are out and colourful. Then this might indeed be the best viewpoint to shoot the wreck. But for me, on this day, at the back end of winter, not so much.

So having now taken your shots of the wreck, of the decaying hull of the ‘Golden Harvest’ from this first viewpoint. If you now retrace your steps back up the path through the trees and onto the main path and turn right, to then walk across the small bridge that crosses over the canal overflow to your right. You will quickly come to another small path, that leads through the trees once again and then down to the beach. And which will then allow you, to get up close to the wreck, as shown in SHOTS 1 and 2 above.

So working my way in towards the wreck and shooting it from every angle I could think of, as I moved in closer with each shot. I finally realised, that the best view I could get of it (again in my humble opinion), was not by using my medium 24-105mm zoom, as I was using for SHOTS 1 and 3. But to get in as close as I could and shoot it wide, with my 16-35mm, which I did for SHOT 2 - see the Tip at the bottom of this page.

Now you may think differently of course and prefer to shoot it using a long lens, to compress in all the detail behind the wreck. As well as to increase the apparent height of the Nevis mountain range, by pulling the peaks forward into the scene. Which I agree would look really good, on a crystal clear day with Ben Nevis, covered in fresh snow in the background.

But alas the scene wasn't giving me anything like that when I was there and the sky was mainly dominated by a series of low, fast moving clouds and flat light. With the occasional bit if sun breaking through, surrounded by the odd patch of blue sky. So sucking it up and working with what I was being given, I just carried on and did my best. And after all, isn't that what landscape photography is all about? Trying to make sweet tasting lemonade, when all you are being given is lemons?

I then moved passed the shipwreck and around to the front of it, to shoot it from what I thought would be a fairly unique angle. That I don't think most landscape photographers visiting this scene, would normally think to shoot it from. You see this way, shooting the wreck from the front, means you don't get the mountains, or anything else of any interest in the background. Yet this image shown here in SHOT 4, turned out to be the only one from this location, that I would quite happily have hanging on my wall - yes I know, landscape photography is a funny old game isn't it?

If you think this image on the left reminds you of anything, or a style of work that you might have seen before? Then go onto Google and search for the work of 'Frank Meadow Suttcliffe', where you will instantly recognise where I got the influence, that helped me to create this image.

So moving on to the next location and the tiny, picturesque Pepper Pot Lighthouse at Gairlochy and the view down the Great Glen of Scotland. As shown in SHOT 5 below.

From Corpach and the shipwreck of the Golden Harvest, drive back up out of the car park and rejoin the A830 by turning right, as if you were heading back towards Fort William. But then, shortly after entering the tiny village of Banavie, you will see a turn on your left, signposted for the B8004 road and Gairlochy 6 miles further on. Take this left turn, Street View, Map View. Then continue on this small single width B8004 road for four more miles, until you reach a fork in the road, with the B8004 continuing on down to your right and the B8005 heading to your left, take to the right fork and continue on down the B8004, Street View, Map View.

Having then driven over the Gairlochy swing bridge, you will see a left turn into a canal side parking area (if the gate is open), Street View, Map View. If the gate is not open, then you will find there is plenty of space to park your vehicle, at the side of the road on your right, a little further on around the bend to your right. But you will need to tuck your vehicle in as close to the side edge of the road as you can, so as not to obstruct passing vehicles - you will see where other people have parked in the same way before you.

Then once out of your vehicle, walk through the gate to the right side of the main gate and then follow the path all the way along the right side of the canal for around half a mile, until you reach the mouth of the Loch Lochy estuary, the Pepper Pot Lighthouse and a view straight down the centre, of the Great Glen of Scotland.

And you know what? Even if you don't get any decent shots from this second location shown above. Just sitting on that bench, to the right side of the Pepper Pot Lighthouse, with your partner, a flask of tea and a sandwich. Is still very much worth taking the time to do and is as enjoyable and romantic a picnic location, you are ever likely to find.

And best of all, not many other people know about it.

There are in fact three Pepper Pot Lighthouse situated along the Caledonian Canal. The one shown above at Gairlochy, another one at Corpach and also one at Fort Augusta.

These tiny lighthouses are also known to be, the smallest ever built in the UK. Yet oddly enough, though they were only in the early 1900's, no one really knows much about them, or what their purpose was. Other than they were built, at the same time the canal was constructed. But it is known, they were used to guide American mine laying ships, up and down the canal during world war one and then again during world war two.

The view of the Pepper Pot Lighthouse shown in SHOT 5 above, was taken in 2024. Whereas the black and white version of the same scene, shown in SHOT 6 to the right, I took back in 2009. Where the only obvious difference, is that the paint on the lighthouse from 15 years ago, looks a lot more recent and fresh, than it does in the shot shown above. So if anyone from the Caledonian Canal authorities is reading this? Then I think it's about time you guys, gave these historically interesting and very photogenic miniature lighthouses, a fresh lick of paint. Don't you?

Then once having taken your shots of the lighthouse and the Great Glen view. Make your way back to your vehicle, then turn around and drive back up the B8004 the way you came in. But this time just after the bridge, hang a right at the junction with the B8005, Street View, Map View.

Continue on the B8005 for another mile or two, then over a flat bridge at Bunarkaig, that crosses over the river Arkaig, before continuing on for another three miles. Until you arrive at this very photogenic mountain view on your right, from right beside of the road, as shown below left in SHOT 7. Where you will now be looking over, a small and often reflective, side tributary to Loch Lochy, with Ben Nevis and the Nevis range off in the distance, Street View, Map View.

When we there in 2024, the fence along the edge of the road had been removed (or blown away in a storm perhaps?), even though it is still shown with a small standing fence, in the Google Street view map link above. And knowing how things more often than not seem to work here in Scotland, I very much doubt that the fence will ever be put back.

However, if the fence has indeed been rebuilt when you are here, then worry not, as there is a gate a little further up the hill to your left, that will allow you to get down to the side of the loch and to where I took this shot. But be aware, because it is very, very muddy down here next to the loch, especially after heavy rain. So if you do intend to grab your version of this shot, as shown to the left in SHOT 7. Then I would suggest that you put your wellies on first.

The image below is also of the Nevis Range from across Lochy, but taken using my 70/200 and from a little further up the road, to your right. There are lots of different angles of view you can shoot in this location from, especially on a calm day with reflections. So do scout around to see what you can find.

You may look at SHOT 8 below and think, hey Dave, that shot looks quite heavily processed and you would be right. Because it is the result of me just twiddling around in Photoshop, when I had nothing else better to do and trying out various filters and blend modes and then pushing sliders around etc. You know the type of thing that we all do, when we have some spare time on the computer and an image that just isn't jumping off the screen, in a way that we would like it to? So you start to throw all your post processing tricks at it, just to see if anything sticks.

So please don't ask me to explain what I did to SHOT 8, to get the effect that you now see below. As it really was just me 'twiddling' about and experimenting, to see what, if anything would appear. And other than turning it into a black and white, at the very end of the process. Everything else I did to it, is a blur (no pun intended).

So now moving on to our fourth and final destination, in this mini photographic tour, that takes us further around the area surrounding Fort William.

If you now get back in your vehicle and continue driving down the B8005 in the same direction, for a few more miles. You will eventually come to the "Witch's Cauldron Waterfall" on your right. But before you get there, you will first drive along a narrow, steep sided glen. Where you will see, that the old stone walls on either side of the road, are completely covered by a thick, bright green mossy growth. Now when we drove through here, I was so focused on getting to the waterfall, that I made the fatal mistake of thinking, Hmm this is worth a shot, but I am in a hurry, so I will grab it on the way back. Which I then didn't get chance to do, because by the time we returned, the rain had started to come down in stair rods - that is an old Yorkshire term by the way, for describing really heavy rain and means the same as the term "raining cats and dogs".

So even though I haven't got any pictures to show you of this bright green, moss covered, steep sided little glen, I am advising you not to do the same as me and miss it. As this scene could look amazing, with lots of mist swirling around in the atmosphere. So late autumn or early winter, is probably going to be the best time to shoot down here.

So continue driving along the B8005 a little further from the moss covered glen, until you reach the Witch's Cauldron and the Eas Chia-Aig river waterfall parking area, Street View, Map View. If you are lucky and not many people are there, then you should be able to park right next to the falls, in a small lay by area right next to the bridge and which is big enough for a couple of vehicles. But if it is busy and there is no space available there, then you can always park in the large official car park, just before you reach the falls.

The view shown on the right in SHOT 9, shows the falls in its normal mid level flow. But on our second visit to this area a few weeks later, after several days of heavy rain. The flow was much more substantial, as can be seen in SHOT 10 below.

So my tip for getting the best shots of the Witch's Caldron and the Eas Chia-Aig river waterfall, is to try to be here after several days of heavy rain if you can. And as we are talking about Scotland, then that is pretty much most times of the year.

So having now parked your vehicle, walk over to the bridge and set up your tripod about a third of the way onto it from your right. This way you will have a good wide view of the falls, while at the same time, avoiding most of the clutter of tree branches that surround it and that will try their damndest, to creep into the edges of your shot.

In SHOT 9, I went for my preferred shutter speed of 1/5th (or 1/8th) of a second, that I like to use if I can, because I think it makes moving water look at its most painterly. But on our second visit to the Witch's Cauldron and with much more water flowing over the falls. I decided to go for a 30 second exposure, using my 10 stop ND, because why not?

Now I know some photographers like long exposure moving water shots and some prefer them to be taken with much faster shutter speeds. So here you have both and which should hopefully satisfy both of these preferred styles of working.

The legend of the Eas Chia Aig Falls and why it is more commonly known as the "Witch's Cauldron", or the "Witch's Pool". Dates back many, many hundred of years, to when this area was still under the strict control of the men of the Clan Cameron. Who back in those days, were said to be one of the wealthiest clans in the land and where the wealth of a clan, was measured by the large number of cattle that they owned.

Then one day, a mysterious illness appeared in the cattle and began to sweep through the herd and kill them in large numbers. The clans folk were mystified, as there didn't seem to be anything wrong with the cattle, when they were checked. Yet the following day any number of them would be dead, but with no marks or an apparent cause.

Fear and panic began to run through the clan, as everything their status relied upon, as well as for most of their food supplies, quickly started to disappear. And so it didn't take them long to decide, that it must be the result of some sort of evil force at work, such as sorcery or witchcraft. Which must mean there was a vindictive "bana-bhuidseach" (meaning Witch Woman in Scottish Gaelic), who had moved into the area and was now casting spells trying to bring the clan down.

So the clan sent out several hunting parties, in an attempt to track down the bana-bhuidseach and kill her.

But then the situation became even more desperate, when the Chief of the clan fell ill, with what they thought was the same mysterious illness and how he was deteriorating quickly and obviously going to die, if they didn't do something quickly. So the entire clan and their supporters, were immediately mobilised. Young, old, male and female, to scour every nook and cranny across the area, hunting for the evil witch.

And of course they found her, because by this time with the entire clan, having now worked itself up into such a high pitched frenzy, meant that any older lady, who happened to be living in the area and not a member of the clan would do. But just before the baying, pitch fork carrying mob turned up at her house, she heard them crashing through the woods as they came for her and knew what was about to happen next, so managed to escape out of the back door. But she also knew, that the baying mob would soon track her down if she stayed on the path, so she ran into the river, hoping it would throw them off her scent. But still they kept coming and getting ever closer. Until finally, she arrived at the top of the Eas Chia-Aig falls, just as the mob burst out of the forest behind her and where she then threw herself down onto the rocks, before sliding lifelessly into falls and disappearing beneath its dark pool of water, never to be seen again.

Later there was a poem written about the "Caoineachag" (Gaelic for Weeper). Which describes how from that day forth, a loud, continuous, blood curdling wail of distress may be heard, by anyone venturing to near to the falls. Which would indicate there would soon be a death, or a catastrophe within the clan. And which it is said, that this blood curdling wail, was indeed heard by several members of the clan, on the night before the battle of Culloden and where most of the men of the Clan Cameron, were then wiped out.

You may have actually seen these falls before, as they were featured in the 1995 blockbuster movie about Rob Roy (staring Liam Neeson). To be used as the backdrop location, for one of Rob Roy's many fabled escapes from the Red Coats. By him leaping out from from the rocks and into the Witch's Cauldron, to then disappear under the water.

If when you are finished shooting the Witch's Cauldron waterfall and to get back onto your route, heading up towards the Isle of Skye and the North West of Scotland. If you retrace your steps back down the B8005 the way you came in, until you once again reach the turn off to the B8004, as it heads backs towards the Pepper Pot Lighthouse. Then turn left here to get back onto the B8004. Then continue on all the way to the end of this road and where you will then arrive at the very impressive Marine Monument and the main A82 road. So turn left here, to continue your drive further North.

Tip: How to use your wide angle lens more effectively.

I see lots of online landscape photographers and vloggers etc., informing their viewers, on what they think is the best use of their wide angle lenses. Which is to capture large, wide open vistas and especially receding waves on the beach and seascapes. And there is nothing wrong with that, as it is a great idea and a good use of your wide angle lens. But what they rarely seem to discuss, is how wide angle lenses can perhaps be even more useful and allow you to get in really close to your subject, but still keep it comfortably within the frame. Yet knowing this simple fact, means you can easily utilise this 'close in' effect to your advantage, to create even more dramatic views of a subject, that you would not normally be able to capture with any other lens. As shown in the two close up shots of the Corpach Shipwreck, in SHOTS 2 and 4 above.

So my tip to you is this: don't just think of your wide angle lens as a one trick pony, that is only any good for capturing all those super wide vistas, that seem to go on for ever and out to infinity. But think of it more as a close up lens, that will allow you to get in really tight to your subject, to make it look huge, detailed and dominant in the foreground. Yet still wide enough to capture enough of the background, to fully frame and balance out your subject within its surroundings.

Exif information for each of the numbered shots shown throughout this chapter

--1 - Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art, 1/100 sec (with 3 shot -/+2 stop bracket), f/16, ISO 100, Focal Length 24mm, taken on 14th Mar at 12:54

--2 - Canon EF16-35/2.8L USM, 4 Sec (with 3 stop ND), f/11, ISO 50, Focal Length 18mm, taken on 14th Mar at 13:09

--3 - Canon EF16-35/2.8L USM, 1/15 Sec, f/16, ISO 100, Focal Length 16mm, taken on 14th Mar at 11:55

--4 - Canon EF16-35/2.8L USM, 4 Sec (with 3 stop ND), f/16, ISO 50, Focal Length 16mm, taken on 14th Mar at 13:26

--5 - Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art, 1/100 Sec, f/13, ISO 200, Focal Length 24mm, taken on 14th Mar at 14:24

--6 - Canon EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, 1/200 Sec, f/16, ISO 400, Focal Length 28mm, taken on 5th Feb (2009) at 13:45

--7 - Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art, 1/200th Sec, f/11, ISO 320, Focal Length 24mm, taken on 14th Mar at 14:22

--8 - Canon EF70-200/2.8L IS USM, 1/250 Sec, f/8, ISO 100, Focal Length 200mm, taken on 11th Apr at 14:08

--9 - Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art, 1/5th Sec (with 3 stop ND), f/14, ISO 50, Focal Length 38mm, taken on 14th Mar at 15:01

--10 - Canon EF70-200/2.8L IS USM, 30 Sec (with 10 and 3 stop ND), f/13, ISO 100, Focal Length 70mm (4 shot vertically oriented pano), taken on 2nd Dec at 13:51

Please Note - when I refer to a "4 shot vertically oriented pano", as described immediately above in the Exif data shown for shot 10. I am describing how the camera body was rotated into a vertical orientation (portrait mode), but where the sweep of the pano was still from left to right horizontally.

If you have enjoyed reading these 'Extra' chapters to my Guide Book and think you might also enjoy reading 79 more chapters across 270 pages, that also includes more than 340 Fine Art quality images, along with detailed descriptions and large scale maps to guide you to the exact location of where I took each and every one of them and which then goes onto discuss the techniques and tools I used to process them, but where everything is written in plain easy to understand English? Then please consider buying the Book.