If you’re someone who liked spending all of your free time hiking, camping and experiencing the never-ending beauty of the great outdoors in your pre-coronavirus life, our national lockdown has likely been driving you even more crazy than it has those of us who just want to be able to go to the mall again. The UPROXX crew feels you. We miss taking picturesque hikes through our national parks too, or catching waves for a sunset surf. We’ll get to do all of those things again one day, possibly soon, but for now, it’s best to just enjoy nature’s beauty from afar.
Which is why we hit up documentary and lifestyle photographer Andrew Alexander for the latest entry in our Future Travel series. Alexander is a freelance photographer and part-time van lifer based in Scotland, with a keen eye for capturing the lush landscapes and rich colors of Scotland’s wild spaces. He knows Scotland well enough to lead small group tours for Hidden Scotland and his photography reveals vast landscapes and lonely vistas in a way that inspires wanderlust. Making him the perfect person to get us all hyped on a trip to be taken… someday soon(ish).
Let’s dive into the photos and journey through the stunning wilds of Scotland. All captions were written by Alexander.
When is the best time of year to plan a visit to Scotland?
Autumn is a special time to be there, in my opinion. The lush summer greens are replaced with orange, yellow, gold, and misty mellow mornings. Trees are ablaze with color and the golden sunlight illuminates the rust-colored landscape like no other.
What’s your favorite thing about Scotland?
There are so many things to love, but the varying landscapes take the number one spot for me. We have an abundance of rugged mountains, narrow glens, shimmering lochs and golden beaches. There’s just so much to see and do — it’s an incredible place to call home.
Where is the best place to catch a jaw-dropping sunset?
Without a doubt, the beautiful white sands of Camusdarach Beach near the villages of Arisaig and Mallaig in the West Highlands. With incredible views towards the mountainous Isle of Rum and the steep sea cliff of Eigg, it’s a beautiful place to watch the day come to an end.
Where is the ideal hiking spot in Scotland for great views?
One of my personal favorites is the iconic Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye. Not only is it easily accessible, but it also provides curious walkers with many panoramic viewpoints in almost every direction. It is without a doubt, one of Scotland’s most thought-provoking and mythical locations.
What is one thing everybody visiting Scotland should see?
I think that Glen Coe needs to be number one on anyone’s to-do list. It’s only around two and a half hours from Edinburgh and Glasgow, and it is also accessible by bus. I remember my first time traveling through the glen and I was blown away by how small and insignificant it made me feel. It’s a truly majestic landscape.
What small island is a must-see?
I’d recommend the Isle of Rum. It’s a short boat crossing from the village of Mallaig and you can only travel by foot or bicycle. Its wild, rugged, and home to the hardy Rum pony — an island type of the Highland Pony breed that has been present since the last ice age. It’s a little island that feels like a whole other world.
What kind of wildlife can you expect to come across in the wilds of Scotland?
More often than not, you will stumble across a herd of red deer and if you take time to look to the skies, you might be lucky enough to spot a golden eagle flying overhead. If you explore coastal areas you can expect to see grey seals, mink whale, and an array of birds including puffin — particularly at different times of the year. If the forest is more your thing, you could potentially meet red squirrels, pine martin or even the elusive wildcat.
If you had to suggest one meal to experience anywhere in Scotland, where do we need to go and why?
I think everyone needs to enjoy a fish supper from The Chippy in Portree, Isle of Skye. Find yourself a spot by the water’s edge, watch the boats come in and out of the harbor, and savor the flakiness of the fish mixed with fluffy chips, before washing it all down with an ice-cold can of Irn Bru.