The photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher recorded many industrial structures across the landscape of Northern Europe. They would organise these images into grids of typologies. One of the structure types they chose to record was water towers. While the Bechers did visit Scotland I do not believe they photographed the many water towers in Glasgow, at least I do not know of any published photographs.
These structures have an other-worldly feel to them. Alien spaceships is the obvious comparison. They have an attractiveness that many will not see, common with many of the brutalist structures built at the same time. They consist of bold shapes and strong lines which make them a pleasure to photograph.
I wanted to make my own small homage to the work of the Bechers by creating my own grid of water towers from Glasgow.
Finding all the water towers in Glasgow was a harder task than I expected. A number of them are very visible. By design they are placed at the highest points, above the area they are meant to serve. But still not all of them are obvious and easy to find. After scrapping old Internet forums I constructed a list of all the possible sites where there was a tower. These would commonly lead to dead ends, either mis-information or because the water tower had been demolished. Then when a tower was found, finding a clear view of the large structure, frequently surrounded by housing was the next challenge. Certain sites required multiple visits to get the desired image.
In the end this work is not an authoritative list of water towers in Glasgow, neither was it meant to be. I missed the one in plain sight as you walk through town, connected to the Lighthouse building. – Adam Fowler.
Robert Birtles is a landscape and documentary photographer living in Dundee, Scotland. This current body of work by him examines the relationship between the landscapes, culture and traditions of the highland and coastal communities of Scotland.
Robert is currently making photographs documenting the east-coast fishing port of Arbroath. The project explores the town’s romantic bond with the North Sea and the riches its shores provide. For centuries, these waves have carved the identity of this historic community, even reaching global recognition for its famed smoked fish, the “Arbroath Smokie”. The project aims to capture an intimate reflection of the town and the people who call Arbroath home. A selection of images from this series was featured at the “Contour 001” exhibition in Edinburgh earlier this year (Feb 2020).
Frances Scott is a photographer whose work Document Scotland have admired having enjoyed her book Undertow, published by Another Place Press, detailing her walks over the Orkney islands. A recently published ‘zine also by by the same publisher features a previous body of work, the A9 project, documenting Frances’ journeys between the Scottish Borders and the Orkney islands. Sophie met with Frances over zoom recently and took the opportunity to talk to her in more depth about these projects.
Some of our conversation is here, in Frances’ answers below, but to hear more and listen to Frances talk in detail about the work, please head over to our Patreon site where you can watch the video and learn more.
DS: When did you become a photographer – what was your early career and education and how did you get started?
FS: I studied Communication Design at Glasgow School of Art from 2010-14. The first two years of the course were broad (a mixture of illustration, graphic design and photography). In third year, after some difficulty choosing, I specialised in photography, and made the worthwhile discovery that by narrowing your area of study, you can deepen your focus, and get considerably more from it.
After graduating in 2014 I moved back to Orkney and struggled to get a job in the field I’d studied. I ended up working as cabin crew for Loganair, working solo on the lifeline flights which service Scotland’s islands. This meant I got to leave Orkney almost every day, and so I never really suffered from the ‘cabin fever’ you can get living on an island. Meanwhile, in 2016 I grouped together with a number of recent art graduates based in Orkney to form the Móti Collective, and after a bit of a hiatus began making artwork again. Our aim was to unite early career artists and designers who were either based in or returning to the islands, and celebrate Orkney’s importance as a creative hub in the north.
In early 2017 I got a job working as a photography technician at the GSA, and while I’m keen to assert the importance of not having an entirely city-centric creative practice there have been undeniable benefits to my career from being based in the Central Belt. At the same time, I miss Orkney very much, and maintain my links with my home – it has continued as the focus of much of my work, and I’m still a member of the Móti Collective, albeit a long-distance one.
DS: You started making Undertow in 2016, going for walks – it’s something many can relate to at the moment, how did those walks turn into a project?
FS: I began walking the coastline of the Orkney mainland in the spring of 2016, driven by the desire to know Orkney better, and primarily as a walking project rather than a photographic one. I wanted to really understand my home – to see how all the familiar places linked up, and to make my own claim on the island by walking it.
After four years of art school, experiencing life behind a lens, I wanted to be free from the need to document everything. It was important to be free to walk without interruption, to be fully present. The process of walking opened Orkney up to me – it made me see more, look harder, and remember better. Orkney grew, and keeps on growing.
When I started I didn’t have the funds nor the facilities to make analogue photographs, so I left my ‘real’ camera at home. I did however use an iPhone to gather ‘photosketches’ – quick, non-intrusive image gathering. I also recorded the walks using GPS and handwritten notes on maps. Over time, two things catalysed this project into artwork: taking part in a series of exhibitions as part of the Móti Collective from late 2016-18, and a research residency supported by Stills: Centre for Photography in 2018.
Having completed the coastline of the Orkney mainland in summer 2018, the Stills residency led me on to the coastlines of the North Isles: North Ronaldsay, Papay and Rousay. On these new walks around islands where I’ve never lived, I brought my Mamiya 645, loaded with black and white film. Initially, finding a balance between photographing and walking was a struggle. I felt the pressure of an audience for whom I had to create images, the weight of the camera on my hip; I was no longeralone on these walks. But working in this way has been vital in sharing and communicating my experience, and the images are also of value to me, so I am adapting.
Some of these film photographs were exhibited in 2019 at Stills in the group show AMBIT: Photographies from Scotland, and this year work from the series was published as a photobook entitled ‘Undertow’ by the Another Place Press, an independent publisher based in the Scottish Highlands. I’ve become accustomed to the rhythm of these walks as part of my life and my creative work, and I feel the loss of them just now during the pandemic when I can’t travel home.
DS: Writing is clearly a very important part of your practise, does that come first? And the images later – how does this process work for you and why is it important to include both in your projects?
FS: Even as images have taken more of a ‘leading role’ within my coastline project, the writing always happens first. After each walk I record my experiences on an OS Map, long before I process my film and see the photographic results of the walk.
Writing helps preserve the memory of each walk for me, and also to share the experience with others. It patches the gaps that photographs can’t, and thereby relieves some pressure on me – I might witness something too fleeting or dark to capture with a camera, but because I can record it in writing instead, it’s okay that I’ve only seen it with my eyes. Afterwards, writing allows visual or other sensory experiences to bloom naturally in the mind of the reader, and there is a roominess or fluidity in it that is perhaps not shared by the fixed and unbending nature of photographs.
I think the way I approach writing helps. It’s just ‘notes’ – notes on a map, or in a sketchbook, or on a scrap of paper. If these notes have anything of value in them, I can use or adapt them later. If I thought of it as proper ‘writing’ which might be published or exhibited from the beginning, I’d probably find myself intimidated and unable to get things down on paper.
DS: What was it like making this project into a book? It’s a beautiful object, how did the design and publishing process come together?
FS: It was daunting turning what had become a huge focus of my life into a book: how could I communicate my whole experience in book form? To alleviate some of the pressure of this, I choose to see the work I make about the project as creative ‘branches’ which grow from the experience, while the walks at their core remain mine, and separate from any artwork made about them.
I chose to only use the black and white film photographs in the book, as the iPhone photos wouldn’t sit well alongside them – they speak a different language. But without this sense of colour, something about the experience was left out – and so the book is accompanied by an insert which contains written notes from the Mainland and Rousay, small note-poems which try to convey the feeling of each walk through words. Also included in the book were maproutes
and handwritten maps of two of the North Isles.
Normally when laying out a photobook the images themselves lead the way, but I also had chronology to contend with: I wanted the reader to encounter each place in the same order I had. This created some complications in repetition and flow but over time these issues were smoothed out, until both Iain Sarjeant and I were happy with the layout. I chose a muted pink for the colour of the insert – this ‘glow’ is something I had associated with the walks in the form of sea-pinks, or the setting sun glancing off waves, or in the fiery clouds above, and I wanted some of this warmth to counter the greyscale images. The cover is simple, just a line that I walked (in this case part of the Deerness peninsula). It brings the project back to its roots – the brink between land and sea.
DS: When did the A9 project come about? It’s a fascinating document of a journey between two very important places in your life – why choose the road – is journey important to you?
FS: During my two years as a photo specialist at GSA, my tutor Andy Stark said ‘Your work is about journeys’. I’m interested in the way we store feelings or memories in the land, and how travelling through a landscape can help you process your thoughts in time with the landscape. I came across a piece of writing by Rosemary Sullivan a number of years ago that said ‘The landscape of childhood provides the foundation layer of our psyche’. I like to look at the way these formative landscapes become part of our fundamental understanding of the world. My childhood was spent split between the north and south – my original home of Orkney, where my dad lived; Caithness, where my mum’s parents lived; and my temporary home of Hawick in the Scottish Borders with my mum. My internal landscape has always contained an awareness of and a yearning for ‘somewhere else’.
I made the A9 series in 2014 at the tail end of my final year of art school. The project comes from my childhood living alone with my mum, and the many times she drove us northwards to see my family. It’s about the safety of the backseat, an only child with a car window for company. It’s also about leaving home, and the journey south to the city. The road links two halves of myself – a north/south, mum/dad, island/city, childhood/adulthood binary.
DS: Does this work include writing in such an important way too – or is it more image focused.
FS: Small paragraphs of writing are interspersed throughout the photozine. I use these to tell the story of the three days spent driving and photographing the road in 2014. I think I would have found it too difficult to pinpoint in writing exactly what the A9 holds for me, so it was better to focus on this one particular journey, which was the very first time I had driven the whole road alone. The writing hovers over the surface of a deeper sense of nostalgia associated with the A9. Because I was a relatively young woman, putting myself outside of the normal rules of travelling, I had a number of strange encounters over the course of the journey – including being stopped by the police and confronted by a gamekeeper, both while walking alone with my camera. Without including it in writing, this perspective would be lost. These written interludes invite the viewer to share this solitary journey with me.
DS: You’re working with Another Place Press again, tell us more about that relationship.
FS: Iain Sarjeant has been a supportive figure in the industry for a number of years now – I was encouraged back in 2015 when he featured some of my degree work on his online platform ‘Another Place Magazine’. At the time, I remember discovering his ‘Out of the Ordinary’ series and being fascinated by his images of Orkney, Caithness, Aberdeen – I was delighted to see the care and attention he gave to these places which had often felt snubbed or overlooked during my time as a student in Glasgow. Since then, Iain has kept an eye on my work on social media, and in late 2018 he approached me to ask if I might like to turn my coastline project into a book with Another Place Press. We’ve met in person a few times, but most of our planning/design correspondence takes place over email, a very democratic and open exchange of PDFs and ideas. Iain grew up in the Highlands, and understands the motivation behind my projects – I don’t have to explain why the places in my work are important to me, as they are often significant to him too.
DS: What’s next for you?
FS: I’ll be continuing my project to walk the coastlines of Orkney, since there’s a lot of coastline left. I’m going to keep making work about it, so perhaps there will be a sequel to Undertow in the coming years. The Covid-19 restrictions have unfortunately disrupted that project (I live in Glasgow and can’t travel to Orkney at the moment), so I’m having to be patient for now. In the meantime, I’ll be showing some work in an exhibition this month with the Móti Collective in Orkney, and I’m currently setting up a studio space in my flat.
DS: Thanks so much Frances, it was great to chat with you and hear more about these projects.
The Shetland Islands geographical positioning as the UK’s furthest northerly landmass, has over the last 100 years, made it a key strategic observation point for the Military to defend the UK from foreign activity.
During WW1 and WW2 there were many observational posts across Shetland that were used to defend key areas of the Island to stop invasion and inform the mainland of any imminent attack.
During the Cold War strategic observational posts and communication systems were set up on Shetland, observing through Radar any activity in the North including that of the Russians. This included a Remote Radar Station at Saxa Vord and NATO’s ACE High communications system, allowing long-range communications between NATO’s high command across the rest of Europe.
At Saxa Vord on Unst the Remote Radar station closed in 2006 but as of July 2019 has recently been reinstated to full capacity to monitor the Russian threat once again.
For this project I visited these key Military sites and became interested in the Geography, Topography and history of the landscape. To slow myself down and pick up as much detail as possible I photographed most of the work on a 5×4 large format film camera. This felt important as it meant I spent many hours at each site observing the constantly changing weather conditions and was able to appreciate the desolate nature of the landscape.
The work was made in collaboration with the MAP6 collective, each photographer choosing a different theme to document around the Shetland Islands. The work was then exhibited at the Brighton Photo Fringe in 2018.
Richard Chivers is a documentary photographer based in Brighton, England. His work broadly looks at the British landscape and how it is shaped and re-shaped over time. Examining rural, industrial and urban spaces through history, geography and social themes that convey the complex nature of the landscape we inhabit.
His work has been exhibited across the UK and Internationally including the Brighton Photo Fringe, Format International Photography Festival, Arles, the MK Gallery, Anise Gallery and various other places.
He is a member of the MAP6 Collective whose work is currently on show at the Brighton Photo Fringe 2020.
Drawn To The Landis an ongoing and exploratory project which takes an intimate look at the contemporary Scottish landscape through the eyes of the women who are working, forming and shaping it.
Working and living in a male dominated world, women have a significant yet under represented role to play in farming in Scotland. Farming some of the most inhospitable and isolated rural areas of Scotland, these female farmers have an intense and remarkable relationship with the harsh landscape in which they live and work.
Sophie’s project, begun in 2012, explores the domestic landscape as well as the physical, following the emotional story of the land as much as the historical and geographical. The women’s’ personal and physical stories reflect a wider story of our national identity, and emotional relationship with the landscape.
“This project began in 2012 as a way of exploring my own relationship with the Scottish landscape. Having worked and lived away from Scotland for almost a decade working on environmentally focused photographic projects, I set out to understand the connection I, like many Scots, have with the landscape. It’s a great symbol of our national identity and nostalgia – but one which can often lead to a view of the picturesque, of romance and “rural fantasy”.
My aim was to uncover something more authentic. And so began a personal journey for me, I wanted to scratch the surface, to go beyond the picturesque postcard view and learn about the land through the eyes of those who are responsible for it.”
Fareweel to a’ oor Scottish fame Fareweel oor ancient glory Fareweel even tae oor Scottish name Sae famed in martial story Noo Sark runs o’er the Solway sands Tweed runs tae the ocean Tae mark where England’s province stands Such a parcel o’ rogues in a nation
– Robert Burns, 1791
Exactly two years ago, I embarked on a 12-month journey to trace Scotland’s border with England. The result was A Fine Line.
Starting in the frontier town of Gretna, separated from England by the tiny river Sark, I followed a meandering series of paths, tracks and roads and over the next year drifted from west to east, finally ending my journey at the North Sea, a few miles north of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
The purpose was part-documentary, part self-discovery: I wanted to explore my identity as a Scot exiled in England through photography and with the referendum on Scottish Independence on the horizon, it seemed to be the perfect time for such a project.
My travels took me to towns and villages, moorland and hilltops. I photographed people I encountered along the way and events which make up the fabric of life on the border. I researched my trips, looking at the geography, history and topography of my destinations, but beyond that, I left it to my mind and eyes to wander across the stunning landscapes and ancient settlements. The only restriction I placed on myself was that all the images should be ‘made in Scotland’.
Shooting everything on a single, medium-format film camera allowed me to focus on the content of the images without the distraction of choices of different lenses. The result was a fusion of documentary, portraiture and landscape photography which was put together to reflect my personal experiences and points-of-view.
As the debate and discussion around Scotland’s ongoing relationship with her bigger, more powerful neighbour continues through the ballot boxes at Westminster and Holyrood, I envisage retuning to the border lands some time soon and rediscovering the people and places of this unique habitat.
24 Bobbins to Ballalan
The Tweed Mills of the Outer Hebrides, by Robin Mitchell.
In the autumn of 2009 I was entering my final year of study for a degree in Documentary Photography at Newport in South Wales. Not long before that I had made my first visit to the Outer Hebrides and I was looking for an excuse to go back. That year the BBC ran a documentary series about the state of the Harris Tweed industry and the role of the tweed mills within the island community. The combination of tradition, craft, industrial turmoil and the wild and beautiful landscape convinced me to travel to Lewis to make work there.
Harris Tweed is a hard-wearing, woven fabric made from sheep’s wool in the Outer Hebrides. The brand is protected by Act of Parliament and in order to be stamped with the famous Harris Tweed Orb trade mark the fabric must be woven at the home of the weaver using a treadle loom without electricity. This much is common knowledge, but the 3 tweed mills on the island of Lewis play a big part in the manufacturing process. They generate the bulk of the orders, wash and dye the wool, make the yarn and send it out to the weavers. The mill vans travel round the island dropping off yarn and collecting in the woven fabric, while workers in the mills darn broken or loose threads and wash, press and package the orders. I wanted to find out more about the work of the mills and the people employed there, but also about the relationship between the mills, the community and the landscape.
It is a cliché (and a marketing strategy) to say that the colours of the Harris Tweeds reflects the landscapes from which the fabric comes. In the past this was more literally true, when the yarn came from local sheep and the dyes were made by hand from lichen, seaweeds and other plants and minerals found locally. While these practices have changed, there is nonetheless a clear correlation. Each tweed is made from a number of different colours of yarn, but each yarn also contains a minimum of 3 different coloured wools, carefully weighed out and mixed so that each strand is flecked with different colours. Earth colours predominate – greens, browns and greys – but bright yellows and pinks, emeralds and scarlet also find their way in and the possible combination of colours and patterns is limitless. Like the landscape, the tweed reveals more beauty the closer you look.
In November and December 2009 I made two trips to the island, staying ten days each time. I stayed in independent hostels and traveled to the two active tweed mills by service bus. I hired a car for a couple of days to travel round and photograph the island, looking for that connection between the rocky landscapes of Harris and the moorlands of Lewis and the tweed that was being created in the loom sheds and mills dotted about the place. The connection was clear, not only in the colours of the fabric but in the lives of the overall-clad workers, many of whom had been fishermen or farmers or weavers and perhaps still were spending part of their year outside, working the land. And while the mills could not be termed ‘family businesses’, many of the people I met were working alongside other family members or working with tweeds created by friends and relatives.
Clearly a life as a weaver is no easy option – particularly when working with electric looms is not permissible – but the island people take pride in its creation and work hard to retain and build on its reputation and to protect the integrity of the brand that is so important to the island economy. After lean times in the 1970s, 80s and 90s when modern, man-made fabrics seriously threatened the future of the brand, the market for Harris Tweed is growing and diversifying.
During my trips I photographed at the smallest of the mills, Harris Tweed Textiles at Carloway and the newly established Harris Tweed Hebrides at Shawbost. The biggest of the mills, Harris Tweed Scotland in Stornoway was not operating at the time. My thanks to everyone in the mills and to the Harris Tweed Authority for their help with this project.
24 Bobbins to Ballalan
The Tweed Mills of the Outer Hebrides
Highs, lows, an historical and unforgettable week for Scotland.
Here are some of the images shot by Colin McPherson, Sophie Gerrard, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Stephen McLaren in the lead up to and over the 18th September 2014. The world was watching, and so were we…
This is only a small selection of the work shot by Document Scotland’s 4 photographers on the days surrounding the 18th September 2014. You can see more on each of on our websites and by following these links …
Luke Brown sent us this series of images ‘Time And Tide Wait For No Man’, a look at the outdoor swimming pool areas of the Edwardian and Victorian eras. It isn’t a subject matter we’d seen covered before, and knowing nothing of Scottish outdoor pools we find it of interest and Luke has graciously shared it below with his introduction. – Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert.
Time And Tide Wait For No Man, by Luke Brown.
The tidal pools represent some of the last standing man made structures that do not come under scrutiny from current health and safety rules.
This is due to the period in which they were built, if built today they would be designed under the constraints imposed by present day regulations. These very rules now affect the existence of the remaining pools. They are under threat from lack of maintenance, being exposed to the harshest of elements scattered along Britain’s margins.
“A sense of superiority of English Landscape aesthetics was linked to a broader certainty that English ways were the best ways of doing things and of their natural superiority and authority over other people and places (Seymour 2000)
Britain’s sense of hierarchy over the landscape is evident up until the very edges of our coastline where the tidal swimming pools can be found, built originally for the enjoyment of newfound leisure time, and as a safe haven for swimming away from the dangers of the sea.
The structures embody the Edwardian and Victorian periods, acting as a reflection of Great Britain’s strength and power, during the reign of The British Empire. At the islands peak in 1922, Great Britain controlled almost a quarter of the Earth’s total landmass. These manmade constructions are a product and symbol of The British Empire, demonstrating England’s attitude towards controlling the land.
At present the spaces represent something very different. The tidal swimming pools now “hold an absence of order from the social laws of today that keep us in check.” (Ribas recalling Baltz) A space where freedom of expression can be celebrated, where people can make choices to act on instinct and common sense, rather than the behavioural constraints dictated upon society.
The pools are photographed on a 4×5 plate camera, a Victorian invention, during the tidal swimming pools downtime, the winter period, to show the landscape in its rawest state. A time when the tidal pools themselves struggle to survive under the harsh coastal weather conditions, battling against the typical British Winters to stay in existence.
But even these spaces have restrictions, the most prevalent limit being nature. The tide dictates the space and its use, however the ocean answers to the gravitational pull of the Moon. While the tide is in, the majority of the pools are hidden in an unforgiving dark mass, becoming un-swimmable. This natural occurrence still holds a very dominant sense of control over humans and the landscape, dictating the conditions of use, enjoyment and documentation.
“Time and tide wait for no man.” (Geoffrey Chaucer)
Sandy Carson has had a varied life. He studied media and communication studies before dropping out to be in a punk band and to go on tour as a teenager. After a few years he quit the band and moved the U.S. to pursue a BMX career and turned professional a couple of years after.
“I was lucky enough to tour the world with my bike riding and taught myself how to use my camera during my travels.”
Although in recent years he has become a professional photographer, he is still as obsessed by bikes as he was when he was younger. Last year on a return trip to Scotland to see his family he also undertook a massive bike ride with his girlfriend.
“I took the other half to the homeland this summer, to meet my family, re-exploring Scotland. I haven’t lived there in two decades and at times I feel like a tourist in my own country. So, with fresh sets of eyes, we set about it on bike and foot. If it’s not from Scotland, it really is crap!”
“For the last 12 months, I have been researching and delivering a project which has taken my photography away from strictly documentary to looking at ways in which we can use images creatively to communicate particular themes, ideas or sets of statistics.
The A41 Project had its genesis at Look11, the first Liverpool international photography festival, where I participated in a session on ‘photography as a call to action’ with representatives from The Equality Trust, a London-based organisation which campaigns for a fairer society and against inequality. Around that time I had been in London, walking up Park Lane, one the the richest streets in the country in one of the wealthiest areas. I noticed a sign for the A41 trunk road, directing traffic and pedestrians past Marble Arch and left into Portland Street. I immediately thought about where the A41 ends, in Birkenhead, overlooking the banks of the Mersey, in one of England’s poorest and most deprived wards. That’s not to say that in London all the streets are paved with gold, or that Birkenhead has nothing going for it. Quite the opposite: levels of inequality in London are amongst the greatest in the developed world and the consequences are felt by all. For me the road was a metaphor for inequality, the gap between rich and poor and the consequences for society, and I became fascinated as to how I could use my photography to explore these ideas.
So, in association with The Equality Trust and with principal funding from the Arts Council of England, I set out on the road, exploring, discovering, thinking and all the while trying to illustrate statistics, facts, research and data to come up with a coherent body of work which would ask questions and invite the viewer to form opinions not just of the work, but of the subject too. The journey took me through the Home Counties, rural Oxfordshire and on to Birmingham and the West Midlands. From there the A41 snakes its way north through agricultural Shropshire and Cheshire before journey’s end on Merseyside. As part of the project, I also worked with four participatory groups, helping them to make their own work in response to the theme and producing a newspaper which showcased our work and includes an article by Professor Richard Wilkinson, author of The Spirit Level.
The culmination of the project is a series of 25 people-less ‘social landscapes’ which will be shown at a run of five exhibitions, the first of which has just launched at The Public in West Bromwich and which runs until 6 May. The dissemination of the work also formed an important part of the process and outcome of the project. The photographs are presented in the gallery space with a series of questions which form part of the image, with supporting text displayed next to the work.
It is with great pleasure that Document Scotland can today showcase the work by Glyn Satterley, from his latest book ‘Going To The Hill, Life On Scottish Sporting Estates’. This is the tenth book by Glyn, a renowned freelancer whose work has been widely exhibited and published in magazines. He has spent many years documenting life on Scotland’s sporting estates, and his earlier book, The Highland Game, concentrated purely on Highland estates was published in 1992. This new book brings estate life up to the present and covers the whole of Scotland.
“I have always loved this work by Glyn, and it gives me great pride to be graciously allowed to feature it here as a folio. It truly is a treat to delve into the books and archives from which this work is selected and to be able to choose images, to read Glyn’s words, and to learn about both the sporting estate lifestyle and culture, and also through the words sense Glyn’s enthusiasm for his work, and his love for Scotland’s landscape.” – Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert.
“Looking somewhat dismayed, these guns were deposited high up on the Invercauld hillside in pursuit of ptarmigan. Helicopter is not the usual mode of transport, but this was a charity auction day.”
“On this particular day out on the hill, stalker Ronnie Buchan not only had to put up with four people in the party, but also accomodate the photographer and find a ‘shootable’ stag. Great stalker that he is, Ronnie delivered the goods.”
“Universally, keepers and stalkers are obsessed with controlling foxes and Jimmy Lambie is no exception. He does, however, have the advantage over most other keepers who usually work single handedly, aided by only a couple of terriers. Jimmy runs a pack of thirteen fox hounds.”
“Rather like Dr. Who’s Tardis, a glimpse inside this wagon reveals it to be full to the gunwales, including one of the guns, umpteen beaters and a whole gang of dogs.”
“These ladies were heading for one of the outlying lodges on the estate to prepare for incoming guests.”
“These Easter-time trials are often a lottery regarding the weather. This one was brought to a halt as a snowy squall passed through, leaving the landscape covered in white, frozen, human and doggy sculptures.”
“This was a wonderful scene, set amidst dramatic landscape, but eventually the euphoria wore off. The stag had been shot on a steep down slope, and the only way to extract it was to drag it downward, and then along the valley floor. Sounds easy, but the bottom of the valley section was a mile or two away, traversing burns every few hundred yards. The three of us shared the pulling, working two at a time, but it became more and more difficult as we got hotter and hotter, and each tiny incline felt like a mountain. The person not pulling had the added burden of carrying everybody else’s discarded clothing, plus my camera kit. You can imagine our relief when we finally got close enough for the Argo to collect it.”
“Controversial though they may be, wind turbines have revived some estates fortunes. This one at Farr required sixteen miles of road to be laid, which has given keepers access to the moor and helped with vermin control. Interestingly, the highest densities of grouse are now being recorded in and around the turbines, which probably means the blades deter raptors. It does however look and feel a little unnatural, having huge structures whirring away in the backdrop whilst people are shooting from butts.”