Jane’s Dad visited us the week before last. Not content with having dragged him all over Skye and the Outer Hebrides in 2004, we took him out to Argyll (with one eye on the weather report) and caught the two-hour ferry to Islay, legendary home to Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila and Port Ellen (and visited them all, even if we didn’t sample every one). The island itself turned out to be every bit as rugged and beautiful as its neighbours, with the threatening rain giving dramatic skies at every turn. Best of all were the flocks of Barnacle Geese wintering over from Greenland. Everywhere we went sounded like Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus for birds and orchestra. (One of the best pieces of classical music I’ve discovered in years—seriously. It’s The Lark Ascending with honking.)

By Sunday the rain had made good on its threat, and the ferry ride back was rough. It was worse when we got off: the drive home in the dark on the flooded Loch Fyne road would have made a fiendish video game. And this was a few days before the west coast was hit by a month’s worth of rain in a single day (although we’d already had the wettest November in thirty years).

Still, all that water made for some good photos. I took so many that it’s taken all weekend to sort them out. Here are the best.

17 December 2006 · Travel

Holy Hell. Photos = AM-Effing-AZING!

Fave? Maybe the birds flying to the rainbow. Heaven.

Added by Nomes on 18 December 2006.

Fantastic photographs!

Added by Gareth on 19 December 2006.

I can't pick a favourite...

Do you use filters? Those are the sort of pictures of light that I always try to take but never manage.

Added by K on 21 December 2006.

No, although I played around with a polaroid filter on my 35mm SLR years ago (but found it too much hassle to put on and take off). I do some colour/contrast tweaking in Photoshop, but most of these haven’t had any, or very much if they have. I’m just better at judging exposures these days, and highly selective about what I post!

Added by Rory on 21 December 2006.

Great pictures! I haven't been on Islay at this time of year yet, but it looks like I should try to visit in December.

Just linked to you from my little IslayBlog, hope to send a few people your way to see the pictures.

Added by Armin on 23 December 2006.

Thanks, Armin. Nice niche blog you have there.

Added by Rory on 23 December 2006.

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