100 Weeks of Scotland: The Trossachs

Alan McCredie visits the Trossachs this week. Pictures: Alan McCredie
Alan McCredie visits the Trossachs this week. Pictures: Alan McCredie
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IT is a perfect summers day. I am standing on the shore of Loch Katrine, deep in the Trossachs. I watch as a gleaming white steamship slips almost noiselessly through the still waters of the loch. The air is heavy with the heat.

Week 86

All around is the low, gentle hum of bees and other insects. Overhead the steady drone of a flying boat can be heard as it skips from loch to loch. And amidst all this beauty and perfection I am completely devoid of any inspiration when it comes to photographing it.

I have taken quite a few shots and when I look at them on the back of the camera they don’t even remotely do justice to what I see and feel all around me. It really does seem like there is absolutely nothing I can do to convey the loveliness of the scene around me. Anything other than actually being here, at this moment, is just a pale imitation.

The road to Loch Katrine is almost as stunning as the Loch itself. Heading north out of Aberfoyle the road loops and climbs over the Dukes Pass through the Achray Forest and is surely one of the most memorable drives in the country. Shimmering distantly in a warm blue haze are the peaks of Ben Ledi and Benvane. Stretched out below, the forest, verdant and silent, covers all save for the occasional sparkle as the sun catches the waters of Loch Achray, Loch Drunkie and Loch Venachar. There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, there is a rapture on the lonely shore.

Further along the loch I find a bit of 1950s industry and suddenly I can take photos again. Quite why the natural beauty of the lochside is for me, unphotographable, while some 60 year old water facility is, is a mystery. It’s just too nice a day to worry about it.

Home through Callendar and again, in five minutes here and I find more to photograph than I did in 5 hours at the Loch (including the fantastically titled ‘Dreadnought Hotel’). Sometimes you just have to accept that not everything can inspire you. I had never been to Loch Katrine before but I will be back. It is one of the most impressive places I have visited during this project. Next time though I won’t have my camera – it looks far better in my memory than in the images I took.

• Alan McCredie began the ‘100 weeks of Scotland’ website in October last year, and it will conclude in Autumn 2014. McCredie’s goal is to chronicle two years of Scottish life in the run-up to the independence referendum.

Alan says ‘one hundred weeks...’ is intended to show all sides of the country over the next two years. On the site, he says: “Whatever the result of the vote Scotland will be a different country afterward. These images will show a snapshot of the country in the run up to the referendum.

“The photos will be of all aspects of Scottish culture - politics, art, social issues, sport and anything else that catches the eye.”

Follow the project at www.100weeksofscotland.com. You can also follow Alan on Twitter @alanmccredie.

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