Neist Point, Isle of Skye

February 10, 2021

Here it is! The super exciting story of Neist Point

 

You won’t be surprised to learn that on this particular trip to Scotland (like all others) we'd end each day in a pub, engaged with a proper serving of pints, drams, and banter with the equally soggy locals. One night in Portree, we ran into a guy who seemed to know all there is to know about Skye (and the entire history of Britain), so we asked him to recommend a couple interesting sights that wouldn’t be on the typical tourist’s agenda. He immediately mentioned the lighthouse at Neist, the westernmost point on the Isle of Skye. That’s where I shot this image.

 

Because I know you want to know, the Neist lighthouse was built in 1909, and the tower is about 60 feet (19 meters) high. You have to walk to get here, but that’s no problem. It’s an effortless, 30-minute jaunt—almost all downhill—from the car park to the lighthouse. Easy! You’ll be having such a grand time that you won’t even notice how crazy steep the hill actually is. Yay!

 

Then, just as you’re getting really giddy (“Oh boy! Oh boy! I’m going to get some super photos here!”)…. Well, yeah, that’s when a downpour comes charging in from the west, with sheets of rain fierce enough to make Noah cry. Coincidentally, that’s also when you notice, entirely too late, that you have absolutely no shelter from the elements, because the lighthouse is fenced and inaccessible. (Note: Because I'm not that stupid, I always carry a cover to protect my camera gear from normal rain, and the pack itself is water resistant. But on this day, nothing was going to keep save us from the deluge coming our way.)

 

Instinctively, you turn to flee for the safety of your car. Your camera junk now seems to weigh 200 pounds. And then, you finally discover a real-life application for all those stupid math courses you failed in school: “If it took Jim 30 minutes to walk down the very steep hill, and he now has only half that long to get back up the hill before disaster strikes, what is the probability that Jim is 100% screwed (assuming Earth’s standard gravity = 9.80665 m/s²)?”

 

Now, I’ve never had one of those experiences like the mother who lifted a bus to save her baby. And while I’m reasonably fit, I’m no triathlete. But somehow, fear for the life of my camera gear enabled me to achieve (relative) greatness. Heroically overcoming the inferno in my lungs and legs, I managed to outrun the worst of the rain. I collapsed at the car, wheezing and crumpled in gold medal-winning triumph, just moments before the skies opened. The camera bag was wet, but not soaked, and the gear was saved.

 

Fortunately, the storm passed quickly. While the skies cleared, I returned to the lighthouse. And as you can see in this image, I was rewarded with the kind of dramatic light photographers (and their cameras) live for. What an invigorating, uplifting tale of adventure! (And almost 97% true.)


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