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Eilean Donan Castle

Why a Wonder: An iconic and ubiquitous Scottish image, Eilean Donan Castle is the crown jewel in a dreamy, mercurial Highlands landscape.

Where: Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland.

When: Year-round. Expect crowds in July, August and September.

Photography: Situated on the main route to the Isle of Skye, and being highly accessible, Eilean Donan is a must-stop location on your journey through the Scottish Highlands. The best areas to photograph from are right off the parking lot, or just across the (walkable) Loch Long bridge in Ardelve.

For most work here, you’ll want a 50mm or wider lens; a telephoto up to 150mm is useful if you are shooting from a little further away. A tripod is recommended, as light conditions can be hard to predict. Using a long exposure can help reduce the number of tourists that appear in your images.

Although there are only a few angles from which you can capture a castle surrounded by water, the quickly changing skies and tides bring huge variety to the overall scene. While just-before to just-after sunrise or sunset are classic ‘best light’ timing, any hour of the day here can provide dramatic light. It’s worth hanging around for a few hours to catch the sun bursting through the clouds, or waiting for the fog and mist to creep around the mountains.

Have your rain gear handy!

A note on the images shown here: Although the surrounding heathlands really do appear softly purple in late summer, these are false-color infrared photographs, made using a specially modified camera and creative editing.

Learn More: For planning your trip, see the official Eilean Donan website. If you plan to spend time in the area, check out this photo guide to the Isle of Skye. Visit with Rain Hayes here.

© Rain Hayes

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