Knoydart & Small Isles


Mallaig | Skye | Rùm | Eigg | Muck | Canna | Hyskeir | Loch Nevis | Inverie | Doune | Loch Hourn | Sandaig | Pabay | Wildlife

Doune Days | Sun on Rùm | Rockpool Photography

Canmore | West Word


A photography holiday in June 2005 organised by Light & Land led by Ben Osborne. Staying in the settlement of Doune on the tip of the Knoydart peninsula, facing Skye across the Sound of Sleat.

Travelled up on the Caledonian Sleeper service from London Euston to Fort William, crossing Rannoch Moor. Then onward from Fort William on the West Highland Line to Mallaig (although didn't get to travel on the Hogwarts Express).

The Mary Doune chartered for the week, allowed us to visit Skye, Rùm (including a private tour of Kinloch Castle), Eigg and Muck. As well as landing on remote Hyskeir and briefly stepping ashore at the base of the basalt cliffs of Canna.

Saw common and grey seals, a (very rare) sea eagle, (a few) puffins, basking sharks (one close up as it came under the boat mouth wide open), minke whales, (semi-tame) stags and numerous other sea birds. Although didn't have the luck to see the local sea otters. Midges not too bad; being at sea helped a lot! Only particularly bad encounter was by the river up the glen from Inverie.

The dining room at Doune even served Red/Black Cuillin (delete as applicable). Final night at the end of the holiday stayed at the Old Library Lodge in Arisaig.


Made a return visit in September 2006 (again organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne) which gave the chance to return to some locations visited the year before, plus the opportunity to explore the shores of Loch Hourn and Loch Nevis for the first time.

Flew up from Bristol on a miniature jet and then the scenic train journey north from Glasgow all the way through to Mallaig.

No whales or sharks this year, just a few glimpses of porpoises and the many common seals on the shores of the sea lochs. I didn't stay up late enough to witness the rutting stags in front of the lodge in which we were staying, but did catch sight on several occasions of stags with their antlers silhouetted on the skyline of the surrounding hills. Midges were bad at times and discovered you don't care what you may look like in a midge net once you realise they do work!


Yet another return visit in September 2007 (again organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne).

Weather not brilliant this year, but good enough, more suited to macro landscapes versus grand vistas. Briefly sighted minke whales and porpoises, with semi-tame stags visiting the lodge in the early mornings and lots of gannets at sea. Food at Doune still superb.


Becoming an annual trip with another return visit in September 2008 (organised as usual by Light & Land with Ben Osborne). Travelled up on the Caledonian Sleeper again.

Full set of the Small Isles this year: landing on Rùm, Eigg, Muck (Tea Room highly recommended) and Canna. Also, new this year: a visit to Pabay off Skye.

Wildlife: opportunities to get close to common seals at Loch Scavaig, from the boat and at Gallanach Bay, from the land. Glimpses of porpoises on occasions through the week, with a single minke whale spotted off Muck at the end of the week. Disturbed a stag in a cave on Rùm. And no midges!

Menu favourites:

The Doune dining room ran out of Red Cuillin! Fortunately, supplies of Black Cuillin lasted the week.


Becoming a second home with another return visit in June 2009 (organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne).

Wildlife at sea: my first sightings of common dolphins in Scotland (on three occasions including up Loch Hourn), common seals as usual, a minke whale off Canna and finally saw the local sea otters at Doune. In the air: a pair of sea eagles plus a golden eagle above the cliffs of Canna, heard cuckoos everwhere and the distinctive sound of a snipe at Doune. On the land: stags behind the lodge at Doune and a mink running across the beach at Point of Sleat with an ugly fish in its mouth.

Flora: heath spotted, frog (Eigg) and butterfly (Loch Hourn) orchids.

Had a go at rockpool photography!


Menu highlights:

This week I 'ave mostly been drinking Hebridean Gold.


Back again in June 2010 (organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne).



Home again: another return visit in June 2011 (organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne).


Made a photobook:

Doune Days
Doune Days
June 2011
By Harvey Lloyd-Thomas
Book Preview
Photo book

Had another go at rockpool photography.


And again in July 2012 (organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne).

The all important puddings:

Had a short article published in On Landscape.


Ditto in June 2013 (organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne).

Semi-tame stags at Doune amongst the chickens. Minke whales about, although sometimes only heard. Encounter with common dolphins in the Sound of Canna.



Tenth anniversary visit in June 2014 (organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne).



Returned in June 2015 (organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne).

Wildlife: saw a pair of treecreepers at Sandaig and a pair of snipe on Muck, sea otters at Doune, glimpses of porpoises throughout the week, but no whales or dolphins this year, a golden eagle above the cliffs of Canna and a sea eagle over the Sound of Sleat.



Scorchio: a heatwave in June 2016 (organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne).

Wildlife: saw my first corncrake on Muck, having previously only heard them.



Another gastronomic experience in June 2017 (organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne who has written an article about this year's trip).

Wildlife: two encounters with a pod of bottlenose dolphins off the Point of Sleat, an otter on the shore of Loch Hourn and vocal common seals at Gallanach Bay. As usual, cuckoos heard throughout the week and got a photograph of a corncrake on Muck.

Flora: early marsh orchids on Muck.

Photographic epiphany: colour pop! [One Point Color in-camera filter effect]



Homework! An educational experience in June 2018 (organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne).

Wildlife: an encounter with a pod of common dolphins.



The return of the rain in June 2019 (organised by Light & Land with Ben Osborne).

$Date: 2019/11/05 21:33:04 $