Words & Photos by Richard William Nixon - theglasspassport.com
Hi, my name is Richard William Nixon. I am a nomadic photographer and writer trading photography for life’s basic necessities – food, accommodation and transport – in a bid to reach every continent without money. Currently based out of a suitcase, I have spent the summer moving around the UK on the merit of trade alone building the initial momentum for the project - The Glass Passport. Documenting and detailing every location and trade along the way, my style is focused on film tones, storytelling and documentary imagery.
Trade 3 of the project took me to the Isle of Skye trading with Edinburgh based Highland Explorer Tours.
The Scottish Highlands are somewhere just as remarkable overcast as they are clear and sunny, if not more so on days where the sky falls so low the sharp ends of the landscape begin to carve through the clouds, providing an atmosphere deserving of its mythology. Sat a stone’s throw off the mainland is the Isle of Skye
The journey North from the lowlands to the northwest coast is an experience in its own right. There are a few options for how to get on to the island, all of which should include two stops at Glen Coe on route first: one to take in the spectacular Three Sisters, the most notable ridges of the Bidean nam Bian Mountain and another for lunch at Glencoe Café.
From Fort William you can catch the Jacobite Steam Train to Mallaig – a route instantly recognisable to Harry Potter fans – then cross to Skye on the ferry. You also can drive north to the A87 to cross via the Skye Bridge, stopping at the landmark Eilean Donan Castle on the way.
Alternatively, if your trip is between June-August, take the Glenelg-Skye ferry and meet the two Border Collies that spend their days hopping on and off the last manually operated turntable ferry in Scotland.
Portree, the island’s largest town, is your most likely option for a base to explore the island from. The distinctive harbour and hillside buildings are home to some of the best fish and chips you’ll ever have. The harbour is also home to some of the bravest seagulls you’ll encounter so guard your dinner should you take it for a walk.
At the least, a whole day can be dedicated to exploring the northern loop of the island for an abundance of views. Notable stops include the Duntulm Castle ruins, Mealt falls and the iconic Old Man of Storr rock formation. The walk up the Storr hill is one of the busiest on the island for good reason and an essential stop.
Dunvegan castle is found on the North Western loop and worth checking out even if only for the chance to catch a small boat that departs in search of seals from behind the castle. Spoiler: they are not difficult to find.
No matter where you venture south – the Fairly Pools, Sligachan Bridge, Elgol harbour, you cannot ignore the dramatic peaks of the ever-present Cuillin Mountains that make up the backdrop to all of these sights. A spectacle that draws the eye of photographers and boots of climbers all year round.
An added tip: drive with caution through the narrow roads and keep you eye out for the local fauna; road sense is not a strength of the sheep and cattle that inhabit the island maintaining a magnetic attraction to car bumpers.
For the dreamer - For the adventurer