Lochs — and the opportunities they provide for walking through all seasons of the year — are certainly one of the best things about living here in the west of Scotland. We have recently been exploring more of our local lochs due in part to a on-off obsession of mine with tracing the provenance and history of Glasgow’s water supply. I find that visitors often look at a landscape such as the one which surrounds us here and think of it as “wild”, because it is wet and rocky, and because there are few houses or roads, livestock or crops. But lochside landscapes — like the vast majority of landscapes in Scotland in fact — are not wild at all. For more than a century and a half, the lochs of this area have been shaped by the human management of the water that fills them. Flowing from mountain top to reservoir, and on to domestic pipelines, this loch-filled landscape provides clean, fresh drinking water for the cities of the central belt. There are many facets to my loch / water-supply obsession and I feel I’ll have more to say about it another time, but for now here are some photographs of our local lochs that Tom has taken over the past couple of weeks. These are perhaps picturesque images, but the landscapes they depict are emphatically not wild but, in so many different respects, managed.

Loch Lomond

Loch Achray

Loch Ard

Loch Katrine

Loch Arklet

Loch Lomond (again!)

. . . and again!

And here’s a final lochside photo for those of you who enjoy seeing Bruce from time to time. Tom took this picture on a 30 second exposure – and a ghost dog with a wagging tail managed to photobomb the image.


I know a few of you have expressed interest in prints of Tom’s photography: we are currently setting up a site for this purpose which should go live very soon!

31 thoughts on “water, water, everywhere

  1. Your photos are so lovely. They always make me want to dive into the water, rather like Bruce. One of your previous photos encouraged me to sign up for a Loch Lomond swim next September.


  2. After all Tom’s years of working away in buildings and laboratories, I can only imagine his immense pleasure at being able to spend so much more of his time in the great outdoors using his immense creative talents as evidenced by his photography. So wonderful to think of the two of you (excuse me, three of you–sorry, Bruce), after all the struggles of the past years, being able to do this together. Bravo!


  3. Tom’s photos are stunning. The first photo of Loch Lomond is astoundingly beautiful; the reflection of the trees in the Loch is so precise – such beauty.

    I am an Australian with a scottish heritage and so enjoy reading your blog. Thank you Kate and Tom.


  4. Yes, sometimes we are surprised when we see these from a different angle……….like they just appeared by magic! Lovely. looking foreward to tom’ photographs … esp GOATS!!! silly me I know.


  5. I’ve only recently stumbled upon your website – can’t even recall from where – but so glad I did! I live in Northern California, where we have plenty of natural beauty ourselves, but nothing can compare to the wonders of Scotland. I’ve had the privilege of two trips so far and hope to be back again soon. Your photos and your craft inspiration are priceless – thanks for making your post today a delightful birthday present!


  6. Hello Kate…love , love the photos of the Lochs…really quite breath taking….I know I look, admire ,am amazed, but without a thought of why and how…you always look beneath…a special quality to have….very best of the season to you and Tom, and Bruce….hugs pat


  7. Beautiful pics. I have been thinking of contacting you about pics as I can see some of them framed and on my wall. Thanks for exploring this idea.


  8. Well said Kate! There are many of our beautiful landscapes, national parks and mountain scapes that we believe to be ‘natural’ but when we learn about the extent of the land management, not least, in whose interest it is managed, it is difficult to see the same picture. A reading of George Monbiot’s ‘Feral’ is challenging for those of us committed to knitting with the wool of our British Sheep, as is much of the history you open our eyes to Kate. As always, it is about balance and consideration of the bigger picture, but I would recommend the book.


  9. Kate! I stopped using facebook and am paring down my social media use, but I look forward to all your posts and have saved a good number of them because I appreciate your thoughtfulness, knowledge, spirit and your (and Tom’s) photography. This is exquisite. Coming from a beautiful part of the world myself – Vancouver BC, Canada – I have decided that the only place I really want to travel to is your part of the world. You have really inspired me. Thank you.


  10. Thank you for the stunning pictures and how great to know that they might be avaialble for purchase at some point. Thank you also for the Bruce picture, I always imagine him jumping into those beautiful lochs after Tom finishes taking the picture.


  11. We had lunch between Loch Lochy and Loch Oich on a small floating boat, when we biked the Great Glen Way. We wondered if Loch Lochy translated to Lake Lakey. Either way, it sounded so cheerful.


  12. Love Tom’s photos! And glad to hear that some soon may be available for purchase. Thank you for sharing these – and Bruce’s ghost.


  13. The same is true of all our ‘wild’ places in Britain. As more and more people live in cities we lose connection with, and understanding of, the countryside and nature, and then landscapes become inaccurately viewed as pristine i.e without human intervention. Fascinating to uncover the histories. I look forward to reading more about it.. Hmm, and I wonder if that on-off obsession of yours will somehow work its way into your knitting designs….!


  14. Beautiful pictures! I live on the shores of Lake Huron (Michigan) and it is easy to take being close to such natural beauty for granted. In the Loch Lomond again picture what are the things sticking up from the water with what looks like a handle on top?


  15. Beautiful photos! By managed do you mean that the lands are protected from certain kinds of building projects and uses in order to protect the water quality?


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