Photo Guide For: NORTH AND EAST SCOTLAND

Photographers, be honest: When you think Scotland and amazing photo spots, what pops into mind? 

Glencoe, obviously. The NC500, of course. Skye, naturally. And maybe, if you're a die-hard shutterbug, Lewis and Harris.

And if you're a tourist without a camera? Well, for most folks abroad, Scotland pretty much equals Edinburgh.

 

But what about the east and north-east coast? The bits beyond Edinburgh, I mean.
Let me tell you, Scotland ain't short of stunning spots in that area, even though the east often gets overlooked and forgotten. In a way, that's not a bad thing. While people are flocking to Skye and the NC500, the east coast has managed to retain its unspoilt, authentic charm, at least outside of Edinburgh.

 

Think about it: magnificent castles, both crumbling ruins and grandstanding survivors, dramatic coastlines, fascinating wildlife like puffins, and adorable villages.

 

Sounds good? Then let's jump into a road trip itinerary along the east and north-east of Scotland, and get ready to discover a whole new side of this incredible country. 

 

 

I've included Edinburgh in here as a single spot, even though it's packed with enough photogenic opportunities to keep you busy for days on end. But this guide is all about capturing Scotland's stunning landscapes, so I'll just give Edinburgh a quick shout-out and focus more on other places. 

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Photo spot map overview

This map was made with Wanderlog, a road trip planner app on iOS and Android

How to get to the East of Scotland

 

By Plane

  • Edinburgh Airport (EDI): With extensive domestic and international connections, Edinburgh Airport serves as the main gateway to the East Coast. 
  • Aberdeen Airport (ABZ): If your journey focuses on Aberdeen or Aberdeenshire, consider flying into Aberdeen Airport. While offering fewer routes, it boasts direct connections from London, Manchester, Belfast, and selected European hubs.
  • Dundee Airport (DND): Primarily serviced by flights from London Stansted and Belfast.

 

 

By Car

 

  • From London:  a picturesque 7-8 hour drive to Edinburgh or an 8-9 hour drive to Aberdeen. Consider potential toll charges and factor in breaks to appreciate the countryside scenery.
  • From Manchester: Enjoy a shorter drive, approximately 5-6 hours to Edinburgh and 6-7 hours to Aberdeen. Prepare for stretches of the M6 and A1 motorways.
  • From Cardiff: Undertake the longest road trip, estimated at 8-9 hours to Edinburgh and 9-10 hours to Aberdeen. Embrace the opportunity to discover hidden gems along the way. 

 

By Train

 

  • From London: Settle in for a scenic 5-6 hour journey aboard a train to Edinburgh Waverley station. For onward travel to Aberdeen, expect an additional 2-3 hours.
  • From Manchester: Reach Edinburgh in approximately 4-5 hours by train, with Aberdeen requiring an additional 2-3 hours. Relax and enjoy the changing landscapes as you travel.
  • From Cardiff: It's the longest by train, the 8-9 hour journey to Edinburgh and 9-10 hour journey to Aberdeen offer time to unwind and take in the sights.

 

Once arrived in Aberdeen or Edinburgh by train or plane, it is best to get your rental car to discover the East Coast as public transport is very limited.


How Much Time Do You Need to discover the east?

 

Want to uncover the gems of Scotland's East Coast? Great choice! But how long do you really need? 

 

Full-on explorer: Two to three weeks is ideal if you want to sniff out every nook and cranny, from picture-perfect villages to epic cliffs. Especially if you are seeking on top the perfect light!

 

Time-pressed traveller: One week gives you a whirlwind tour, starting with historic Dunbar and ending at rugged Portknockie which are 250 miles one way. You'll hit the highlights quickly, but it'll leave you wanting more (in a good way!).

 

Or you pick a specific area for a long weekend and some spots you'll find here in this guide. Remember, the 250-mile Dunbar to Portknockie stretch is just an idea. Your perfect East Coast escape is up to you! Whether you go for the grand tour or bite-sized chunks, let your wanderlust lead the way. Adventure awaits!

Don't miss out on her top 5 picks revealed in this video and get a peek into the hilarious mishaps that come with being a photographer on the go.

 



Finding the Perfect Accommodation

 

Choosing the right accommodation is crucial for maximising your East Coast adventure. Whether you seek the freedom of a campervan or prefer strategically chosen bases, both options offer distinct advantages.

 

Campervan:

For those yearning for ultimate flexibility and ever-changing vistas, a campervan provides your freedom. Rise with the first sunrise, capture breathtaking dawn landscapes, and park in stunning scenery. However, remember to research parking restrictions and adhere to wild camping regulations to ensure a smooth and responsible journey.

 

 

B&B or self-catering:

For those seeking to immerse themselves in specific regions, consider basing yourselves in key locations throughout your trip. Here's a potential itinerary:

 

East Lothian: Experience the charm of this region and surrounding areas like Edinburgh by choosing convenient accommodation here.

Forfar Region: Between Dundee and Stonehaven, this is the perfect base to explore the central stretch.
Aberdeenshire: Conclude your journey in the picturesque town of Inverurie, offering easy access to the north.

 

Imagine capturing those captivating sunrise photos without the need for a long pre-dawn drive – an enticing proposition indeed!

 

Remember, these are merely suggestions. Customise your accommodation choices based on your personal preferences and travel style. Perhaps even explore the synergy of campervan freedom and the occasional stay in charming local b&bs.

 

However, do ensure you book accommodation in advance, especially during peak season, to avoid unwelcome surprises.

 


the photo spots

1. dunbar

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Dunbar: History whispers, the sea roars!  This charming town boasts a medieval castle and dramatic coastlines.
Explore ancient ruins, breathe in fresh sea air, and discover local shops & cafes. More than just a stop, it's a delightful mix of history, nature, & charm.

From the Esplanade, the view of ancient Dunbar Castle perched on volcanic rocks is the best.
Especially at sunset, when the rocks glow red and orange, soaking up the last rays of the day.

 

Parking is easy too - just hop out of your car parked in the Marine Road right next to the photo spot and you're ready to set up your tripod within a few steps.


2. preston mill

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Step back in time at Preston Mill, a picturesque 18th-century watermill at the River Tyne. This historic gem not only boasts impressive machinery, stunning surroundings and a lovely reflection in the mill pond, but also claims fame as a filming location for the hit TV series Outlander. Fans can relive Jamie Fraser's dramatic encounter with the Redcoats at the iconic waterwheel!

 

This picturesque mill is owned by the National Trust, so access outside opening hours might be restricted. They vary by season, so check online before you head off.

Afternoon light works best here. Bonus points if it's a calm day, as the mill reflects beautifully in the water.

 

There is a car park just next to the mill. Then, head behind it and follow the path to the pond. It's a quick 3-minute walk, super easy.
Just be warned, the pond area can get muddy, so pack your wellies! And don't forget your tripod, of course.


3. Tantallon Castle

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No ordinary castle, Tantallon is a rugged giant perched on a cliff, facing the North Sea's fury. It is close to North Berwick.

Tantallon has seen it all, from grand medieval feasts to brutal sieges. It served as a powerful stronghold for the Douglas family, Scotland's most formidable clan, for centuries. But its dramatic location – perched precariously 100 feet above the crashing North Sea – made it a target for both admiration and attack. Kings laid siege, pirates attempted plunder, and the castle played a pivotal role in Scotland's turbulent history.

 

The most captivating perspective of Tantallon Castle you get from a viewpoint near Seacliff beach.

 

Access to the private road leading to the viewpoint requires a small toll, currently around £3. Payment is via a cash-operated machine, so ensure you have the necessary change. Parking is conveniently included in the fee.

 

Once parked, descend to the beach and turn left towards the rocky section. 

During lower tide (excluding the peak high tide window and extremely stormy days), you can reach the picturesque Seacliff Harbour. This natural haven boasts the most breathtaking views of the castle, framed by dramatic cliffs and the vast North Sea.

The 15-minute walk from the car park to the viewpoint involves some rock scrambling. Sturdy footwear is essential. 

 

Sunset paints the scene in a magical light, making this time ideal for photographers. Bring your tripod and ND filters.

 

As you approach the private road, don't miss a quick stop for a different perspective of the castle, with the iconic Bass Rock forming a majestic backdrop.


4. edinburgh

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As I mentioned earlier, Edinburgh is easily worth a whole trip to itself, and this guide just scrapes the surface of what you can shoot in Scotland's capital. But, if you're cruising the East Coast and haven't been before in the city, I say squeeze in a day – you won't regret it!

 

Edinburgh buzzes year-round with people from all corners of the globe, especially in summer, so get there early to beat the crowds.

 

As for photo spots, where do we even start?

Holyrood Park & Scottish Parliament: The parliament's modern facade is an eye-catcher

Dean Village: Tucked away, this historic village boasts charming old buildings and quaint streets.

Victoria Street & Terrace: A riot of colour with its car-free cobblestones – perfect for a vibrant shot (see sample photo above).

Edinburgh Castle & Gardens: The classic – get the castle framed by the majestic Ross Fountain.

Circus Lane: Supposedly Edinburgh's prettiest street, with pastel hues and old small houses.

Calton Hill: Hike up for sunrise or sunset panoramas of the city.

The Vennel Viewpoint: Get a unique angle of the castle from this small, steep lane.

That should keep you busy for a day!
The good news is, it's all walkable. Sure, it'll be a leg workout, but trust me, parking's a pain and traffic's worse – ditch the car and enjoy the city on foot.

Car parks: Several options exist throughout the city centre, offering convenient access by foot. However, they can be expensive, especially for longer stays. Popular choices include NCP car parks at Castle Street, Shandwick Place, and George Street.


5. queensferry

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Two giants stand guard over the Firth of Forth: the Queensferry Road and Railway Bridges. Two epic bridges - but here you get them together! Modern and old, history and future. One's a grand old dame of cast iron, from the Victorian era. The other's a sleek, modern giant held up by mighty cables, representing modern times. Forget choosing sides, these bridges work together – connecting towns, wowing onlookers, and telling a story of how far we've come.

For the ultimate "old meets new" shot, head down to the Queensferry Rowing Club viewpoint. It's the perfect spot to capture both bridges side by side, telling the story of Scotland's engineering past and present.

 

Parking isn't a problem – there's a big car park right next to the spot. And after you've snapped your masterpiece with your tripod and ND filter, treat yourself to a well-deserved cuppa at the nearby café. You've earned it!


6. St monans

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Forget boring moles or wavebreaks! In St Monans, a quirky harbour village on Scotland's east coast, the mole zigzags across the waves like a kid's playful drawing. Built in the 1700s, it's both clever and charming, protecting the harbour from rough seas.

Parking's easy, just find a spot on Mid Shore Road and walk down the East Pier. Now, don't expect instant wow factor –  you won't see anything from ground level, but the pier's beauty lies at the end. That's where you'll find a ladder leading up the wall. Be cautious, it can be slippery and windy on top of the wall, and there's not much space for your gear. But once you've perched everything precariously, the reward is worth it!

 

Capture the wavebreaker in all its glory with long exposures. Black and white works wonders for a minimalist look on a gloomy day, highlighting the pier's stark lines. But if the Scottish sun decides to shine, don't hold back – those sunset hues will make your photo sing! Just remember, safety first, so watch your step and mind the ladder. 


7. broughty Ferry

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Broughty Ferry is a charming coastal town just outside Dundee. This town has a picture-perfect harbour, quaint shops, and a star attraction: Broughty Castle, a mighty medieval fortress guarding the Tay estuary for over 500 years. 

The best angle for stunning photos of Broughty Castle lies across the harbour. But here's the tricky part: the tide plays a crucial role.

Low Tide: The foreground will be mud, not exactly an aesthetic masterpiece.

High Tide: Too much movement! Reflections become choppy, making capturing a smooth image challenging.

The Sweet Spot:  Aim for 1-2 hours before or after low tide. This sweet spot offers enough water for captivating reflections without the mudflats stealing the show. 

 

Park conveniently at the car park next to the harbour and walk onto the pier with your tripod. Sunset paints the scene in magical pink hues (if the temperamental Scottish sun cooperates, of course!), making it the prime time for photography.


8. glamis castle

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In the middle of the rolling hills of Angus lies a castle steeped in history and legend: Glamis.
Just a stone's throw from the charming town of Forfar and about 30 mins drive from Dundee, this majestic fortress was once the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and rumoured inspiration for Shakespeare's Macbeth.

From the moment you arrive, Glamis will leave you speechless. The approach is truly regal, offering the best views of the castle itself as you wind your way through the estate.

 

Upon arrival, park your car in the designated car park behind the castle and purchase your entrance ticket. Then, step inside and prepare to be enthralled by the castle's grandeur. Explore its various halls, secret nooks, and stunning gardens, each offering unique perspectives and stories to discover.

 

Remember: Opening hours vary depending on the season, so be sure to check their website beforehand. During winter, the castle closes entirely, so plan your visit accordingly. 


9 . Boddin Lime Kilns

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Where Industry Meets Ocean: the Boddin Point Lime Kilns are standing on the windswept Angus coastline and offer a unique blend of evocative history and beautiful scenery. Once bustling industrial giants, these weathered structures now tell tales of Scotland's past.

There is a kind of beauty in decay at Boddin Point with its old wooden boats, half-reclaimed by the elements, lying on the cliffs. These weathered vessels create the perfect foreground for a photo of raw beauty in their ramshackle ambiance.

 

Follow the small road all the way down until you reach the end. There, you'll find a tiny layby for parking, but keep in mind it's a popular spot with locals walking their dogs. Be respectful and park carefully, ensuring you don't block the access road to the nearby farmhouse.

 

From the parking area, simply walk down to the cliffs where the lime kilns and boats are waiting. Set up your tripod and camera, and wait for the best light.

 

My personal favourite time to visit is at sunset.


10. Dunnottar Castle

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Dunnottar Castle, with the wild North Sea roaring on three sides, is not just a dramatic photo location, it's one of my all-time favorites in Scotland, East Coast or otherwise!

Located around 30 minutes south of Aberdeen, near the charming town of Stonehaven, Dunnottar boasts a rich history. Legend has it that the Scottish Crown Jewels were once hidden within its walls!

 

While the castle itself has specific opening hours, the photo spot is freely accessible anytime, day or night, for optimal lighting conditions.

 

A large car park sits atop the cliffs, from where a 10-15 minute walk leads you down to the castle. The descent is relatively gentle.

 

The most captivating views can be found from the clifftop itself. Incorporate the dramatic steps leading down to the castle as a leading line in your composition. This path offers stunning shots without requiring an overly strenuous trek.

If you wish to explore the castle itself, be prepared for a slightly more demanding walk down and back up. However, it's definitely manageable.

 

Don't limit yourself to the classic view with the steps. There are equally dramatic perspectives of the castle on the right side, waiting to be captured.

 

For the best light, I recommend visiting during sunset.


11. Balmoral Castle

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Balmoral Castle isn't just the beloved summer residence of the Royal Family; it's also a magnificent castle brimming with history and stunning photo opportunities. Located at the edge of the breathtaking Cairngorms National Park, about a 1 hour and 15-minute drive from Aberdeen, it's easy to see why the Royals have a soft spot for this majestic estate.

 

A designated car park awaits your arrival, followed by a short walk to the gatehouse where you can purchase your entrance ticket. Remember to check opening times in advance, as they vary depending on the season and whether the Royal Family is in residence.

Tip: Visit an hour before closing if you're primarily interested in the grounds. You'll enjoy a reduced entrance fee and avoid the bulk of the crowds. While adhering to official closing times is wise, I noticed a relaxed attitude toward lingering on balmy summer evenings, offering ample time for your photography pursuits.

 

Several viewpoints present themselves, each offering unique compositions. The sunken garden or the ornate gate of the orangery add charming foreground elements. But my personal favorite is the field to the castle's left, often graced by grazing Highland cattle. With the castle as a majestic backdrop, capturing these iconic animals creates a picture-perfect postcard moment, symbolising the essence of Scotland's royal allure.

 

The walk to the viewpoint from the castle is a leisurely 20-minute stroll on flat terrain, making it easy for most visitors to enjoy the journey.


12. Cairngorms National Park

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The Cairngorms National Park, also known as the Eastern Highlands, is a tapestry of heather moors dotted with shimmering lochs and backed by majestic peaks. Crossed by a network of hiking trails, this region might be tamer than its North Westerly neighbours, but its beauty is undeniable.

Chocolate-box villages like Braemar add to the charm, making it a truly picturesque destination.

 

For those who prefer scenic drives with photo stops over strenuous hikes, the Old Military Road offers an alternative. This historic pass winds its way through the mountains, revealing stunning viewpoints, quaint old stone bridges, and even abandoned bothies along the way. Numerous small car parks dot the route, allowing for effortless stops and photo opportunities. 


13. Castle Fraser

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Imagine tall towers, secret staircases, and lush gardens – that's Castle Fraser, a magical Aberdeenshire historic building. This quirky marvel near the charming town of Kemnay (about 40 mins from Aberdeen) feels like a castle built with mismatched puzzle pieces, somehow perfectly united in its grandeur.

It's just one of over 260 castles peppering Aberdeenshire, earning it the nickname "Scotland's Castle Country." No wonder it boasts the most castles per acre in the UK! If you are interested - you can do the "Castle Trail" to visit many more castles.

Castle Fraser is managed by the National Trust, so expect parking and entrance fees. Openings times vary by season, so check beforehand to avoid disappointment. As far as I recall, exploring the grounds is free, but entering the castle needs an additional fee (double-check on the National Trust website for updates).

 

Prepare for a short 10-15 minute walk from the car park to the castle. Remember, this "puzzle castle" looks different from every angle, so explore and capture its unique beauty from all sides. It will never look the same.


14. Aberdeen

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Aberdeen, Scotland's vibrant third largest city, blends historic charm with youthful university spirit and a modern buzz. This "Granite City," named for its impressive grey buildings, boasts a rich history spanning centuries. 

It's not too big to feel overwhelming, nor too small to lack excitement. It's not overly modernised to lose its character, yet it embraces an invigorating green and eco-conscious scene embraced by young students and artists. And, what a relief, it's not overrun by tourists!

 

Aberdeen offers a wealth of exploration. Come early and savour at least half a day. Here are some photo-worthy highlights:

 

1. Castle Gate: Capture the iconic "Aberdeen" sign among historic granite buildings.

2. King's College: See the beauty of majestic buildings of one of the UK's most stunning campuses.

3. Footdee (Fittie): Explore this charming fishing village located near Aberdeen Harbour.

4. Greyhope Beach: Spot playful dolphins during summer months.

5. Aberdeen Beach Front: Enjoy sandy beaches and a lively summer atmosphere.

 

Tip: Leave your car at a central car park like Frederick Street. This location provides easy walking access to Castle Gate, the beach, and Footdee. King's College and Greyhope Beach are best reached by car, with ample parking available in both areas.


15. Slains Castle

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Hauntingly beautiful Slains Castle, perched on a cliff overlooking the sea near Cruden Bay, is said to have inspired Bram Stoker's iconic Dracula. The eerie parallels are undeniable: dark towers, secret passages, and even local legends of bloodthirsty figures. Today, this crumbling Gothic castle stands as a captivating ruin, especially breathtaking in early summer when wildflowers paint a vibrant contrast against its imposing dark facade.

 

Slains Castle is located near Cruden Bay, about a 40-minute drive north of Aberdeen. A designated parking area awaits you on the main road, followed by a gentle 15-20 minute walk to the castle and cliffs.

 

Both sunrise and sunset offer stunning photo opportunities, but the mystical atmosphere truly comes alive during the afterglow. For an even more dramatic effect, consider visiting on a stormy day – the bleakness will enhance the castle's eerie allure.

Don't be limited to capturing Slains Castle from just one angle – its diverse perspectives are all equally dramatic! Explore both sides to showcase its contrasting features. Don't miss the lower cliffs below the castle – they offer unique shots with the imposing structure towering majestically above you. This variety of vantage points will ensure you capture the full essence of this captivating ruin. 

 

Please exercise caution! The cliffs are steep, unstable, and have sudden drop-offs.

Additionally, the castle's mystical atmosphere seems to attract some interesting individuals, especially on balmy summer evenings. While I personally encountered harmless characters hiding within the ruins, as a solo female traveller, it's important to be aware of your surroundings.

 

With its captivating history and dramatic setting, Slains Castle promises an unforgettable photographic experience, one of the best I made in East Scotland.


16. Bullers of Buchan

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The Bullers of Buchan are a bizarrely beautiful landscape and seascape formed by a collapsed sea cave. High waves sculpted a dramatic chasm over 30 meters deep, leaving behind a stunning sea arch as the most dramatic spectacle. The entire cliffside is a photographer's dream with plenty of photo opportunities.

Between April and September, the Bullers transform into a haven for thousands of seabirds, including the adorable puffins with their colourful beaks. Pack your long lens to get some shots!

Located just south of Peterhead and a 40-minute drive north of Aberdeen, the Bullers are easily accessible. Start with the designated car park and enter the coastal footpath. To see the majestic arch, take a right at the first fork after the car park.

Remember, safety first! While capturing the perfect photo is tempting, don't stand too close to the cliff edge. If you're uncomfortable with heights or feel the cliffs are unstable, step back and enjoy the view from a safer distance. 

 

Take a leisurely walk in both directions to admire the deep chasm on the left of the fork and the awe-inspiring cliffs and sea stacks further along. This is a paradise for seascape photography!

 

For the best light, visit in the afternoon and stay until sunset.
The short walk from the car park is gentle and suitable for most visitors.


17. Rattray Head Lighthouse

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The Rattray Head Lighthouse is a beautiful and historic lighthouse located on the Aberdeenshire coast. It was built in 1895 and is 120 feet tall. The lighthouse is situated on a headland overlooking a long, sandy beach with high sand dunes. 
While you might encounter the occasional dog walker, prepare to be enchanted by one of Scotland's most beautiful and largely secluded beaches. Imagine, you might even have this paradise all to yourself!

 

Reaching this hidden gem requires a bit of an adventure. Located around 10 miles south of Fraserburgh, the drive to the lighthouse involves a long, narrow road with potholes and stretches of deep sand. The journey is manageable though, even in a smaller car (I conquered it in my Fiat 500e, no 4WD needed!).

After parking, a 15-minute walk awaits, leading you through soft sand, so be prepared for a slightly tiring leg stretch.

 

High tide transforms the lighthouse into a minimalist photo, surrounded by the rugged North Sea and ideal for long exposure shots. As the tide goes out, a new photo opportunity emerges. Rows of stones perfectly line up in the foreground, creating a stunning leading line. But don't wait too long! At low tide, the too many seaweed-covered stones create a less harmonious composition.

 

For optimal photo conditions, visit during high tide in the late afternoon during summer (or earlier in winter) and watch the tide recede to capture the perfect moment.


18. portsoy

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Portsoy, a charming and authentic fishing village in Aberdeenshire, transports you back in time. Once part of Banffshire, it nestles on the Moray Firth coast, 50 miles northwest of Aberdeen and 65 miles east of Inverness.

Step into a scene straight out of the past: traditional cottages, weathered fishing boats, and a genuine pub (no fancy gastropub here) line the old harbour. It's a peaceful, sleepy haven, seemingly untouched by the pace of modern life.

 

This quintessential charm has attracted filmmakers too, most notably "Peaky Blinders," where the picturesque harbour transformed into the fictional French territory of Miquelon.

 

Keep your eyes open during summer months – you might even spot playful dolphins!
The Moray Firth, Portsoy's home, boasts around 130 bottlenose dolphins, the only resident population in the North Sea.

 

Parking near the harbour is easy. Come equipped with camera, perhaps a tripod, and wander along the harbour walls and piers. Relax with a pint in the pub (join the locals and drink it outside, leaning against the harbour wall). Every corner presents a photographic opportunity – narrow lanes or piers can serve as perfect leading lines in your compositions.

 

For dolphin spotting, pack your long lens and a dose of patience. Remember, nature sightings are never guaranteed, but the thrill of witnessing these playful creatures in their natural habitat is truly memorable.


19. portknockie

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Portknockie, a charming coastal village on the Moray Firth in northeastern Scotland, offers a picturesque scenery. While the village itself holds its own beauty, the true star of the show is undoubtedly the iconic Bow Fiddle Rock. This natural sea arch, aptly named for its resemblance to the tip of a violin bow, stands at 15 meters tall.

 

Reaching this natural wonder is easy. There is a designated parking area near the arch, followed by a gentle 5-10 minute walk to the rocky Bow Fiddle. Begin your photography from the clifftops, admiring the dramatic sea arch nestled amidst the rugged cliffs. Then, descend to the small, rocky beach below for a unique perspective from its base.

 

Remember, the tides play a key role in your composition. During high tides and stormy weather, access to the beach might be limited. Conversely, low tides may leave the arch less visually striking. The sweet spot lies just after high tide, offering both water surrounding the arch and fascinating foreground rocks to enhance your composition. The tide is going out very quickly here, so don't wait too long!

 

Both sunrise and sunset work well, yet even gloomy days present captivating opportunities. Experiment with long exposures to achieve a minimalist style.


20. Elgin

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Located in the heart of Moray, Elgin lies approximately 35 miles northeast of Inverness and 60 miles east of Aberdeen, nestled beside the River Lossie.

 

The town's most iconic landmark is undoubtedly the magnificent Elgin Cathedral, also known as the "Lantern of the North."
The Gothic-style cathedral was once a breathtaking piece of architecture, but was sadly ravaged during the Scottish Reformation in the 16th century. Despite this, the cathedral's imposing ruins continue to draw in many visitors, making it a great spot for photos during the day.

 

If you're visiting, there is a larger car park within walking distance of the cathedral.
After a leisurely 10-minute stroll on the roads, you'll reach your destination.

 

Once there, you have the choice of walking around the cathedral's grounds on the streets for free, which offers plenty of photo opportunities from every angle.
Alternatively, if you want to explore the historic remains and graves, you can enter the grounds for a small fee. Be sure to check the opening times before you go.

 

For the best photos, visit on a cloudy day to capture the cathedral's changing views in every direction.


Why the North East Should Be Your Next Scottish Adventure

 

I hope I've managed to make the North East of Scotland a little more appealing and inspired you to visit with your own camera!

 

I've travelled extensively in Scotland, and while everywhere offered fantastic photo opportunities, the North East truly captured my heart. The friendly atmosphere, largely untouched by mass tourism, is reflected in the welcoming locals, always happy to chat and not yet jaded by travellers.

 

I also loved having the photo spots mostly to myself, and I felt safe even after dark.

It struck the perfect balance between remote and picturesque landscapes and seascapes, yet offered convenient access to amenities like supermarkets, restaurants, and shops.

 

I can't recommend the North East highly enough – give it a try!

 

I hope you enjoyed this photographic guide. Thank you very much for reading!

 

Joana 

 

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