Brittany and Tyler’s Loch Coruisk Adventure Elopement.
Getting married by the black waters of Loch Coruisk, nestled between steep dark mountains on the remote south-western edge of the Isle of Skye, isn’t just about being by the loch itself, it’s also about the journey to get there. Brittany and Tyler made a particularly long trip, all the way from Canada, to be there for their Loch Coruisk adventure elopement. They then drove the five hour journey from central Scotland all the way up to the Isle of Skye. Just to finish there are the final 15 miles of single-track road to the edge of the world at a stunningly beautiful and remote village called Elgol.
Driving into Elgol you are aware that you’ve arrived in a very special place. Elgol is a village where wild stags are regularly seen pillaging people’s gardens and you sometimes have to wait for the hairy, and well-horned, highland cattle to clear the road so you can pass (as in this short film I made for Dominic and Catherine when they also eloped to Skye). And Elgol isn’t even the end of the journey. Whilst it is possible to walk to Loch Coruisk from Elgol it takes about 4 hours, passes over boggy moorland, through herds of feisty haggis and involves navigating the treacherous Bad Step so, to be fair, it’s probably not the ideal way for a bride and groom to arrive. Luckily for everybody there are little boats ferrying people across Loch Scavaig and Brittany and Tyler had chosen the wonderful Misty Isle boat trips and the zippy Eilean a Cheo boat in particular. I can honestly say, without any connection whatsoever to the firm, that the Misty Isle were such a great company and I’d highly recommend them. The skipper put up with my 100s of questions and kept us well fed with tea and biscuits. I enjoyed it so much that I am going to go back ASAP with my wife Fiona when I’m off duty.
I had already been photographing a wedding in Glenfinnan (a long way from my house) a couple of days before so I had been camping in Arisaig and caught the much bigger ferry from Mallaig to Skye earlier that day. I left the campsite that morning in the rain and arrived in Elgol in the most beautiful weather I could have hoped for. Travelling over to Loch Coruisk across the calm blue sea with the Cuillin Ridge as a backdrop it was easy to forget that I was actually there do take some photographs. It was one of those days that really didn’t seem like work at all. I am in a fortunate position now, after almost 20 years photographing weddings in Scotland, that I can be more picky about the jobs I take on. By focussing more and more on adventurous elopements I am really enjoying the creative freedom that comes with working alongside very small wedding parties (indeed often just the couple themselves) and being in very interesting locations. Working outdoors has its own challenges but that is a small price to pay for the potential benefits. Nearly half my 53 weddings this year are little elopements and I couldn’t be happier.
After spending 5 minutes watching the seals flop off of the rocks and glide under our boat through the clear water of Loch Scavaig we landed at a jetty and walked the short rocky path to the loch itself. At that time of the day (around 4pm) we had the whole place to ourselves and chose a little rise close by the loch side for the ceremony. The ceremony, presided over by the lovely Davina McCluskie included a very Scottish hand-fasting and a drink from the traditional quaich was fine until the wind picked up from out of nowhere at a critical time but we all survived and, hey, it wouldn’t be Scotland without a breeze or two. It kept the midges away as well. As there were only five of us I was asked to be an official witness and was more than happy to help. These days my elopement clients often ask me to perform the task of witnessing their wedding and I am always more than happy to oblige and, of course, there is no extra cost either.
We spent 25 minutes or so after the ceremony making a few more photographs to capture the dramatic splendour of Loch Coruisk itself and the Cuillin mountains behind before heading back to the boat for the return tip and a surprise bottle of champagne that had been dangling on a rope in the sea to chill it perfectly.