How many enthusiasts are willing to ‘go the extra mile’ to capture a new photographic angle in a digital world saturated by ‘same old’ shots? Eric Schofield is undoubtedly one of them. On a recent holiday in Arran, an island he knows better than most ship lovers, Eric set himself the challenge of finding a new perspective on a familiar ship.
For those like me who do not live at the coast or in the immediate vicinity, opportunities to go on a ferry trip, or even to photograph vessels in action, have been extremely limited in the period since March 2020, when the first Covid lockdown began.
The gradual easing of restrictions offered the possibility of a Clyde coast holiday earlier this month — in my case at Whiting Bay in Arran, the location of so many family holidays in the past.
Like most enthusiasts, as soon as I was ‘on the spot’ I began to size up the photographic opportunities. I decided to set myself the challenge of recording on camera a small but notable change in CalMac’s timetable — the introduction of intermediate Brodick calls by Isle of Arran on her Thursday and Friday evening runs to Campbeltown.
The challenge was all the more stimulating because, despite my long acquaintance with Arran, I could not readily think of any suitable vantage point.
Images of the ship at or near Brodick would not do as it could clearly be argued that such photos could have been taken on one of her many journeys to or from Ardrossan. There seemed little prospect of finding a spot where foreground or background would assist in determining the ship’s relative position.
Nevertheless, on the second evening of our week’s stay, I left my wife watching Wimbledon on TV, and set out on foot to see if somewhere could be found that might just fit the bill.
The only landmark that is even remotely close to the route from Brodick to Campbeltown is Dippin Head but, as the estate around that area is private land, there seemed little likelihood of being able to incorporate the headland as the foreground in any of my images.
Nothing daunted, and wandering well off road or track, I eventually discovered a fallow field, not inhabited by crops or livestock, that allowed me access to a spot where the upper section of the 300-ft sheer cliff at Dippin Head was visible through surrounding trees and vegetation.
This would have to do, I decided. I knew this would not be a ‘close-up’ shot: Isle of Arran would be well out at sea as she rounded the southern tip of the island en route to Kintyre. On the plus side, she would not be as far out as she is when on the direct Ardrossan-Campbeltown crossing.
All that was needed now was for the weather later in the week to play its part. Come the Thursday, it looked promising if somewhat hazy, the distant Ayrshire coast being almost lost to view. And so I made my way to my ‘secret’ vantage point, making sure I was in position early enough to capture the photos displayed here.
For me, the feeling as I made my way back to Whiting Bay was one of ‘challenge met’. I had secured the photos I wanted. Like many enthusiasts in similar holiday situations, I could return home satisfied not only by the pleasure of discovering a corner of the west coast I had not previously known, but by a fresh photographic angle of a familiar and well loved ship.
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Published on 12 July 2021