The Serentity of the Solway Firth
Our B&B owners are lucky enough to live in some of the most beautiful places in Scotland. None more so that Julie and Nic Pearce who run the Four Star Gold Waterside Rooms in Dornock on the Solway Firth, Dumfries and Galloway. In this Blog, Julie shares her passion for photographing the ever changing scenery literally on the doorstep.
Nic and I have been running our B&B for years now and we love meeting new people and sharing our part of Scotland with them. In the summer months when we are busiest, there is little time for hobbies, but our situation here on the shores of the Solway Firth means I can always indulge in my passion for photography.
Our home sits on a bank close to the shoreline and has views right across the firth to the Lake District and Skiddaw Mountain, Port of Carlisle and Bo’ness. The firth is 2 ¼ miles across and our home faces due south meaning we enjoy terrific sunrises and sunsets. The light and wide open spaces are what excite me most about photographing the Solway firth….you can literally stand in the same spot for an hour and take 50 different picture.
The meeting of freshwater and seawater means that we get a wide variety of land and seabirds. This, coupled with the huge expanse of shoreline which appears every day provides a fertile feeding ground for Oyster Catchers, Shellduck, Heron, Curlews, Lapwing, Redshanks, Dunnocks, Dunlings, Egrets, Crested Grebe, Black Headed Gulls, Red Shanks, Terns….the list is endless and ever changing. We are lucky to have large flocks of starlings and are frequently treated to impressive murmuration displays. As the firth sits on both the Gulf and jet Streams it is a popular route with migratory birds, particularly huge flocks of Barnacle Geese.
Traditional wildlife photography does not excite me, whereas the way the birds fly in and add a new dimension to an already beautiful scene really does. I love the way the birds skim the surface of the water, creating ripples in the calm surface….the way they dance and create patterns in the sky….the way they can make a sunset even more spectacular.
There is so much to inspire here and the sense of history around fishing and the traditional methods that are used provides opportunities for atmospheric and unique pictures you just could not get anywhere else.
I particularly like photographing the Stake nets which are briefly revealed during low tide, before they disappear again. There is something quite ancient about seeing the nets emerging from the water either as the sun goes down or in the mist of dawn.
Even more eerie are the remains of stake nets from the past….their nets are long gone, but the wooden stakes that held them can still be seen.
With the encouragement of my husband and friends I have started to exhibit my work in local galleries and businesses. The positive reaction to my pictures persuaded me to invest in a 44” Epson large format inkjet printer, which allows me to print my work on to cotton canvas. I now accept commissions from local businesses wanting to showcase the local area and scenery, sell my work on line and of course to the guests who have stayed with us.
I also love to help our visitors with their photography and advise them on where the best shots might be had, when the light might be just right or even alert them to something I just spied out of one of our windows…..although it might be a race for who grabs their camera first! For those that get the perfect shot, I can print their work on to canvas for that one off souvenir of their stay in Scotland.
The Solway Firth really is a daily inspiration and I don’t think I will ever run out of ways to photograph it.
You can read more about the Waterside Rooms and book a stay on our website