Wim van Velzen photography - landscape


Ullapool Achnahaird Knockan 1

Knockan 2 Knockan 3 Knockan 4 Knockan 5

Elphin 1 Elphin 2 Elphin 3

Oldshoremore 1 Oldshoremore 2 Oldshoremore 3 Oldshoremore 4

Polla Loch Meadie Altnaharra

Ullapool 2 Ullapool 3 Ullapool 4

If you can get a feeling of loneliness in Scotland, it must be here. Enormous rough landscapes looking like they have been empty and windswept since the beginning of the earth. Beautiful sandy beaches, islets and silent lochans. Sutherland has a lot to offer to walkers and nature lovers.

Nevertheless it should be remembered that a few centuries ago these lands saw far more people. In the glens there were numerous farming villages with their gardens, cattle and coppice. Till the moment the land 'owner', the duke of Sutherland, decided that the profit of his land could only be raised by replacing his Clansmen by the breeding of sheep: the Clearances. The removed tenants should find a living in fishing or emigrate to America.

For me this is more reason than I need to avoid the caddish Dunrobin Castle, castle of the Sutherlands. I mainly have burnt farm houses before my eyes and people who were forced to leave their ancestral lands. Each empty glen - however beautiful - is a accusation against the harshness of economical thinking at its worst.

In recent years there have been changes to the good: crofters succeeded to buy the land they always have rented and to manage it cooperatively. Large parts of the land are nature reserves now. I hope these are signs of a better future.