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6 Jul 2018

Capturing the summer solstice

Chris at House of Dun
On the longest day of the year, we went out to photograph our members, volunteers and visitors enjoying the summer solstice.

Since moving from Canada to Scotland nearly three years ago, I have made it my mission to see as much of this beautiful country as possible. Fortunately, my job has provided me with exactly that opportunity and I leapt at the chance to join the team behind the National Trust for Scotland campaign #LoveOnTheLongestDay and travel for two full days across Perthshire, Angus and Aberdeenshire.   

In the garden at Crathes
In the garden at Crathes

Cameras in hand, my colleague and I set off to capture Trust members, volunteers and employees enjoying the summer season at a variety of Trust places. Along the way, we met some enthusiastic members, including one who gladly chatted our ear off about the amazing plant varieties at Crathes Castle, before leaving us to explore and meet with the volunteers keeping everything in tip-top shape. We sauntered up Drum Castle’s square tower, adorned with new stairway lights and spectacular 360 degree views, and even met some fellow Canadians standing in awe at the sight of Castle Fraser, with its tree-lined walkway and massive tower house.  

Crathes Castle
Crathes Castle
Meeting plenty of nice people along the way
Meeting plenty of nice people along the way
Fantastic views from the top turret at Castle Fraser
Fantastic views from the top turret at Castle Fraser

We finished off our first day at House of Dun, and although I had visited it once before, I did not expect I would one day be staying on the property, in the North Stables, overlooking the house and its expansive green grounds. Using our cameras, we attempted to capture the jaw-dropping sunset with only the sounds of nature keeping us company. We could not help but take a few moments to appreciate just how stunning it all was. We had the property entirely to ourselves, save for a herd of wonderfully curious cows, which made for a truly memorable experience.  

Sunset at House of Dun
Sunset at House of Dun
Curious cow
Curious cow

The next morning our goal was to wake up at sunrise, to capture from the onset some shots of the grounds on the longest day of the year. It turns out that 6am was not nearly early enough ... but we tried our best. Each of the following properties held within them some wonderful little moments, like Kellie Castle which just so happened to be hosting a garden drawing class. At Falkland Palace, we met some chipper garden volunteers enjoying the sunny day outside, before heading off to explore the cobbled streets of Culross.  

Sunrise on the grounds of House of Dun
Sunrise on the grounds of House of Dun
House of Dun front
Drawing class at Kellie Castle
Drawing class in the garden at Kellie Castle

We set off on our road trip to film Trust places and their visitors, but along the way, the trip became so much more. We met some incredibly passionate volunteers, proud Trust members, and visitors from around the world, all of them enjoying the stunning sights and sounds. The sun was out on the longest day of the year and, as we had hoped, the campaign demonstrated just how wonderfully lovely Scotland is.

Cobbled streets of Culross
Cobbled streets of Culross