After leaving Irvine, I drove on to Portencross – one of my favourite photography locations. Unusually, I didn’t settle on the pier itself; instead, I walked on along the rocky shoreline which ultimately leads to Hunterston. Finding a good spot, I made this long exposure of two and half minutes.
..We went up to the top of the highest hill and stopped Still It was just so beautiful.. This is where the shadows come to play twixt the day And night Dancing and skipping Along a chink of light..
– Kate Bush ‘Somewhere In Between’
An uninspiring visit to one part of the west coast put me in the mood for a return to Portencross, further up the coast. It was getting late and the sun was soon to impale itself on the peaks of Arran before dying for another day; and as it did so, it threw the last light across the water, transforming and becoming like molten gold, caressing the large rocks of the shoreline and setting them ablaze.
Begun sometime around 1360, Portencross Castle has a long history and was the setting for the signing of a number of Royal documents in the time of King Robert II. From the 1600s, the castle was inhabited by local fishermen until the roof was lost in a storm in January 1739. More recently, a local group called The Friends of Portencross Castle set about refurbishing the place – now, it opens to the public for periods during the year.
It is said that Portencross Castle was the last resting place of the great kings of Scotland. Legend has it that they were transported via the castle on their way to Iona, for burial. They lay in state at Portencross Castle for a short time.
Photographically, the castle adds a new dimension to the wild rocky shoreline of the area, a good focal point and interest in the landscape. In this particular image, the approaching storm provided a very good backdrop to the structure of the castle, and it was perfect for conversion to monochrome.
This is the final of three images taken today at Portencross on the Ayrshire coast. Perhaps not surprisingly, I decided to convert this image to monochrome and I like the final result. Like the other two shots, this was an exposure of two minutes using a 10-stop ND filter, with a graduated ND filter to balance out the sky.