Jim Richardson @jimrichardsonng avatarJim Richardson

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Tossing a caber at a Highland Games is not for the faint of heart; it can be likened to running with a telephone. Actually it is an accuracy game, the object being to toss it so that it lands first at 6:00 on an imaginary clock and then tips over to land precisely on 12:00. Not easy. Sometimes not even doable at all. Once at the Glenfinnan Gathering (coming up tomorrow if you are lucky enough to be in Scotland) the lads just couldn’t get it to tip on over. So the call went out for a chain saw and they whacked off about a foot of the caber and went on with the event. Problem solved! #glenfinnan #scotland #highlandgames @natgeo @natgeocreative @hiddenscotland


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Ben Nevis on this beautiful morning long ago lived up to its billing as the premier mountain in Scotland. But only one of my pictures caught the bird. (I waited a long time for that bird.) The resulting image has always been one of my favorites, perhaps the reason why it was one of the very first greeting cards I created at Small World Gallery. (When I’m not wandering the Scottish hinterlands my everyday life centers around Small World.) I always felt pictures had to be seen to have a life so the cards and posters I print are a natural extension of my creative life — and an affordable way for folks to enjoy them. I don’t usually pitch stuff here but several of you asked about the availability of prints. So until I do an online print sale (coming, I promise) this might be an option. Click my profile link to see what’s available. Follow me at @smallworldgallery to see the rest of our life. (Not everybody’s cup of tea.) #scotland #island @natgeo @natgeocreative


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Highland games and gatherings are everywhere in a Scottish summer — and on everyone’s bucket list. Mine, too, when I first came here. A photographer friend guided me to Glenfinnan (“The surrounding landscape is spectacular.” Right on that point.) recommending the confluence of history, culture, geography and moody weather that sets it apart. But mostly it was the friendly neighborhood feel that surprised me and sucked me in. Not a big games, more like a county fair where they throw sledge hammers for fun. I’ve been back several times. And they are coming up this weekend, August 18. (If you go find a way to slip them a couple of extra pounds. Fundraising to keep things going is always a challenge in wee places like this.) #scotland #highlandgames #outlander @glenfinnanscotland @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative #highlands


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I told you the other day that there is just one road on the Isle of Muck. This is it. It goes all of one mile across the island to Lawrence MacEwan’s farm. Scotland is famous (infamous?) for its one track roads (replete with passing places) in remote regions, but this goes one better: two “tracks” with no passing places. If you meet someone coming the other way just pull off into pasture, avoiding any nearby sheep. And don’t worry, you won’t get lost. Watch out for the seals that haul out on the rocks. @natgeo @natgeotravel #scotland #hebrides @hiddenscotland #islandlife @natgeocreative


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Since many of you seem to be taken with the horses of the Isle of Muck I thought you might like to meet their owner. Looking at Lawrence MacEwan on top of his island, being blown by a gale, you might think he’s as wild as his horses. In truth he is a lovely, gentle man, devoted to his island. If you were to have a laird then Lawrence is the laird you want. (Unlike nearby Eigg in the background that suffered under atrocious ownership until the disgusted islanders bought the island for themselves.) For me Muck will always be a place of goodness. @natgeo @natgeotravel #scotland #hebrides #isleofmuck #island


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Scottish islands are often otherworldly and so it was on this day on the Isle of Muck, looking over to Rum. The horses were kind to me, sometimes friendly to a fault, other times wandering off across the beach (Kelpies going back to the sea?) Muck had 39 people when I was there, holding its own in an improbable world. It looks to me like they now have five ferries a week in summer. If bad weather cancels the ferry you’ll be stuck there another couple of days eating island lobster. Can’t take your car but the only road is just one mile long so that’s not a big problem. @natgeo @natgeotravel #scotland #hebrides #island @natgeocreative #hiddenscotland


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Scottish shores tug on me with their myths and legends. Kelpies (shape-shifting giant horses) are just one such. The Isle of Muck is a good place to look. Don’t obsess about all the details. A hint or two will do. We’re preparing a story for National Geographic Traveler including some of the best of Scotland. #scotland #hebrides #kelpies #island @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative


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Scottish shores conjure up plenty of myths and legends, like stories of Kelpies (shape-shifting giant horses) coming out of the sea. If you were looking for one you might try the Isle of Muck where the views over to Rum almost always include clouds swirling around its peak. We’re preparing a story for National Geographic Traveler including some of the best of Scotland. #scotland #hebrides #kelpies #island @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative


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The massive Ring of Brodgar sat astride the ritual path going down the narrow Ness of Brodgar between Loch Harray (left) and Loch Stenness(right.) Neolithic folk living in Orkney 5,000 years ago entered one side and traveled through it on their way down to the “temple” site being excavated now. For more follow @nessofbrodgar to see the dig happening. @natgeo @natgeocreative #orkney #scotland #standingstones #neolithic #aerial


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Today the Ness of Brodgar is a narrow finger of land between Loch Stenness and Loch Harray. But 5,000 years ago it was a vital center of Orkney’s ritual life, the pathway between the living and the dead. The huge complex of buildings that is being excavated may have once covered much of the land you see here, and even included some structures that are now underwater. Dig season is going on right now and you can keep track of the finds by following @nessofbrodgar I wish I were there. @visitorkney @visitscotland #scotland #orkney @natgeo @natgeocreative #ancient #island #aerial #worldheritage


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Threave Castle sits on an Island in the River Dee, the picture of tranquility on this evening years ago when I first came to Scotland. Swans whisked by in the silent evening as the moon rose. Actual history is somewhat different. Built by Archibald the Grim (I envy that name) in the 1370’s and held by the Black Douglases (like that one,too) who were too powerful for their own good. King James II couldn’t let them thus dominate as Lords of Galloway and so an army and a siege put an end to that. (There was a bombard involved but NOT Mons Meg. Sorry.) There’s more, of course. Juicy stuff. I was reminded of this calm evening as I searched my files for castles for our upcoming National Geographic Traveler story on Scotland. @natgeo @natgeotravel #scotland #history #castle #moonrise #evening @natgeocreative


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The Kelpies in Scotland are amazing. These stainless steel statues of the mythical, shape-shifting horses tower 100 feet above the Forth and Clyde canal in Grangemouth. They are lit with color from the inside. I was there shooting on assignment for National Geographic Traveler for an upcoming feature on Scotland. @natgeotravel @natgeocreative #scotland #kelpie


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