Lensman focuses on lyrical landscapes in Campbeltown talk

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A Scottish landscape photographer sold out of his £28 book and proved he is not just an ace behind the lens at a witty Campbeltown talk.

Dougie Cunningham spoke to Campbeltown and Carradale’s camera clubs, as well as invited guests, about his recently published guidebook, Photographing Scotland, at the Ardshiel Hotel’s Arran lounge recently.

Dougie entertained a capacity crowd for nearly two hours with the tale of producing his 600-page book, which is illustrated with 800 photographs.

Dougie said: ‘My contract with the publisher was for two years from start to finish but they were understanding and it spread to four years.

‘It involved travelling thousands of miles in two motorhomes and umpteen ferries.’

Although the initial contract took four years to fulfil, it was the impetus Mr Cunningham needed to start travelling round the nation’s best landscape locations.

He said: ‘I sold my car and bought a VW T4 builders’ van and spent another £400 making it roadworthy. As it was blue my young niece named it Sully from Monsters Inc.’

The van became his base for the multiple trips but proved quite unreliable with many calls to the RAC. Mr Cunningham also found Scotland is a vast country.

‘Scotland is not small as everyone says,’ said Mr Cunningham, ‘I remember the words on the floor of Central Station – “Scotland is the Best Small Country in the World,” – it is not when you are in a campervan stuck behind a car towing a caravan heading to the far north.

‘The van broke down on Barra and the RAC rules are that it has to be towed by an authorised RAC garage.

‘I called up and the operator said go back and wait in your van and we will have someone out to you in a few hours.

‘I was quite sceptical but after a couple of hours a white panel van turned up and one of the men who emerged asked if I had tried turning the key.

‘It dawned on me that they were not mechanics and the other said they had been sent by an RAC garage in South Uist with instructions to push me onto the ferry.

‘Just down the hill, towards Uig on Skye, Sully’s head gasket went and once again I returned to Glasgow with the RAC and the van in bits.

‘I had seen so many RAC vehicles the next van I bought was bright orange and my niece named it Nemo.’

‘Perhaps one of the most beautiful places I photographed was Islay. So many distilleries which it would be rude to drive past.’

Mr Cunningham added: ‘When I have an opening night at an exhibition it is a great way of spending £200 on wine for a bunch of people you are never going to meet again.’

The highlight of Scottish landscape photographer Dougie Cunningham’s visit to Kintyre was being snapped with Carradale’s most famous resident, Neenie MacDougall. Rachel Grant on the right has been accompanying Mr MacDougall to Carradale Camera Club for 19 years. 25_c15photographer01_Neenie_MacDOugall