Isle of Harris Distillery – Off The Beaten Track

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The Outer Hebrides: Off The Beaten Track


The remote and unspoiled Outer Hebrides hold some of the world’s most iconic landscapes, but there is much more to explore away from the tourist trails. Hidden views and rare vistas, secret corners and hard-to-reach places, get off the beaten track to capture the wilder side and singular spirit of these beautiful islands. (See below for what the judges will be looking for.)

The winner will receive a truly fantastic a genuinely unique prize consisting of a Gin making experience for two where you will spend the day at the Isle of Harris Distillery making and bottling your own bottle of gin, followed by lunch at the Distillery.

Please note: There are no additional fees for this award. Your image is automatically entered into this category if it is a view of any of the Hebridean islands. This category is not open to youth photographers or under 18s.

Last year’s winner was Martin Watt.


What are the judges looking for?

The judges are looking for an image of the Hebrides that is not one of the iconic views, so as the title suggests, it means getting away from the tourist hotspots and capturing the essence of the Hebrides through your lens. This could be a ruined or working croft, the flora and fauna such as the Machair flowers or any scene of sea, land or towns that depict the Hebrides. Please note: It is well documented that there are many ruins across the Hebrides. Under no circumstances whatsoever should you enter any ruined property without permission, cause damage to that property, take or remove items from the property. The SLPOTY rules are in accordance with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and all photographers should respect the code.

The judging will be carried out by staff of the Isle of Harris Distillery, and they will be looking for an image that captures the beauty, drama or spirit of the Hebridean Islands. The choice is entirely yours, but the image must be of a Hebridean Island.

Please note: The Scottish coast for all its beauty can be a dangerous place and you should not take risks, endanger yourself or others in pursuit of your images. You should always be aware of tides and any hazards in and around our coastlines. If photographing in a CalMac port or any other area, you must not put yourself or others in danger.

The following should be used as a rough guide as to what we are looking for:

  1. Wide vistas such as sweeping beaches, sea lochs, views of rugged cliffs.
  2. Images depicting the character and lifestyle of the hebridean islands. People may be included as long as they are not closeups or posed.
  3. Animals as part of the image, undisturbed and in natural surroundings. No closeups or posed.
  4. Seaside towns and ports, buildings as part of the seascape such as castles, ruins, bridges etc.
  5. Images of the landscape of the islands, mountain ranges etc.
  6. Objects as part of the seascape such as boats, standing stones, historical relics.

We are not however looking for the following:

  1. Images of privately owned stately homes.
  2. Images of government buildings, installations or naval ships.

Acceptable media

Both film and digital images are allowed but your submissions should be in digital jpg format only via the competition website. Film images may be submitted from scans of colour transparency, black and white or colour negatives. Film images should be processed as per “digital adjustments and processing” section.

Digital Adjustments and Processing

Digital adjustments are allowed and there are no limits but should be kept within reason and should not alter or affect the integrity of the image.

The following digital adjustments are acceptable:

  • Dust spot removal
  • Curves & levels, Shadows/Highlights
  • Contrast
  • Sharpening
  • Converting to black and white acceptable
  • Cropping – cropped image must be acceptable quality at A4 without interpolation (digital upscaling)
  • White balance correction
  • Colour balance changes
  • Digital ND grads
  • Exposure changes
  • Global and local saturation
  • Dodging and burning
  • Stitch panoramas
  • Multiple exposures – images must be taken at same time and place
  • HDR allowed
  • Blending images from a bracket sequence allowed

Unacceptable digital adjustments

  • Adding, moving or removing elements from your image. e.g cloning in clouds, trees etc
  • Composites and montages of more than one image
  • Blending multiple images from different times of the day
  • Focus stacking


Respecting the environment.

A key aspect of the SLPOTY ethos is to show care for the environment and to respect the interests of others. When out and about taking your photographs for the competition, we respectfully ask that you abide by the Scottish Country Access Code. Links to the Country Code are listed below.

Country Code Summary

Country Code in Full