The Lazy Duck at Nethy Bridge

So after my epic adventures in America I then retreated up to Aviemore, via a small wedding in Perth (to be blogged about soon), to stay with Walter and Lucy at Inshriach House in anticipation of a wedding I was covering there at the end of the week. Lovely Polly (who owns The Dell of Abernethy cottages which I blogged about here) asked if I would photograph the latest accommodation addition at her parents place, the Lazy Duck at Nethy Bridge, the Woodman's Hut.  The cottage is super cosy with a wood burning stove and a cute box bed which can be closed up at night and has a skylight for stargazing, and windows out into the woods and across to the Caingorms for lazy mornings in bed with a cup of tea.  I had almost finished up there when the sun came out in a last blaze of glory before dipping down behind the mountains and it was absolutely lovely.

The bit at the end is an outdoor shower...

The Lazy Duck Hostel...

Some Lazy Ducks...

Lucy + Simon's highland wedding at Inshriach House

When I met up with Lucy and simon in the summer in Super Pizza on Brick Lane I was delighted - here was a couple with strong creative ideas and lots of input as to the type of photography they wanted. Roll on a few months and I arrived up at Inshriach House, nr Aviemore to find full hands on deck for their homemade village fete style wedding. The marquee on the lawn of the main house was bedecked in the brightly coloured, many metres of bunting that Sophie had worked tirelessly on for the Insider Festival, long trestle tables ran the length, covered with linen and sackcloth and scattered with purple vetch. Wild flowers were in a mix of cut glass vases and jars and the crockery and cutlery were mismatched. Unique place names (the arrangement of which were still being decided on hours before the ceremony!) were handwritten seed mats which could be taken home and planted. As I captured the details in the morning both the bride and groom were wandering in and out seeing to last minute arrangements.

Lucy didnt emerge from the bathroom until about an hour before the ceremony and slipped effortlessly into a trailing vintage style lace dress and enormous platform shoes (Lucy is very petite and Simon well over six feet!) and then I dashed on ahead to meet Simon at the Old Bridge Inn opposite the church - St Aidan's.

The cars were supplied by Bygone Drives in Aviemore with the bride arriving in a beautiful 1954 convertible split screen Morris Minor and her three gorgeous sisters, who were the bridesmaids, in a Bentley.

Whilst the signing of the register took place Lucy's sisters sang and Lucy and Simon peeped out to watch, both very moved. This is a couple so deeply in love that it's expressed strongly in their every interaction, so much so that I was moved to tears just watching them (it's something of an occupational hazard).

I always knew the the couple photographs would have the most spectacular backdrops. I could have shot there all day and we didn't even make it to the farmyard (chickens, tractors, festival props etc) but we did stroll through the fields and past the squash court and bothys.

The owners of Inshriach, Lucy and Walter Micklethwait, perhaps inadvertently,  come as part of the venue fee and are untiring in their efforts to ensure that a wedding on the estate runs like clockwise with nothing being too much trouble (picking vetch at 7am on the wedding day, extra lighting for photobooths at 11pm at night etc) So much so that the grateful bride usual insist they join the guests for the party.  As this bride told me, unlike other venues who are quick to discuss costs and curfews during an enquiry call, Walter simply enthused that a wedding at inshriach is 'amazing!' - sales pitch enough for an openminded couple with imagination.  Where possible they encourage the use of local or connected suppliers (such as myself - I have been going to Inshriach for 10 years) which gives any event a homely and personal touch.

The food, which had a very Scottish flavour, including venison stew and cranachan was supplied by Taste of Moray.  The cake (made by Lucy's sister, layers of coffee and fruit and nut cakes trimmed with wild flowers) was cut and it was onto a waltz for the first dance, played in by Ali and Hazen et al of Ord Ban Music who followed up with a good old barn storming ceilidh (which yours truly couldn't resist joining for a very extended Dashing White Sergeant.

I ended the night with an hour in the teepee cum photobooth with guests scratching out messages for the couple on the blackboard.  It's the first time I've done a photobooth but I really think it brings out the exhibitionist in guests - well, that and a belly full of wine, love and happiness...

(If you were a guest at this wedding, you can view the full album here.  The password is the surname of the groom).

A week in the highlands

I'm just back in Surrey after a wonderful few weeks in Scotland.  I like to combine work and pleasure where possible so I meandered up North after Tara and Folarin's wedding in Bedford for a couple of Glasgow weddings and finishing up in Aviemore at Inshriach House - one of my favourite places in the world.  I'll be blogging about the wonderful home-made wedding that Lucy and Simon had up there on Saturday night but I thought I would post a few pictures of the delightful Inshriach landscape taken for the Location Scotland website - taken in between hoovering the house ready for wedding guests, washing a smelly Monty-dog and cooking for Walter and Lucy to earn my stay in the 'Summer Palace' (see the last picture for my cosy home for the week).  I shot a fashion story up here last autumn and the place is just brimming with amazing locations including the Spey, numerous bothy's, a squash court, a victorian dog shed , vegetable garden and a mini loch - all within a stone's throw of the main house.  It's also home to the amazing Insider Festival in June.  Many thanks to Walter and Lucy for their hospitality, wine and for turning my electric blanket on full in anticipation of my late night arrival :) From top:  Cottages, loch, squash court

From top:  Caingorm Mountains, Loch, Inshriach House (with teepee and wedding marquee in background)

From top left: Squash court and bothy, river Spey, Victorian dog shed, 'Beer Moth'

Official residence:  Summer Palace

Before leaving I popped in to The Dell of Abernethy to take a few pictures for Ross and Polly of their new home which they have taken over running near Nethy Bridge. It has six stone cottages attached to the house which you can visit all year round and is an awesomely quiet and beautiful spot perfect for exploring the Caingorms.