Higher Lands

This body of work is a study on youth culture in the Highlands of Scotland. I spent 5 years living in Scotland, during which time my best friends were from a small town called Kingussie in the heart of the Cairngorms. I was always fascinated by their stories of growing up in such a unique environment. As a city boy, I could associate with some of their tales of girls, drinking and parties – but then there were some stories that I found incredible – experiences that I found hard to imagine a city kid ever really understanding. With this in mind, I have tried to pick up on these conflicting elements; on one hand the embracing of the landscape, and on the other the gradual encroachment of more mainstream social and cultural issues.

Bus stop, near Thurso, Caithness. Bus stop, near Thurso, Caithness.
Glen Feshie, Badenoch Glen Feshie, Badenoch
Ewan, Kingussie - Ewan, Kingussie - 'For me, this is what being home is all about. It doesn't matter how old I get, being in the highlands is about dondering through the hills in the snow or jumping into the river from Feshiebridge. I have a sense of belonging here'.
Kids and their dogs, Kingussie. Kids and their dogs, Kingussie.
Winter view from Kingussie Barracks. Winter view from Kingussie Barracks.
Swimming in the Feshie River. A few miles from Kingussie, Feshiebridge is a well known local swimming spot. From the stone bridge, it Swimming in the Feshie River. A few miles from Kingussie, Feshiebridge is a well known local swimming spot. From the stone bridge, it's a 5 metre drop into the icy mountain waters.
Local girls at the Clan Macpherson gathering. Each year in the town of Newtonmore, Macpherson Local girls at the Clan Macpherson gathering. Each year in the town of Newtonmore, Macpherson''s from all over the world gather to partake in the traditional Highland games. In recent years, the fair that surrounds the games has grown in size.
Local kids line the front row as The Peatbog Faeries take to the main stage at the Tartan Heart Festival, near Inverness. Local heroes the Peatbog Faeries mix rock music with traditional Scottish instruments - bagpipes, violin and flute. Local kids line the front row as The Peatbog Faeries take to the main stage at the Tartan Heart Festival, near Inverness. Local heroes the Peatbog Faeries mix rock music with traditional Scottish instruments - bagpipes, violin and flute.
Kiss - Tartan Heart Music Festival Kiss - Tartan Heart Music Festival
Main arena, Tartan Heart Music Festival Main arena, Tartan Heart Music Festival
Perimeter fence, Tartan Heart Music Festival. Perimeter fence, Tartan Heart Music Festival.
'To be honest, apart from festivals like this, it pretty much sucks up here'
Friends. Friends.
Brothers. Brothers.
'Where's the hat from? Dunno... I just found it in my tent...'
'I'm here with all my friends. We've been looking forward to this all summer'
'Aye, I've not slept!'
'A photo? of me? oh... okay...'
'can you get my wellies in the picture? they match my coat'
'We're going to see Kate Nash. She's amazing. Have you seen her video on MTV?'
Garmouth (sucks). Near Elgin, Moray. Garmouth (sucks). Near Elgin, Moray.
The Boys, Elgin. The Boys, Elgin.
British Bulldog, Elgin. British Bulldog, Elgin.
Putting up the gazebo, Roseisle Forest. Putting up the gazebo, Roseisle Forest.
Crisps and Pop, Roseisle Forest Crisps and Pop, Roseisle Forest
Drinking Ribena, Roseisle Forest. Drinking Ribena, Roseisle Forest.
Buried alive, Roseisle Beach Buried alive, Roseisle Beach
The Girls and The Boys, Roseisle Beach. The Girls and The Boys, Roseisle Beach.
Darkness falls over the North Sea, Roseisle Beach. By introducing the local kids to the natural ecosystems and environment on their doorstep, the youth workers hope that their horizons can be broadened beyond their immediate neighbourhood. Darkness falls over the North Sea, Roseisle Beach. By introducing the local kids to the natural ecosystems and environment on their doorstep, the youth workers hope that their horizons can be broadened beyond their immediate neighbourhood.