Showing posts with label lunga house. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lunga house. Show all posts

3 April 2012

Lunga House Wedding Photography with Anne & Andrew

Last weekend was a busy few days that included a trip west to Lunga House south of Oban to photograph the wedding of Anne and Andrew.

The fine weather that we had all experience last week had departed but although dry and sunny in the evening it was a tad chilly during the day resulting in the ceremony being indoors instead of in the garden.
Lunga House is one of my favourite venues it's small, intimate and just a bit different to many other country houses. Meg and Les at the house did a fantastic job of making everybody feel welcome and at home and Carole's seafood platters she had created for dinner looked amazing.

Anne and Andrew you had created a wonderful day for your family and friends to enjoy and share your wedding day with, I hope you enjoy a long and happy marriage together.

Here are a few of favourite images from the day.

If you were a guest at the wedding and would like to view a few more photographs, please contact me.


7 February 2012

Kilbrandon Church and Lunga House Argyll - Diary of a Bride

I recently asked a few of the couples I photographed this summer if they would write a piece for my blog about their wedding day. I wanted it to be in their own words as if writing a diary entry not just about me their photographer but the build up to the day and the day itself.

This week were are back up the west coast of Scotland with Carole and Stephen who were married Kilbrandon Church on the Isle of Seil and Lunga House in September, over to them...

As all brides know, your wedding day is one of the most important events in your life and it has to be right. So we spent some time thinking about, and thought, well what is a wedding all about. It is a more searching question than you think. Is it a party for the relatives, is it a show where you are the main star for the day, or do you want to be on a production line on some south sea island beach, beautiful though it may be, but certainly to be shared with others in white dresses in the queue? And why does it have to be the traditional procession.

Thinking about it, we came to the conclusion that a wedding was none these. It was really all about committing our love to each other, and just importantly it is a happy romantic day without a care in the world. Nothing to do with what anyone else wants, a day for us!

So we searched the world north and south and we searched the Web and Google for hours. We are both outdoor people who love the countryside and fresh air. Through all our searches and deliberations, the old Scottish manor house at Lunga gradually popped out. How wonderful would it be to go to the spectacular scenery of the Highlands, stay in haunted castle on our own, get married in a little church on an island, go to your wedding and back by boat and live on champagne all day. Just the two of us, no relatives, no speeches, no ties and no stress. So that is exactly what we did. 

The challenge was making the dream a reality, the idea was to fly to Scotland on the Saturday, get married on the Tuesday and a have a few days off exploring the Highlands for the rest of the week, walking in the mountains and getting lost in the glens. As we all know, it is all down to planning!!!! 

Winding forward six months, we arrived in Inverness in a little plane from London and moseyed on down the Great Glen to Fort William on the way, saying hello to the Loch Ness Monster, rowing on Loch Awe and getting our paper work sorted out in Oban. On Sunday we went completely mad. We climbed to the top of Ben Nevis with phone chargers, three cameras and wedding rings and all, coming back like a couple of cripples with so many aches and pains we could not move. When we got back to the hotel in Fort William at 7.30pm, the best bit was the chilled bottle of champagne in a full hot steamy bath. The worst bit was the challenge in getting down the stairs, only one floor (without a lift) to the restaurant for a massive fat steak burger and a fish and chips. Never have we been so hungry and never has food tasted so good.

Monday was supposed to be a quiet day. On our way via the bureaucrats in the births, deaths and marriages office in Oban, we met Kenneth Ross, the Reverend, such a lovely man, for a cup of tea and chat, to get to know each other before the big day. 

Soon after leaving the vicarage, we turned down the road to Craobh Haven, and then up the winding dirt track to Lunga House What a wonderful place, tucked away in its own gardens, almost back to front as it faces away from the sea. We met by Meg and Les, and shown to the Island Room, the best in the house and home for the next 3 days. It was quite fantastic, large lounge with a lovely Edwardian bed at one end and views on two sides looking over the sea, where we could see Mull and the Isle of Seil, five miles away, what a fantastic view. You can even see the marina at Craobh Haven, just down the road.

After our antics up Ben Nevis the previous day, fresh fish and chips at the Lord of the Isles Restaurant in Craobh Haven and an early night was called for. But during the night, the wind started to get up and the rain was lashing on the windows. In the morning, the day the wedding, we woke up with the full force of a Scottish Hooley coming up from the south. What a picture, black clouds steaming in reflecting off a very stormy sea.

A hearty Scottish breakfast and bottle of champagne was called for. Soon after, Carole our wedding coordinator arrived and took some photos. A few minutes later a phone call from the hair dresser, still in a coffee shop in Lochgilphead, she did not arrive, so to plan ‘B’, a whole bottle of hair spray and batten down the hatches for the storm to come. Nick, our photographer was next to arrive, as was coming over with us on the boat. We had chosen Nick because his photographs stood out. He really captured the atmosphere and the personalities of the people on the day.

After a bottle of champagne, we checked with Duncan, the salty sea dog who was going to take us to the Isle of Seil by boat, were we up for the ride ?

Carol looked stunning in her white wedding dress and pink wellies, prepare for the voyage of a life time. The day started to unfold as we headed, in the wind and the rain, down the track to Craobh Haven to get the boat. There was Duncan in his full ollies, ready to do battle with the turbulent seas. Thinking how were two cityites from Surrey going to cope with the full force of the Scottish weather. 

The boat trip was a rollercoaster, a full storm force 8 with waves crashing over the boat, but we were both used to boats and having the time of our lives. The scenery and the atmosphere were stunning, such an experience.

After 40mins we arrived at Cuan, at the southern tip of the Isle of Seil, a small beautiful island just off the west coast. From Cuan we had to walk a mile up the hill to the church up a lovely beautiful lane. It was so lovely having this time to stoll up the road and chat with each other with not a care in the world, we are getting married today!! Not any old day.

Nearing Kilbrandon Church, as we neared the crest of the hill, we were met by Ian the piper, he too in all his wet gear and pipes all blazing, ready to go. As the pipes got louder, the church came into view, until we mounted the last incline up to the front door. At the church the pink wellies came off, and lovely pair cream of shoes took their place. 

The Reverend Kenneth Ross and the organist conducted a very moving service as we took our vows and exchanged our rings. It was a very moving moment, filling the church full of joy and happiness, just 7 of us, the reverend, the organist and Carole and her husband as the two witnesses. We were now married, Mr and Mrs, 6th Sept 2011. We will remember that moment in the church for as long as we live.

As Mr and Mrs we retraced our path down the road back to the boat, Ian leading the way with the pipes blowing their music with steam out of every orifice. As we left the church, the weather stopped blowing and a big patch of blue sky appeared overhead and followed us all the way to Cuan. Singing, dancing down the road with Ian leading the way, holding up the local bus, cars stopping to take pictures, what a wonderful day. 

At Cuan, the old sea dog was ready to take us back to Lunga. The ferry had to wait for wait for us to leave, hooting its horn and the people on board cheering us on. Once safely on board, another bottle of champagne had to be opened. Duncan had mellowed a bit by now that he knew his charge could cope with the worst the Scottish weather. It was a very special trip, just Duncan, Nick and ourselves sharing such a special moment.

Back at Lunga, we had some time to ourselves, and the house, to share some time together at the new Mr and Mrs B. Carole had arranged for another bottle of champagne and some canap├ęs to keep us going to our wedding meal. We had the run of the house, the Victorian bath, playing the piano in the ballroom and the old organ in the lounge, wow a whole Scottish castle to ourselves. 

Later, that evening we went back to the lord of the Isles Restaurant where Carole had arranged a table and cooked a special meal for us. Along with another bottle of champagne, we had scallops and lobster followed by a hearty Scottish pudding, finishing with wedding cake made by Carole and a few whiskies. 

What a wonderful day. It was so much fun, we just relaxed and it all just unfolded one piece at a time. And by the fourth bottle of champagne and a couple of whiskies, it all merged into one. We thank you all.

In looking back, it was such a special day, dreams do come true, and it is not only about the planning, it is all about the people on the day, may be for our wedding only a few, but we touched so many more. We were very privileged to those involved and can only say our thanks. We will never forget it. And Nick did a fantastic job in capturing those memories as they were, not just another set of photographs on another wedding day. A job well done. 

Next stop, backpacking across India for the Honeymoon!!

11 January 2012

Diary of a Bride - Lunga House

I recently asked a few of the couples I photographed this summer if they would write a piece for my blog about their wedding day. I wanted it to be in their own words as if writing a diary entry not just about me their photographer but the build up to the day and the day itself.

This week were are at Lunga House in Argyll with Maggie & Ollie who were married in October 2011, over to you...

"The man who says that his wife can't take a joke, forgets that she married him." Oscar Wilde

After the long drive up to the house, and up the bumpy track we arrived. The lights were on, and the door open, but the house empty. It is hard to describe the excitement and simultaneous nervousness opening the door. The nervousness disappeared within seconds; the excitement continued as we went in and started exploring. Lunga House was incredible.

The truth is we live in Singapore, and whilst we used to live in Edinburgh, and Maggie is Scottish, and we had sea kayaked in the area, we had actually never clapped eyes on the place until three days before the wedding. Madness? Maybe. Foolhardy? Most brides would argue yes. A leap of faith? Most certainly. You see, we had never made it back in time to see the place, for a variety of reasons, some better than others. We were however quietly confident that we had picked just the right place for us. We were right.

Living in Singapore and organising a wedding 6,000 miles away is do-able, you just need to adjust your outlook, and approach. Our wedding planning was one in which the age of technology came into it's own, a heady world of time differences, skype, emails, expensive phone bills and internet research. We set up a website on which we could keep people updated, and let them request songs for later on after the ceilidh. We were able to co-ordinate most, but not all, from Singapore. However, regardless of how much time and effort you plan ahead there will always be an almost unseemly scramble at the end, as many different parts gets drawn together, all funneling together for the Big Day. Although even more so when some of things you want to see or get can only be done a few days before the wedding. Thankfully were relatively relaxed about the whole thing. By the time the Big Day came, we were happy, exhausted but buoyed up by arriving friends and family. We were also in need of a drink. A large one.

Lunga House was frankly the best venue we could have had, without a doubt. We didn't want new and polished, we wanted character, uniqueness and somewhere to welcome friends and family for more than one day. We had the run of the house, cottages on the estate, and rooms at the pub for people to stay. There were some hardy campers, and some who had found nearby B&Bs. At Lunga the staff were incredible, the attention to detail superb, and the setting spectacular – Meg, Les and the team, thank you again. After all this was more than a wedding, this was a chance to catch up with family and old cronies. We stayed five nights with most people being around for two nights, and we were lucky enough to welcome people from Australia, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean to Lunga.

The day itself was clear destiny. It hadn’t escaped our attention that the morning of the wedding was England vs. Scotland in the Rugby World Cup, with passionate supporters on both sides attending. Screening of course at the house and at 0830hrs drew a lively crowd. Given that the Future Mrs. Warner was Scottish, and Mr. Warner is English, there was clearly always going to be a lot riding on this. Would it set the future tone for the marriage? Given the score, Mr. Warner hoped so, but quietly knows Mrs. Warner won’t concede to that.

Then it was full speed ahead for ceremony preparation. Maggie retired with champagne and her ladies. Mr Warner and the Best Man Harry dilly dallied a bit, and then got on with the serious business of ironing and a couple of snifters. Before long the piper was out on the lawn, playing, and it was time.

Given the time of year we were left wondering whether the weather would be kind enough to let us get married outside, our first preference. Frankly though even if it hadn't have been we would have probably made everyone lean into the wind to watch us saying our vows. We walked onto the lawn, past family and friends, the piper leading the way, to under the Yew tree where a table had been set out, along with his and hers Lunga tweed covered chairs. An old chaplain colleague of Maggie's married us, with some wonderful readings, and a harp player under the tree. The ceremony was very personal, funny and touching – Ewan you did a cracking job. After the vows a minor drama arose as everyone looked attach other asking where the register was. Alas, still in the house. The Best Man was dispatched to high tail it back up on foot, locate, and bring back like a whippet. Bride and Groom smiling, posing for shots with most people none the wiser. Then the piper led us back up to the house for champagne and mojitos.

We of course wanted some unusual wedding touches. We had custom designed tea towels made to give as wedding favors, playing on the Royal Wedding earlier in the year. We wanted a minimal numbers of flowers to go to waste, so all the flower arrangements on tables were in terra-cotta pots, for people to take-away. The bouquets were to look “just plucked”. The meal was vegetarian (we heard later this was a cause of some consternation in the village, allied with that we were from Singapore - we still giggle at that). The wine was all Scottish fruit wine. The meal was absolutely sublime (Carol thanks again).

With the sun setting Nick discreetly pulled us out of the fray to head down to the pier to get some sunset shots, overlooking nearby islands. These are some of our favourite shots. It was a tense few minutes trip down with poor Nick’s car taking a hammering down the bumpy track to the pier to make it in time before the sun disappeared.

Neither of us are wildly fond of fruitcake or wading through icing, so our wedding cake was tiers of west country cheeses. We managed to find in Portugal some vintage port, from the year we were born, and get that ready to serve with the “cake”. Cutting was with a polished cutlass from a wall. 

There was a little bit more in terms of background drama in the run-up. It is no secret that we both dearly love our travel. However, it came as something of a surprise that our rings did too. We had them made in London (by an ethical jeweler), and then had them shipped to Singapore. The drama came, when the tracking system wasn't updating their location, they hadn’t arrived in Singapore, and were shortly to be headed back to Blighty. To cut a longer story short, they arrived in Singapore after we had left. They were then sent back to the UK, and we watched with bemusement as we charted their progress back. From Singapore, to China, to Kazakhstan, to France, to London and then to Scotland. Arriving less than 24hrs before the wedding. Phew.

The first dance was strip the willow, all involving. The band played brilliantly, and then with a break for stovies (adorned with left-over “cake”) we carried on. After the band had finished DJ iPod had flown in all the way from Singapore, and stepped into the breach, with our favorite songs, and requests (filtered) from guests on a pre-sorted playlist. This was a crowd-pleaser to keep things going. The party went on well into the small hours.

We think we proved that you can have an immensely special day, with some spontaneity, after all the friends and family there are gathered with the expressed purpose of wishing you well, and want the whole thing to be a success. A key thing that did make life easier was having it all at one location – Lunga – and guests enjoyed this as well. In short, it was an immense gathering of friends and family. Moving and hilarious in all the right parts. 

Nick was the ultimate in invisibility, seamlessly gliding around. We are mystified as to how he managed to move so quickly to get the different shots, and enormously pleased with what he delivered.

 Thank you Nick.

4 October 2011

Lunga House Wedding with Maggie and Oliver

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing Maggie & Ollie's wedding at Lunga House in Argyll. They had travelled from Singapore to the west coast and had never seen the house before they arrived last Thursday! A big leap of faith, but Lunga lived up to and exceeded their expectations!
Family and friends had made the journey (from all corners of the globe) to spend the weekend at Lunga and the weather gods were certainly looking down on them. It was a pleasantly warm day that produced a stunning sunset to help create some memorable portraits pictures. It was a bit nerve racking as we were watching the sunset whilst driving down to the pier, but we managed to catch the last few minutes of the beautiful colours in the evening sky.

Here are a few of favourite photographs of the day.

If you were a guest at the wedding and would like to see a few more, please contact me.


9 March 2011

Lunga House Wedding Venue Spotlight

Over the course of the next few months I will be publishing articles on the venues that I am a preferred wedding photographer to. To get the
ball rolling I thought I would start with Lunga House in Argyll, the house I used for my own wedding.

For those of you not familiar with Lunga House or indeed you have never heard of it, the house is located on the West Coast of Scotland in Mid Argyll, 20 miles south of Oban and 18 miles North of Lochgilphead. From Glasgow head towards Loch Lomond and then turn left onto the A83 at Tarbet and keep going for 70 miles. It takes around two and quarter hours from the west end. From Edinburgh it takes around three and half hours, head towards Stirling and then cut across on the A84 eventually you will arrive in Oban and then its only 25 minutes south from there. Both routes take you through some of the most scenic countryside in the country so its always best to take your time.

Lunga is the ancestral home to the MacDougall Clan. Until recently Colin Lindsay-MacDougall the Laird lived in the house but he decided to hang up his social hat and handed the reigns to Meg and Les Macleod, who own the pub in the village. Their hard work over the past two years has brought the standard of the house and the service it can provide for weddings and other social events up to the highest standard, providing everything and anything you would like to have for your special day.

Lunga House itself is situated above the village of Craobh Haven, which is a purpose built Marina Village. The village has several fantastic self accommodating cottages and houses that could be rented if Lunga can't accommodate all of your guests, it also has a large pub which is a great location to meet your family and friends for a few drinks and dinner the night before your big day. It truly is a beautiful place, the marina is nestled between small islands that have been joined together to create a large harbour with views looking North towards Mull and West towards Jura and Scarba. If you walk up the hill behind the village you will have views all the way down to the Paps of Jura and beyond in the South.

To get to the house simply turn off the A816 (the road between Oban and Lochgilphead) when you see the road signs for Craobh Haven and Lunga House, follow the signs past Craobh that leads you to the Lunga track and the house itself. The house is available for 2 nights exclusive use and has 14 beautiful bedrooms sleeping 28 in double/twin rooms. Most of the rooms are large and many can accommodate an additional bed or two, the staff at Lunga will be happy to arrange this for you if required. There are also three additional cottages which sleep between four and six people each. Religious / humanist ceremonies can be held at Lunga, there are also several lovely local churches including Kilbrandon, Seil, Kilmartin and Ardfern. Capacity for dining in the ballroom is 100, for larger events a marquee can be arranged on the lawn.

I hope you have found my scribbles useful and you are inspired to look at Lunga for your wedding, contact Meg or Carole (the wedding planner) at Lunga for further information by email, or give them a call on 01852 500237. Lunga House, Lunga, Craobh Haven, Argyll PA31 8QR.

I have added a few pictures below that I have taken over the last few years of the surrounding area and photographs that I have captured at weddings at Lunga. If you would like any further information from myself regarding photography at Lunga House, please do get in touch


Looking West with the Village of Ardfern in view with Jura and Scarba in the distance.

Looking North towards the mountains on Mull.

Lunga Bay Looking South West with towards the Corryvreckin between Jura and Scarba.

Flada Lighthouse to the North of Craobh Haven.

Ardunie Pier a few minutes from Craobh Haven.

Bubbles before the ceremony!

A wee dram downstairs to calm the nerves.

Arrive in style by boat.

Lunga Bay.

Outdoor ceremonies are possible at Lunga.

In the gardens.

On the pier.

and indoors too!

The grand hall banquet style.

Remember it's all about you!

The grand hall seats a maximum of 100.

Down at the pier.

A few portraits later in the evening.

And onto dancing

Lunga House is truly a fabulously romantic location, a few hours from the major cities but in the heart of Scotland.