Scotland's ever-changing scenery


In Scotland, the landscape is one of our great resources - whether for tourism, agriculture or industry. It has shaped the Scottish nation and, for all it appears a great wilderness, much of it has been shaped by us.

To illustrate this online, we used rephotography - the act of taking a new version of an existing photograph - to create a "then and now" view of a location. The two images can then be compared, highlighting what has changed and what has remained the same - select one of the six scenes below and use the slider at the top of the picture to see the same view through the ages.

Loch Tummel, Perth and Kinross, saw the Clunie Dam constructed in 1950, raising the water level by 14.7ft (4.5 m).

1888 2010

Loch Tummel, Perth and Kinross, saw the Clunie Dam constructed in 1950, raising the water level by 14.7ft (4.5 m).

1911 2010

The inhabitants of Old Slains, Aberdeenshire, supported themselves by fishing. In 1900, following several seasons of poor catches, it was largely abandoned.

1883 2010

Cleadale is on Eigg, cleared by compulsory emigration in the 19th century. The island was bought in 1997 by a partnership between the residents and the council.

1877 2010

Duchray Valley, Stirling, houses siphon pipes supplying water from Loch Katrine to Glasgow. Construction started in 1855 and the works was opened in 1859.

1853 2010

Burntisland in Fife saw a short-lived shale oil boom. The oil works were established in 1878 and closed completely in 1894.

1960 2010

Chapelcross, Dumfriesshire, was Scotland's first nuclear power station. In 2007, the cooling towers were demolished.

At one time, many Scots had a direct link to the land; they farmed it, fished it, took from it for fuel or shelter. Since the age of industry and urbanisation most of us no longer inhabit the landscape in the same way.

It's this changing relationship with the terrain around us - and mankind's impact upon it - that we wanted to explore in the Scotland's Landscape season. On television and radio, Professor Iain Stewart explored how the land, sea, trees and climate were shaped by a long history of human activity.

It's a project that has had huge resources to draw on. The Victorian era, when the landscape underwent many of its most radical changes, also saw the birth of the camera.

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Scotland was highly photographed. From early pioneers through to the newly leisured classes, scenes of Scotland were a a popular subject, leaving a rich archive of images from all over the nation.

Together with landscape photographer Colin Prior we selected some of these classic pictures, visited the same sites, framed the same views from the same angles and captured some very different scenes.

Since then, the public has joined in, finding the locations of images we have provided and taking modern versions.

Each pair of images has its own story to tell about how we have changed it: industry at Burntisland replaced by leisure, partly reclaimed by nature.

Duchray Valley, once stripped of trees to provide timber and fuel, now covered with managed forestry.

Even Loch Tummel, one of the classic tourist views of Scotland is an industrial site, the water level raised to provide hydro power.

Our relationship with the landscape may not always be as direct as it once was, but we still rely on it and we continue to shape it.


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