Bow Fiddle Rock – Marvel Arch

Bow fiddle

Sometimes you have to get your feet wet to get the perfect photograph.

Photograph: Daniele Carotenuto

Portknockie, on the Moray Firth, was once a busy fishing port, with up to 100 herring boats cramming into the harbour. Now it’s a good deal quieter, though visitors still come for dolphin watching and coastal walks, or simply to gaze in wonder at Bow Fiddle Rock, an extraordinary 50-foot quartzite arch in the shape of a violin bow.

The 650-million-year-old bow plays no melodies, but it provides housing for enough birds to create music of a sort. The constant cries of gulls are all part of the experience. Daniele Carotenuto took this picture during one of his frequent coastal tours.

He says: “Bow Fiddle Rock had been on my wishlist before I planned the trip. I aimed to get there at sunset to take a smooth, long exposure, but in the end I reached Portknockie as the sun was shining – and the wind blowing. I decided to try to catch the life and the colours of the strangely shaped formation emerging from the water in daylight. It was close to high tide, and I was trying to stay dry while getting a very low angle.”

He was pleased with the composition of the shot. The rocks in the foreground – far smaller than they look here – act as a pointer, guiding the eye to the main subject. The gull on the left-hand summit provides the finishing touch.

The sight is the perfect high point of a pleasant two-hour walk along Cullen Bay.

Find out more

The panoramic path starting at Portknockie is the easiest way to enjoy the cliffs and a view of Bow Fiddle Rock from above. A short descent leads to the pebbled beach just in front of the rock. For information on the area see This shot was taken using a 20mm prime lens and a neutral density graduated filter.

See more of Daniele Carotenuto’s Scottish images at

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