Mountain running in Scotland

In 2014, I was introduced to Donnie Campbell, a running coach and personal trainer from Edinburgh, Scotland (, during a shoot with Merrell Brand Ambassador, Doctor Andrew Murray.

Donnie Campbell specialises in long distance, or ultra running, which is commonly understood to cover distances over 42km. In 2011, Donnie ran 296km from Glasgow to his childhood home in the Isle of Skye in 44.5 hours - without stopping to sleep - and in 2015 ran 500km+ across the sand dunes of the Namib Desert with Andrew in just 9 days. This was on top of winning the 2015 Turkey Iznik 130km Ultra Marathon and placing 6th in the Skyrunner Series 80km Mont-Blanc Marathon.

Donnie and I have kept in touch. We headed out again recently for a running portfolio shoot, to the Loch Avon basin in the Cairngorms National Park, accompanied by Donnie’s wife, Rachael Campbell (also an accomplished ultra runner), and his friend Ross Lawrie, who ran Scotland’s 152km West Highland Way Race in 2015 for a children’s charity dressed as Spiderman (we took time out from our shoot to capture some images for Ross - a future blog on that to follow).

Location-wise, my plan was we would head to the West Highlands of Scotland and a mountain I’ve long had my eye on for a photo shoot but a prevailing low pressure system forced me to look elsewhere and we headed to the Cairngorms National Park instead. (I always plan multiple location ideas for a photo shoot so I can adapt to changing circumstances, which is fine as, North, South, East or West, Scotland has plenty great locations for outdoor sports photography).

In the end, we didn't get the spectacular natural light I'd hoped for (which is why I carry flashes and light modifiers) but the scenery and the athletes were fantastic. The most disappointing aspect of the day was when we found out the 'all you can eat' pizza and pasta restaurant in Aviemore was full. Gigantic hopes of an epic feed to wrap up the day, all dashed in an instant.

Update - Donnie's just announced details of his 2015 trail running camp in Costa Blanca, Spain. Find out more info at