Santa’s Official Photographer

It’s been confirmed – Philip Dunn is now Santa’s Official Photographer!

I received a charming letter from Santa’s Chief Elf this morning to say that in recognition of my services to Santa over the past few years, I have been appointed as Santa’s Official Photographer.

It is now ten years since local boatman Gary Mckie and I first went to Santa’s assistance. The weather was dreadful: first the rain, then a snow blizzard and finally thick fog driven by a severe gale of wind.

Santa aboard boat to Kirkcudbright

Santa heads up river aboard 'Gallovidian' to meet the children at Kirkcudbright Harbour with boatman Gary McKie. Photograph by Santa's Official Photographer Philip Dunn

Even the most experienced navigator can get confused in those conditions, and Santa was no exception. He brought his sleigh down to a crash landing beneath the lighthouse on remote Little Ross Island out in wild¬†Kirkcudbright Bay. Gary and I were alerted by the Coast Guard and set out to sea to offer assistance in answer to Santa’s distress call.

Santa arrives Kirkcudbright Harbour

Philp Dunn's services to Santa have included helping him up the harbour wall on his arrival in Kirkcudbright. Judicious use of a boat hook from below has often proved encouraging

When we arrived on the island, we found Santa and his reindeer sheltering from the teeth of the gale behind the lighthouse cottages. Santa was a little bruised and shaken, but otherwise hearty. In fact, after a liberal dose of malt, he was soon his old cheerful self again. We left the reindeer chomping the organic carrots we had brought with us, got Santa into our boat, and brought him back into the harbour in Kirkcudbright.

Winter Wonderland
News of Santa’s arrival had spread – and he was greeted on the harbourside by hundreds of cheering children. The town’s pipers were there and they piped Santa through the town to a special grotto at the Winter Wonderland event in the Parish Hall.

Santa was so touched by his welcome and enjoyed his visit to Kirkcudbright so much that he has been back to Kirkcudbright every year since. He now has a proper landing strip on Little Ross Island and it has become a tradition for Gary McKie and myself to sail out to the island and bring Santa into the harbour to be met by the town’s children.

Of course, over the years the boat trips to the island have provided me with some wonderful opportunities to photograph Santa, and I do have quite a stock of super candid portraits. I have to say that he has been a little evasive about signing a Model Release, though. Maybe he’ll do that now that I’m Santa’s Official Photographer.

I’ll be heading out with Gary to Little Ross Island this Saturday 10th December and will be arriving with Santa in Kirkcudbright Harbour at 11.30am. Come and say Hello!


  1. No Derek, I’m just the man behind Santa with a camera and a boat hook

  2. Derek Jones says:

    And there was me thinking that is what you had your beard for to be the Kirkcubright Santa.

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