Wednesday, 29 September 2010

More photos from Scotland holiday

More photos, in no particular order. Just trying to catch up with everything. Will post more recent news soon.

The wind farm near Edinbane, Skye

view from campsite, along the loch, near Edinbane

View from our campsite, near Edinbane, Skye

The cottages in the harbour at Portree, Skye

Dd blending in with the coloured cottages

View from Portree coachpark

Trees in the grounds of Dunvegan Castle, like something out of Harry Potter.

When trees without leaves look this green, you can bet they get alot of rain.

Lichen, lichen everywhere. Or is it a type of moss? Bizarre stuff all over the trees at Dunvegan castle gardens and elsewhere in Skye

view across Loch Dunvegan, Skye, from campsite

Driving along. 'Old Man of Storr' in the distance, Skye (and no, this isn't a postcard!)

Long and winding road, Skye

Road into the mountains, Skye

Yet another brooding sky on Skye. A photographer's dream.

View of campsite across Dunvegan Loch, Skye

Amazing autumn-coloured seaweed!

Dunvegan Castle in the rain

Talisker distillery, Skye

View of the river flowing into Dunvegan Loch

dh and ds1 and 2 climbed to the top of the hill and waved

And...the journey home...

Running along a beach near Morecombe

Shells, everywhere!

A beach near Morecombe

And the tide came in fast

Do you think they get alot of offshore wind around here?

Eric Morecombe at Morecombe

Eric Morecombe

A curry at Morecombe

Walking across the rocks on the beach near Morecombe

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Our travels in Scotland- we have internet connection at last!

Ok, very quick post which will mostly consist of posting up a selection of the many photos I have taken so far.

At the moment we are in the north of the Isle of Skye and have spent around a week on the island. We're currently near somewhere called Edinbane, alongside the Greshornish loch.

The place we arrived at today is fairly typical of the Caravan and Camping club campsites we've stayed on - you are put on your allotted space, instructed exactly where to position your guy ropes and given a list of rules and regulations. The site manager was even supervising me loading the washing machine through the laundry room window, him with the blue sweatshirt and matching trousers and his little walkie talkie. I'm wondering if I need to get a permit to fart. Perhaps there is a certain quota of methane that I am allowed to emit and any more than that and I will be taxed (or possibly banned from eating beans).

That's not to say that all our campsites have been like this. We stayed at a wonderful small site just over the bridge of Skye, near Lower Breakish, which had a compost toilet and a lovely breezy shower in a wooden shed AND the campsite manager positively encouraged the use of campfires. We stayed 3 nights and perhaps would have stayed longer, but the terror of the midges finally beat us into submission (we were unable to go outside of the tent before 10am or we were eaten alive). Dh, ds1 and dd were least tasty, but after 3 nights ds2 and 1 looked like we had a serious case of chickenpox. I'm still itching. Constantly. Though to be fair we're not weaklings; even the Scots were admitting that this is the worst they've known the midges for years. I don't think I've ever experienced anything quite like it.

The coast up in the north of Skye is craggy and rugged...think basalt columns, rock falls, hard tufted grass and heather and some very sturdy sheep. The sand in places - where there is actually sand rather than just rocks - is almost black.

The locals seem very friendly, though to be fair we've not come across many born 'n' bred Skye folks, or even many Scots since we've been here. For example today we met a guy who is a nurse and alhtough he's been serving rural communities for 20-odd years, including Skye and The Shetland Isles, he originally came from Blackpool and still has his original accent. My overriding memory of our last visit to Scotland about 15 years ago was being unable to understand many of the people I encountered - some had accents so strong and dialectual quirks that I could barely contribute to a conversation. This doesn't seem to be the case this visit. Have all the Scots left Scotland? Or with the mixing and diversity that is part of modern life are all our accents blending into one?

Apart from the midges (and the tick I removed from the dog today) we haven't really encountered any bizarre wildlife. Mostly we've seen sheep and highland cattle and many many birds. It makes me realise how devoid our neighbourhood back home is of birds. We've seen some large birds of prey from a distance which may - with a little imagination - have been eagles. They have reintroduced Sea Eagles to some of the smaller islands near Skye, so perhaps we have viewed some of these. Or perhaps they are just your everyday buzzard. My bird book doesn't even include Sea Eagles among its comprehensive list, so we will continue to imagine that we have seen this rarity.

One of the most beautiful places we've been so far is probably the Glencoe area in mainland Scotland: we stayed at The Red Squirrel campsite right next to the river and among the mountains. Also the Cuillin hills (the Scots might call them hills, but they sure look like mountains to me) and the Trotternish area, both on Skye. They must be an artist's dream: layer upon layer of hills going into the distance, which on the skyline look like a painting in shades of blue and grey. After these past week or two we've started to become increasingly immune to the scenery. Whereas we would leap out the car at every bend to take a photo of a mountain or a waterfall or a falling down house, now it seems we've taken more to just looking out the window and saving the photography for outings and special places of interest.

Anyway, the photos below are just a selection of the ones I've taken. They are in no particular order...simply because it would take to long to rearrange them and I fear that my laptop battery may die before then. I've tried to title them where I can.

Museum of Island life, Skye

Staffin bay, Skye

Staffin Bay, Skye

Staffin bay, Skye.

Huge lichen, covering all rocks around Skye, especially Staffin area. Must have taken hundreds of years to produce.

300ft waterfall (see below)

300ft waterfall, East coast of Skye

Staffin bay, Skye

The Vindolanda, Hadrian's Wall

view near Hadrian's wall

Hadrian's wall

Hadrian's wall

Sunset viewed from our campsite in Lower Breakish, Skye.

Eilean Donan Castle, near Loch Alsh, Scottish mainland.

On route to -er -somewhere


View from our tent, Red Squirrel campsite, Glencoe.

Ice climbing (ds2 and dh) at a centre in Kinlochleven

dh ice climbing.

view of loch leven, Scottish mainland.

Loch leven, Scottish mainland.

Loch leven

'Neptune's staircase' - series of lock gates on a canal, near Fort William, Scottish mainland.

Loch Lomond, Scottish mainland.

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond

Bridge of Orchy (I think)

Bridge of Orchy (?) - paddling

And then dd fell in!


Loch Lomond

View from our campsite in Glencoe - cooking on the fire, Ray Mears style!