Scotland. Nine Memories.

My late father was Scots so naturally I have an attachment great affection for the country and have been visiting since forever.

It would be impossible/stupid to try and describe all the place has to offer in one post so I’ll just use a selection of nine images chosen from a hard drive that’s bursting at the seams with Scottish imagery. There’s no theme to the choice, apart from all being taken in Scotland (obvs), they just brought back memories or there was something about the shot that either appealed at the time or struck me later, you know that thing that you didn’t notice because you were so engrossed in getting the shot it only catches your eye later when you sit back and look at them again in a more relaxed frame of mind.

The headline image is of a rainbow spanning the waters of Loch Rannoch, it was taken on the first day of that year’s holiday, a nice good omen for the fortnight’s break ahead.

Enough words, to the photos.

19/08/14 EDINBURGH.  Publicity Can Be Dangerous.

EDINBURGH. Walking around Edinburgh when the Festival and the Fringe are in progress you can somethimes come across the most unusual and startling sights. The Fringe production ‘Riptide’ earns some dead good publicity amongst the tourists on the Royal Mile.

CROMARTY. The Harbour.

CROMARTY. Sitting at the head of the Black Isle is the small port of Cromarty, facing across the Cromarty Firth. The Firth is a maintenance base for the North Sea oile rigs and it’s not unusual to sea one of these engineering monsters towering over the gentle folds of the surrounding landscape.

28/08/14 SCOTLAND. The Black Isle. Munlochy Clooty Well.

THE BLACK ISLE. A tree at the Munlochy Clootie Well. The tradition is to dip a cloth, a cloot, in the nearby well and then tie it to a nearby tree while making a wish. Some people get carried away by the odd atmosphere around the well.

190810 DUNKELD View from the bridge 3

DUNKELD. A favourite place which I’ve used as a base for touring around Scotland, it sits on the A9, the main north south road and well as A roads that give easy acess to the east and west. The nearby railway station means you can be into Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness with ease. In the semi ruined cathedral, part of the nave still serves as the parish church, is the grave of the Count Roehenstart, grandson of Bonnie Prince Charlie who died in a carriage accident while touring through the area in the 1850’s.

200811 CORGARFF CASTLE

CORGARFF CASTLE. This fascinating castle, dating from the 16th century sits on the lonely Lecht Road which leads from Strathdon to the town of Tomintoul. After a checkered history, it was burnt down in a dispute in the 1570’s, it was rebuilt as a military instillation after the Jacobite uprisings, it was at this time that the castle gainedn it’s impressive star shaped defensive wall. open to the public and worth a visit.

200811 LOGIERAIT Farmers Market Ceilegh Band

LOGIERAIT. A little to south of Pitlochry on the A9 is the village of Logierait where they hold a monthly Farmers Market. A ceilidh band busks for local charities among the stalls of local produce and local gossip.

270510 GLASGOW The Botanic Gardens The Kibble Palace, the glass corridor2

GLASGOW. The Botanic Gardens. This is the interior of the Kibble Palace, a magical sequence of glasshouses origonally built by the Victorian entrepreneur John Kibble at his house on Loch Long. In the 1870’s it was sold to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. It was comprehensively restored in the early 2000’s and hold a collection of tropical and subtropical plants.

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DUNKELD. A personal favourite is The Hermitage; once the pleasure grounds of the Dukes of Atholl. This is Ossians Hall a folly built to overlook the falls of Linn on the River Braan. A sequence of walks leads through the Hermitage to give breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

 

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On The Move. Six Random Shots

I imagine every photographer will be familiar with this scenario. You are working through your photo files and an image catches your eye. You may have seen it countless times before, you will remember taking it but this time around it hits you with that other ‘something’ that makes you sit back in your chair while you try and analyse what it is that caught your attention.

Here’s a small selection culled from a recent house keeping session on the photo files.

The featured shot was a grab shot with my mobile ‘phone. I was hurrying to catch a train at Earlestown, one of my local stations, the route had been electrified a couple of years ago and the parapet of the footbridge had been raised with heavy duty glass panels as a safety measure. The pattern of raindrops caught my eye as I crossed, damn I’d seen it and I couldn’t walk past it as I knew I’d regret it for the rest of the day. The camera was out of harms way in my rucksack so out came the mobile. Shot taken I went and caught my train (just), I tried a couple of filters on the image but I kept coming back to black and white, so here it is.

That’s the back story for one of these shots, you can put your own to the rest.

13-09-18 MANCHESTER. Castlefileds Canal Basin.

MANCHESTER. Castlefields Canal Basin, a pre railway age transport hub where the canals that kick started the city’s industrial pre-eminence came in to connect with the manufacturies and warehouses in the area. Tellingly here the canals are overshadowed by the viaducts of the railways that lead to the canal’s demise.

19-08-18.  LYTHAM. On Parade.

LYTHAM. On parade for the jiving in the Square during Lytham’s 1940’s weekend.

19/10/18 LIVERPOOL. Exchange Square.

LIVERPOOL. Shadows moving across Exchange Flags in Liverpool, the heart of the city’s business district.

06/10/18  LLANDUDNO. In Memoriam Of Ginger.

LLANDUDNO. Across from the Great Orme Tramway station a life passed is remembered.

22/09/18  MORECAMBE. Heysham Head. The Rock Cut Graves.

MORECAMBE. The rock cut graves on Heysham Head overlooking Morecambe Bay.

 

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Birmingham. The Jewellery Quarter, Waiting For A Tram.

I took a trip down to Birmingham a few days ago. It’s a city I enjoy visiting though as yet I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of the place. I’d had a good look around, finding places I had visited before and seeing what changes had happened since my last time there.

I had been using the trams system to speed up getting around, the West Midland Metro, currently it links Birmingham with Wolverhampton with extensions to the system underway or planned.

I was on my way back to the city when I broke my journey at the Jewellery Quarter, the cities famed area for all that glitters and glistens. After a little bit of window shopping, all I can afford at this time of year! I headed back towards the tram station. It was while I was waiting I noticed that the light was beginning to take on that glow that happened when the natural light and the street light start to hit a sort of balance, plus a light fog began to form as the temperature slid down and night time slid in by the back door.

I took this shot just as my tram into the city rumbled into the platform, stations of any kind always have a romance to them for me. Those hints of travel, of other people’s journeys. This was added to as a train pulled into the adjacent rail platforms, full of people being about their business on a cold Saturday evening in January.

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Welshpool. An Unexpected Journey.

It was towards the end of October and the weather had picked itself up from the grey doldrums. Not wanting to waste this bonus of sunshine I took myself off by train. I had decided to go down to the Welsh borderlands and travelled on to Chester and then Shrewsbury. It’s a pleasant, easy journey that I’ve taken quite a few times.

From Shrewsbury I decided to head out to the market town of Welshpool, it sits on the Montgomery Canal and it’s an area I know little if anything about. If nothing else it would be an interesting journey, I would have a meal and pick up ideas for next years when the longer, warmer days return.

The journey out wasn’t a long one and the station at Welshpool is not too far from the town centre. The old station building is no longer in use by the railway but instead is now a shopping centre in the renovated building.

I knew that Welshpool was served by one of the many preserved narrow gauge lines that are a feature of Wales, the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, so I made my way over to the station at Raven Square to see what information was available for future planning. The railway has it’s beginnings in attempts to increase access to the farms and villages in the valleys higher up in the hills and at one time it ran right through then town to the station on the main line. Unfortunately between it’s closure and reopening at the hands of volunteers the stretch through the town was lost.

When I got to the station, it’s not a long walk and it was a really pleasant day, I found that I was only fifteen minutes away from a departure so I took advantage of this stroke of luck and had an extremely enjoyable journey along the valley of the River Banwy to the terminus at Llanfair Caereinion and a lunch in the pleasant station cafe.

It’s definitely on my list for a revisit in 2019.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL. The Powysland Museum.

WELSHPOOL. The Powysland Museum on the Montgomery Canal. The museum has its roots in the Powysland Club which was formed in the 1860’s by a group of like minded souls who had in interest in the history of the area, since 1990 the museum has been based in the warehouse alongside the Mongomery Canal. the canal is undergoing a proces of restoration after many years of decline where stretches of it became un-navigable through a build up of rubbish or by draining.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL. Broad Street.

WELSHPOOL. Looking up Broad Street, one of the main shopping streets in the town. In the distance is the tower of the town hall, the town’s market which is open Monday to Saturday, is housed in the ground floor of the town hall. Up until the early 1830’s Welshpool, four miles from the border with England, was known simply as Pool, the Welsh was added to avoid confusion with Poole in Dorset.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL & LLANFAIR Light Rly. Welshpool Raven Square

WELSHPOOL & LLANFAIR Light Rly. Welshpool Raven Square Station which lie just on the edge of the town centre. Originally when built the railway carried on through then centre of Welshpool to link up with the main line at the Cambrian Railways station on the opposite side of the town. The station buildings were obtained from Eardisley in Herefordshire and rebuilt to form the Raven Square station.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL & LLANFAIR Light Rly. Welshpool Raven Square

WELSHPOOL. The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s Raven Square station, the two o’clock departure to Llanfair Caereinion gets ready to leave. Because the railway’s guage of 2’6″ is an unusual one in the UK the railway has sourced carriaged from abroad giving the trains an individual and continental look.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL & LLANFAIR Light Rly. Welshpool Raven Square

WELSHPOOL. The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s Raven Square station, the two o’clock departure to Llanfair Caereinion gets ready to leave. Loco 823 Countess swaps ends for the jopurney back up to Llanfair. The loco is one of the two original locomotives built for the line’s opening in1903, the other being the Earl. Their names are in honour of the Earl and Countess of Powis who were heavily involved in the beginnings of the line.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL. Refilling The Boiler.

WELSHPOOL & LLANFAIR Light Rly. Welshpool Raven Square Station refilling the boiler of loco 823 Countess ready for the next journey out to Llanfair. There’s a lot of heavy work involved in running a light railway.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL& Llanfair Light Rly. Through The Trees.

WELSHPOOL. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, running through the trees near Llanfair. The railway takes and eight mile route from Welshpool to Llanfair Caereinion along the valley of the River Banwy.

20/10/18  WELSHPOOL& Llanfair Light Rly. Lineside.

WELSHPOOL. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, lineside views near Sylfaen.

20/10/18  LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railwa

LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. 823 Countess at the country terminus and headquarters of the railway.

20/10/18  LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railwa

LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. loco No 85 a former Sierra Leone Ralways locomotive built by Hunslett of Leeds. The loco is currently awaiting restoration.

20/10/18  LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railwa

LLANFAIR CAEREINION. Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. The station at Llanfair, headquarters and engineering base for the railway. The attractive little village is situated by the River Banwy which can be enjoyed by a series of walks from the station.

 

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SHEFFIELD. Night In The City.

The clocks are changing back and the year is helter skelter-ing its way to an end. Before the days get too short to travel far I took a train trip over the Pennines to Sheffield. It’s a city built on hills with a history built on the steel industry, parts of which still survive today though modern industries are playing a larger and larger part in the local economy.

Though some of the heritage architecture is going there are still fascinating pockets of interest dotted around and about. One of my reasons for this trip was to try out the new tram train which now links Sheffield with nearby Rotherham, its an extension of the city’s existing tram network and is a combination of light rail and a repurposed heavy rail route. One of those good ideas that everybody says in the way forward but then disappears into the swamp of focus groups and consultations etc. Well its up and running now, for a period of evaluation. Go figure. It works, try it, it’s good.

I was making my way back to Sheffield’s railway station when I took these shots. It was a Saturday and in that ghost period between the shoppers having gone home and the party animals not yet arrived for a night out.

Enough words, bring on the pictures.

03/11/18  SHEFFIELD. The Peace Gardens. The Fountains.

SHEFFIELD. The Fountains in the Peace Gardens on Pinstone Street by the Town Hall.

03/11/18  SHEFFIELD. Tudor Square.

SHEFFIELD. Tudor Square with the Crucuble Theatre and The Lyceum Theatre.

03/11/18  SHEFFIELD The Globe Howard Street.

SHEFFIELD. A beacon in the gathering dark on Howard Street stands the Globe Pub, an easy walk down the hill to the railway station and on the edge of the student quarter.

03/11/18  SHEFFIELD. Arundel Gate.

SHEFFIELD. A bus speeds the Saturday shoppers home to their warm firesides as the evening closes in.

03/11/18  SHEFFIELD Sheaf Square.

SHEFFIELD. A silver water featrure wall, made of the steel that gave Sheffield its fame, leads down Sheaf square to the railway station.

03/11/18  SHEFFIELD Sheaf Square. The Railway Station.

SHEFFIELD. Sheaf Square, blazing with lights, the railway station welcomes the weary traveller on a cold night.

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Chorley. Waiting For The Bus.

Even though I’m a car owner I still like to use public transport regularly, either the bus or the train. I welcome the change from being the driver so I can just sit back and let the journey unfold. I find these sorts of journeys really helpful if I’m working on a project, a photo book, a short story or a blog post that’s got a bit ‘sticky’ or isn’t progressing as well as it should. I just sit and watch the world go by the bus or train window and let my mind freewheel. I try not to deliberately think about the problem in hand, that just seems to chase any solution further away into the dark corners.

There’s plenty of stimulus to be found on these journeys, scraps of overheard conversation, or scenes being acted out as you pass by.

What were those two staring at so intently?

What was in the big, cardboard box that was so heavy?

The briefly noticed scene in a cafe window, do those two people meet regularly?

The list is endless.

There was a particular reason for me travelling to Chorley, a market town in central Lancashire, not too far from where I live. The town has a vibrant centre and market, with plenty of independent traders and they always put on a good event. I was going to collect my ticket to the flower show which is held at the end of July in the grounds of Astley Hall which is just off the town centre. This is the fourth year that the show is being held and each year they have added to and improved it.

It has become a permanent fixture now in my own calendar. There’s all the attractions you would expect, the displays, the talks, appearances from well known gardeners from the TV. There’s also a growing food court area.

Speaking of food, collecting my ticket only took a few minutes so I had plenty of time to have a walk around the town and the market. I had a really good brunch at one of my favourites, Bee’s Country Kitchen on the market and after some more shopping I headed back to the bus station in time to have an afternoon coffee & cake at Woodchats Cafe on the bus station, in fact you can just make it out at the top, right hand corner of the photo.

The next event I’m looking forward to after the flower show is Chorley Live, a two night event of live music played at venues throughout the town centre. I blog more about that one when I’ve been.

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Liverpool. Passing Through Lime Street Station.

I had a day turn up where I had nothing that I really needed to get done, so rather than waste this unexpected bonus I decided on a trip out on the train. My ‘free’ day was a Thursday which meant that it would be market day in Ormskirk, a market town not too far away in West Lancashire. The journey by rail involves travelling into Liverpool and back out again. That’s not as complicated as it sounds as there are excellent services in both directions. Readers of my blog, if you are one, thank you, will know that I visited the Cobble Cafe in Ormskirk for a bowl of hot soup a little while ago.

15/02/18  LIVERPOOL. Lime Street Station. Concourse.

LIVERPOOL. Lime Street station, the concourse.

Lime Street station sits at the end of the Liverpool to Manchester route created by Stephenson. The original terminus was in Crown Street, which while it was easier to construct in engineering terms, was a little too far out from the city centre to be either convenient or competitive. This lead to the building of Lime Street in 1836. Construction was not without it’s challenges, the principal one being the steep gradient down from the junction with the Crown Street route at Edge hill on the City’s outskirts. Now a steep sided cutting the route was initially a dark, satanic tunnel cut through the sandstone ridge. Something which must have tested the nerves of those early railway passengers.

The traveler’s destination is a grand terminus under an arching roof, one of the oldest functioning termini in the country. The frontage, facing St. George’s Hall sitting loftily on it’s plateau, was an imposing hotel which is now given over to student accommodation. I wonder what they think of living in a building that on it’s opening was described as looking like Dracula’s Castle.

15/02/18  LIVERPOOL. Lime Street Station. Concourse.

LIVERPOOL. Lime Street station, the concourse, main line platforms.

 

The station is home to a large array of main line and local services, plus tucked away in their own tunnels beneath are parts of the Merseyrail suburban network. Currently a rebuilding program is in progress with a view to adding more capacity and bringing the promise of direct services to Scotland in the next year or so.

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