Thursday, July 31, 2014

Loch Coruisk, Isle of Skye

Loch Coruisk on Skye is accessible only be overland trek or boat.  The boat will drop you off near this spot and from there there's a short walk to the actual loch.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Quiraing

There was a post a while back with a photo or two from The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye; this is a photo made there using the pano setting on my iPhone 5S.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Scraggy Scottish Stones

This image of these scratched up stones was made with the iPhone Hipstamatic app.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Scottish Heather

You might think that the stories you hear about Scotland being blanketed by heather are a myth perpetuated by the Scottish Tourist people; but you'd be wrong.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Happy Miracle of Single Malt Whisky

On a distillery tour many years ago a guide told our group that he was going to give us their secret recipe.  First, he said, you'll need the basic ingredients; barley, water and yeast.  You'll then malt the barley, germinate it, mash it, ferment it and distill it.  Then you might distill it again depending on your 'house style' and the custom of your own distillery.  Then it's into the barrels for a wee rest, at least three years by law or maybe much longer.  Then, voila!  Single malt scotch whisky.  What could be simpler?  This fence detail depicting a still was observed at Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Little Foreground Interest Please Part II

Here's another example of how foreground interest can be brought into play; this time in a more symmetrical picture space layout.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Little Foreground Interest Please

Several years ago a photographer that I hold in high regard introduced me to the concept of foreground interest - he used it to great affect in his photography.  It can really help to fill the frame and add depth to a photo.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stirling Castle

This symmetrical composition featuring aspects of a courtyard wall within Stirling Castle looks far better in black and white than the colour version.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kelvingrove Museum

The Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow has something for everyone - including these happy and sad heads  hanging in the rotunda

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guest Photographer

Today's photo was taken by my wife, Terri, who caught me in action taking panoramic photos with my iPhone on the Isle of Skye.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Red Coats at Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle on the road to Skye is magnificent and very photogenic at anytime of day or year.  But that's not why I'm posting this the resolution afforded by this medium you may not notice it but there's a guy in a bright red coat standing on the bridge that leads to the castle which brings me to my pet peeve...why are the people wearing the brightest clothing always parking themselves in my photos?  I will be all set to take my photo and some goof wanders into the scene and stands there texting someone or studying his or her guidebook - usually for an eternity - and more often than not while wearing a bright red coat.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


If you've seen the movie 'Braveheart' you'll be well acquainted with William Wallace.  Among his many conquests was the battle of Stirling Bridge.  in September 1297 a might army arrived in Stirling to put down Scots resistance to English Rule.  The Scots allowed half the invaders to advance across the bridge then Wallace and his army swept forward to over take them.  This is Stirling bridge as it looks today.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Battle of Bannockburn

The Bannockburn Memorial in Stirling recently underwent a series of upgrades in preparation for the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.  Scottish King Robert the Bruce - that's him depicted in sculpture bottom left - defeated English armies at this site in 1314.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stirling Castle

Stirling castle sits atop 'the mound' - appropriately named I think.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dead or Alive

Stirling Castle is a home to a highland regiment and lots of military stuff is on display.  It's a little unsettling to see your name listed among the war dead - even if the spelling is a little off.  Rather disappointed that I attained only the rank of private; I always thought of myself as officer material.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hogsheads at Glengoyne

Theses hogshead casks (or just hoggies for short) are awaiting filling at Glengoyne distillery.  If your up for it you can purchase one of these at the time of filling.  The distillery will store it for you for an agreed amount of time and offer advice on optimal time to bottle.  You would be sent regular updates and you can come and visit the sleeping hoggie whenever your like.  When the time comes to bottle it you'll be invited to help out.  There will be about 240 litres of spirit going into your hoggie, and considerably less will remain after many years of aging due to evaporation.  The cost?  Around $7000 will be due on day one,  and another payment of similar magnitude due at bottling.  It may seem like a lot but that will yield around 260 bottles of single malt whisky.  And just think of the friends you'll have!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Kelpies

The Helix is a new parkland project near the Clyde and Forth Canal near Falkirk, Scotland.  A central element of the park is the 30 metre high sculpture called 'The Kelpies'.  Kelpies are mythical horses who had the strength of ten horses and they represent the lineage of heavy horses used in the area to pull wagons, plows and barges in the Falkirk area.  Public art can be such a wonderful thing when executed with this kind of skill.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Haig's Statue

This statue of Field marshal Sir Douglas Haig was recently moved to within the walls of Edinburgh Castle.  Like the man himself (he lead British troops into British Expeditionary Force from 1915 to the end of WWI and was commander during some of the bloodiest battles of WW), the relocation of the statue was controversial as some people thought it should remain outside the castle.  It was thought to be an obstacle and safety hazard for people attending the Edinburgh military tattoo so inside the castle walls it was moved in 2011.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cathedral of St. Andrews

The centre of the medieval Catholic Church in St. Andrews, The Cathedral of St. Andrews was dedicated in 1318.  As you can see, the maintenance department was laid off shortly thereafter.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

St. Andrews

Not much to say about this; just that it is the shoreline near the ruins of the cathedral in St. Andrews.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Stirling Castle

This is the view to the west from Stirling castle.  The green space at the upper left where the rood tops end is the site of the Bannockburn Memorial and visitors centre.  700 years ago Scottish armies defeated the English at Bannockburn.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Vines Were Cheaper Than Paint....

The cheapest people I've met are English not Scottish.  But the Scots are the ones with a reputation for frugality.  I suspect that the owner of this house in Edinburgh realized that planting vines was cheaper than buying paint for the outside of this house.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Like a lot of traditional Scottish fair, Haggis has an image problem owing in large part (in my opinion) to it's name.  Other dishes similarly afflicted include black pudding, cullen skink, black bun and toad in the hole.  It's marketing departments worst nightmare.  But all of these dishes - including the much maligned haggis - are absolutely delicious when properly prepared.  Here, haggis is used as a topping on a baked potato.  It was utterly fantastic.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

The High Kirk of Edinburgh, more commonly known has St. Giles Cathedral, is the principle place of worship of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.  St. Giles is the patron saint of Edinburgh.  The church was founded in the 12th century ans stands along the Royal Mile near Edinburgh Castle.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Old Course St. Andrews

This is the 18th green at St. Andrews.  St. Andrews is a public golf course over common land as opposed to a private club so with planning ahead anyone can book a tee time.  It was established in 1552 and is considered the home of golf.  Each hole has the traditional number but also has a name; Hole 3, for instance, is Cartgate, 6 is Heathery.  Eighteen is Tom Morris named after Old Tom (1865-1903) who designed the first and eighteenth holes on the Old Course.

Winning a major championship is a big deal for any golfer and winning The Open is a very prestigious victory.  But if you've not won the open at St. Andrews you're resume will be incomplete.  In fact I dare say that winning at St. Andrews means you need only go by your first name in golfing circles as evidenced by this list of golfers who've won the Open at St. Andrews:  Tiger, Jack, Nick,'ll get the idea.

St. Andrews has hosted the Open Championship 28 times and will do so again in 2015.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Gregory Meridian St. Andrews

James Gregory (1638-1675) was a Scottish mathematician and astronomer at St. Andrews University.  He is credited with being one of the founders of calculus and inventing the Gregorian telescope.  He had plans to build what would have been the first observatory in the UK but died before it could be constructed.  He used the King James Library at St. Andrews as his laboratory and marked out what would be considered one of the first meridian lines in the world across the library floor. This line became known as the Gregory meridian - and in addition to remaining on the library floor it is also now cast into the sidewalk outside Parliament Hall on South Street, St. Andrews.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Following the Rules in the Kingdom of Fife

One of our fellow travelers in Scotland described herself as rule-compliant.  I am that way as well so when I saw this sign I figured I'd better go along with the directions given.  Don't want to get in trouble with the police after all.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Signing off from Scotland

I have a book in my possession that belonged to my late paternal grandfather.  It's called 'In Search of Scotland' by an author named H.V. Morton.  In our guest house on Skye was a copy of Morton's follow on book called 'In Scotland Again'.  These books were published in the 1930's and are basically Morton's travel diaries.  He has a lovely lyrical writing style and some passages are quite hysterical.

Anyway, in the preface to the second book was this quote from James V of Scotland who wrote to somebody called Mary of Guse:

Ere you go through Scotland
You shall see many good-like men and women
And other commodities that will be
To your contentment.

And that is how we found the place, so it's a good way to sign off - more photos to follow in the days ahead when I get some editing done.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Gaelic on the Isle of Skye

In the 1921 census about 74% of the Skye population listed Gaelic as their first or only language.  By 1971 that had dropped to about 50%.  In 2001 it had dropped to around 30% distributed unevenly across the island - there are some regions where it is quite common and others where almost no one speaks or understands Gaelic.  Virtually all road signs are in both languages, as in this example (English in black, Gaelic in green) which offers some clues as to pronunciation of this old and baffling language.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Upper Moraig, Isle of Skye

This is the Harbour near our bed and breakfast on Skye.  Who says it's always raining in Scotland?  Been here 10 days and all we've seen is a light drizzle for a few hours one day.