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[About me] About the author

Touring Britain bit by bit with a pair of boots, a few bicycles, a lot of trains and a bag of lenses. I take pictures and then I write about them.

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abandoned places and things architecture bristol coastal cumbria dorset events highlands history industrial lake district lakes london mountains not the uk photo essays photography politics protests rural rural decay scotland somerset structures the north uk urban urban decay wales westcountry all tags

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Wed, 8 Feb 2012

Burst of bicycle couples

A short set of photos I took in the autumn on Zeeburgereiland, one of the artificial islands off Amsterdam's waterfront. Surrounded by all sorts of bridges and tunnels, shipping canals and dams, motorways and tramways, but with these three silos standing alone in a big empty wasteland...




I have added the Netherlands to the site's collection of galleries.

[Tag] Tags: cycling, industrial, netherlands, not the uk, urban decay

Sat, 4 Feb 2012

The ruins of St Colmac's

I went to the little island of Bute, in the Firth of Clyde, on the southern edge of the Highlands.


On the road to Ettrick Bay you pass St Colmac's church and graveyard.



Built in 1836 for the second Marquess of Bute, of the nearby Kames Castle.


The award of listed building status in 1971 wasn't enough to preserve the church. Services ceased in 1980, windows and doors broke, and the roof collapsed in 1996.



The burial ground is still growing, but the church itself is being left to turn from derelict mess to picturesque ruin.


I've discovered quite a few Highland ruins over the past year -- they might form a theme. I've already posted on the Moine House.

View Larger Map

[Tag] Tags: abandoned places and things, bute, cemeteries, churches, derelict, highlands, history, ruins, rural decay, rural, scotland, uk

Sat, 17 Dec 2011

Winter fogs past

Heron Tower

I love those freezing winter nights, when everything condenses into one big fog.

Brixton Westminster Bridge

And the light blurs...

Cumberland Basin Stalbridge Church

And the shapes merge...

London Eye
Sign Swirling fog

[Tag] Tags: bristol, brixton, dorset, floating harbour, fog, london, night, uk, urban, weather, westcountry, winter

Fri, 25 Nov 2011

Christmas orders

I will be organising a batch of prints and frames next week, on Friday 2nd. If you wish to order framed prints in time for Christmas please get in touch during the next week to discuss requirements. I can take UK orders for prints until mid-December but can not guarantee that frames could be built in time for orders after the 2nd. You can find out more about ordering on the prints page.

[Tag] Tags:

Wed, 26 Oct 2011



Not a big hill by Lake District standards, but a popular one.


Because of its pleasant ascents past the tarns and rock formations.

On Haystacks On Haystacks

And the view over Buttermere and the valley.


More on Wikipedia.


[Tag] Tags: buttermere, cumbria, haystacks, lake district, lakes, mountains, rural, the north, uk

Wed, 3 Aug 2011

Flashride for Blackfriars

Blackfriars Bridge

In 2000, London's previous mayor, Ken Livingstone, began the process of fixing forty years of mistakes that had been made in the pursuit of the impossible -- the comfortable accommodation of mass motor vehicle use in a dense city centre. He recognised that cities are supposed to be places for people and returned key locations like Trafalgar Square to use as more than mere traffic gyratories.

Boris! No more urban motorways

But the current mayor has not quite caught up with the modern age and still labours under the delusion that congestion and the problems of the motor vehicle can be solved with bigger and faster roads.


While claiming to be the cycling mayor he tells us that a splash of blue paint along the gutter and through the bus stops is enough to fix the conditions that prevent most people from ever using their bicycles.

Mark on telly
20 saves Streets for people!

And his officers at TfL push through these wider and faster roads in the name of, er, accommodating pedestrians (wider roads are good for pedestrians, right?). While ripping out the pedestrian crossings.


After ignoring the thousands of objections to the wider and faster road layout at Blackfriars, TfL announced last week that they were bring in the earth movers on Friday night. So with 48 hours notice we assembled a thousand cyclists for a go slow.

Streets for people! Mass

It might be too late for Blackfriars this time around, but we still have a mayor who is stuck in 1970s, determined to force ever more motor vehicles through the centre of the city, at the expense of the sensible majority who combine walking, cycling, and public transport, and the vibrant city activity that depends on attracting people. It's not the last he's heard from us.

20 saves

More at:

[Tag] Tags: blackfriars bridge, cycling, events, london, politics, protests, streetscapes, uk, urban

Thu, 7 Apr 2011

The Moine House

The Moine

The geology and landscape of the Scottish Highlands are famously divided by the Great Glen fault. Less famous is the Moine Thrust Belt, running almost parallel to the Great Glen a hundred miles north. Here the rocks and landscape of the northern Highlands are pushed over those of the Hebrides and far north west, forming a belt of steep hills and cliffs from the north coast at Eriboll down to the west coast at Skye. It's named for The Moine -- the moss -- the vast peat moor that sits at the top of the hill on the northern Highland rocks above Eriboll on the northern coast of Sutherland.

Moine House Moine House

As you climb the A838 from the sea inlets from Loch Eriboll heading east, or from Kyle of Tongue heading west the great flat empty moor stretches to the distant mountains, Ben Loyal in the east and Ben Hope in the west, interrupted only by two curious steep pyramids almost on the horizon. As you cross the bog they grow into the gable-end walls of a house, a perfectly ordinary little highland cottage isolated in the middle of the moor.

Moine House

With two rooms, a porch, and a loft, Moine House was built with the road in 1830 as a half-way stop for travellers. Occupied by several generations of Mackays, up to ten people at a time, the house still acted as an inn for travellers throughout the 1800s, until the motorcar era negated its original purpose, and the Mackays moved on to less harsh and more profitable locations.

Moine House Moine House

The roof fell in sometime around 1987, though there has been some attempt since to preserve what remains. The EU have since "improved" the A838 by building a whole new road over the moor on a different alignment, straighter, wider, faster, allowing the old single track road outside the house to slowly fade under the moss. Despite its isolated location, miles from anything in an already sparsely populated region without cities, it has managed to acquire some murals, distinctly urban in style, slightly faded now after three or four years exposed to the relentless rain of the northern Highlands.

Moine House

More photos in the Highlands gallery.

View Larger Map

[Tag] Tags: abandoned places and things, bleak locations, end of the road, flow country, graffiti, highlands, photo essays, ruins, rural decay, rural, scotland, structures, sutherland, the moine, uk

Sat, 5 Mar 2011

The Hutong


At the start of the 15th century, when the Ming Dynasty was young, Beijing was established as the new Chinese capital a heavily planned city, a rectangle laid out on a north-south axis around the great imperial palace, the Forbidden City.

Hutong Hutong

Around the palace, dense blocks of residential buildings, the hutongs, arranged in a grid that stretched to the city walls and moat; the more prosperous and higher status families closer to the centre.


The hutongs evolved through dynasties, civil wars, and revolutions, declining as they became overcrowded and rundown. But they began to be truly threatened in the second half of the 20th century, when the grid of main streets was widened into great boulevards.

Second Ring Road Paveparking

And the city walls and moat replaced by the Second Ring Road (there is no first ring road, but there is a third, and a fourth, and a fifth; the sixth is under construction and the seventh in planning stages), the hutong increasingly replaced by glass office towers and concrete apartment blocks.

Second Ring Road

The city's population boomed and as the economy grew its nascent middle class sprawled out far beyond the old city walls, and in the ancient centre, every accessible patch of ground was filled with a commuter's car -- there are five million of them in the city already, growing by 10% per year, or 1,500 extra cars every day.

Hutong cars Hutong

In the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, the city invested in much regeneration which often simply meant evicting residents of a hutong and bulldozing it.

fence Wheelbarrows

But just as in Europe in the 1950s-70s, public opinion has quickly turned against this destruction of established neighbourhoods.

Gentrified Hutong

And now instead the remaining hutongs are being restored and gentrified as the city discovers a new way to exploit them in the burgeoning consumerist economy.

Snack street Hutong

The Chinese have even noticed that the motorcar is not a sensible or scalable solution to transport in densely populated places, and is investing heavily in alternatives.


More photos in the Beijing gallery or this series of posts on the other blog.

[Tag] Tags: asia, beijing, china, hutongs, not the uk, regeneration, streetscapes, urban

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My other blog is a...
  • Science blog! A blog about cancer cell and molecular biology, coming soon...
  • Skepticism blog! I contribute to the group blog Lay Science on the nature of science, skepticism, and bad arguments.
  • Science publishing blog! It's called Journalology and it's a group blog about publishers, journals, papers and data.
  • Fiction blog! Where I make stuff up, coming soon...
  • Cycling and transport policy blog! I run the group blog At War With The Motorist, where we look at evidence-based urban planning and transport policy, and ride bikes.

Follow them all here.

Find me here...

Creative Commons License All text and photography on this site is Joe Dunckley 2001-10, except where stated otherwise. Text and photos are released under the terms of the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license, meaning that you may reuse, remix, and republish the work for non-commercial purposes, on the condition that a credit is given to "Joe Dunckley/" and you make it clear that the work is released under this license. See this page for more detailed conditions. Contact me to enquire about commercial and editorial use.