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[Me]

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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Page: 1

Sun, 9 Mar 2014

Under the hills of Torridon

Beinn Eighe

There aren't many more stunning parts of the country than Torridon in Wester Ross on the coast of the Northwest Highlands.

Lochan an Iasgair

Ben Eighe

The steeply enclosed Glen Torridon, with its mountain river tumbling down from the Coulin Estate, and its mirror lochans like Lochan an Iasgair.

Lochan an Iasgair

Opening out to the sea loch, Loch Torridon, dotted with tiny fishing villages like Shieldaig and Diabaig and Torridon itself.

Shieldaig

Sheep attack!

Under the modestly named Torridon Hills; the long and slender Liathach and the silver-backed rocky Beinn Eighe.

Liathach

Glen Torridon

torridon trees

Balgy

Glen Torridon

Torridon

The Applecross coast road

Torridon

Loch Torridon

Torridon

The coast road

All standing above the rocky west coast.

Loch Torridon

Lochan an Iasgair

I should probably go back and climb some of the hills some day.

Kenmore Bay


[Tag] Tags: highlands, mountains, northwest highlands, rural, scotland, torridon hills, torridon, uk, wester ross


Sun, 21 Oct 2012

The standing stones of Machrie Moor

Machrie Moor

On the west side of Arran the "Scotland in miniature" island of the Firth of Clyde you might find a gateway, half hidden in high hedges, with a sign indicating the path to Machrie Moor.

Machrie Moor

Machrie Moor

The track winds through the sheep fields and scrubland, and past a small and slightly mediocre fenced-off stone circle.

Machrie Moor

To a little yard of part-ruined stone barns.

Machrie Moor

Machrie Moor

And thence to the great array of neolithic structures, from clumps of squat granite boulder circles to triplets of tall sandstone megaliths.

Machrie Moor

All set in the wide valley of the Machrie Water, around the point where a midsummer sun rises in the centre of the valley's dip on the horizon...

Machrie Moor

Machrie Moor

Machrie Moor

...against the backdrop of Ard Bheinn and the view to the distant Goatfell in the island's mountainous north.

Machrie Moor

View Larger MapView Bird's Eye


[Tag] Tags: arran, highlands, history, islands of the clyde, machrie moor, rural, scotland, stone circles, uk


Sun, 15 Jul 2012

The Crinan Canal

Loch Fyne

Not your usual inland navigation: the 14km canal from sea to sea Ardrishaig on Loch Gilp in the east and Crinan on the Sound of Jura in the west, cutting across the top of the long and narrow Kintyre-Knapdale peninsula built in 1794 for commercial sea going sailing vessels.

Crinan Canal

Crinan Canal

Later replaced by steamboats, the Clyde Puffers, cargo carriers between Glasgow and the Hebridean islands and isolated West Highland coastal communities.

boats!

And now in turn largely replaced by private yachts, taking advantage of the 100km shortcut and bypass of the exposed waters around the Kintyre peninsula that are provided by the canal.

Crinan Canal

Crinan Canal

Crinan Canal

Crinan Canal

Crinan Canal

Crinan

And by towpath tourists taking in the views to the islands and out over the Moine Mhòr to the mountains.

coos

View Larger Map


[Tag] Tags: canals, highlands, history, industrial, rural, scotland, uk


Sun, 17 Jun 2012

A82

River Etive

The A82 between Tyndrum and North Ballachulish in the West Highlands is a remarkable road.

Rannoch Moor

A82

Astonishing not just for the breathtaking moorland and mountain landscape that it floats across and weaves through.

River Etive

And the extraordinarily difficult remote and hostile conditions in which it was constructed, across deep peat bogs, around peaks and lochans and over fast flowing and frequently frozen mountain rivers.

Leaving Rannoch Moor

A82

Rannoch Moor

But because it was built in 1931 to a very distinctive engineering style which is rarely seen in our mediaeval lanes or our modern roads made up of computer generated continuous gentle curves.

A82

It is more like a Roman Road or the military roads built to suppress the Jacobite risings, in following perfect straight lines for many miles at a time across the flatter parts of the moor, joined in short curves.

Rannoch Moor

Rannoch Moor

But maintaining a relatively flat and practical course, across the rocky mountain streams on reinforced concrete bridges and viaducts, built in situ to graceful but experimental designs that haven't been seen since the discovery of the boring but cheap square beams on straight stilts method of road bridge construction.

Buachaille Etive Mòr

Its one of those few places that actually bears some resemblance to the great open road of car adverts and Top Gear features the thing, the freedom, the lifestyle that people are told that they are buying when they get conned into a daily grind of traffic jams on cluttered streets and webs of dull computer-designed roundabout-linked suburban distributor roads, and all the ill-health and unhappiness that comes with it.

digging a road

Rannoch Moor

Except that this is still a real road, with real traffic and real drivers. So the moor is littered with broken plastic and glass; bumpers and hub caps and metal slowly sinking into the peat. Better the quick death by car here than the slow one on the ring road, perhaps?

Buachaille

More pictures in the Highlands gallery.

View Larger Map


[Tag] Tags: bridges, highlands, history, mountains, photo essays, rannoch moor, roads, rural, scotland, uk


Sun, 29 Apr 2012

Courthill House

Courthill House

Heading up the coast of the Northwest Highlands, on the road from Kyle of Lochalsh to Applecross and Torridon, a brief glimpse of the mountains of Skye down the length of Loch Kishorn is soon hidden behind the trees and a high wall of big stone blocks.

Courthill House

Courthill House

Chimneys poke their stacks out above the wall but it's not obvious what hides in the tangle of trees.

Courthill House

It's only if you turn off onto the little track past Courthill Chapel and push through the junk and young trees that have accumulated and established themselves on this long uncared-for plot that you might find Courthill House.

Courthill House

Courthill House

The Tudor-style mansion was built as part of the Lochcarron Estate in the early 1800s, and was purchased with the estate in 1882 by the Tory MP for Hastings (and later Coventry) Charles James Murray.

Courthill House

Murray's son built a new mansion, Couldoran House, on the estate, and after Murray Sr's death in 1929 Courthill House fell into disuse. When the estate changed hands in 1946 the roof of Courthill House was removed to avoid tax, leaving a spooky hidden ruin.

Courthill House


View Larger View Bird's Eye Google Maps Version


[Tag] Tags: abandoned places and things, architecture, highlands, history, northwest highlands, rosshire, ruins, rural decay, rural, scotland, uk, wester ross


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.

St Colmac's

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

St Colmac's, Bute

St Colmac's

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

St Colmac's

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.

St Colmac's

St Colmac's

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

St Colmac's Church

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


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, 26 Feb 2011

Helmsdale Harbour

Harbour

In the winter, while I neglected to post on the blog, I spent some time out of the way to concentrate on work. Helmsdale in Sutherland was about as out of the way as I could find.

Washing Line Sea Wall

It's on the east coast in the far north of the Scottish Highlands, on the railway half way between Inverness and Thurso.

Harbour

At the mouth of the Helmsdale River, otherwise known as River Ullie, which flows down the Strath of Kildonan (Strath Ullie) from Loch Badanloch.

Lobster Pots Street

It has a little harbour with big old breakwaters where the snow gathers and stays pristine until the stormy seas crash and overtop the walls.

Harbour Wall

Built in 1818 during the Highland clearances, when subsistence farmers were evicted by landlords who wanted to develop more profitable industries and agricultural practices on their estates.

Warning No Networking

The harbour was built to accommodate herring fleets, worked by the displaced farmers, and it was extended in 1823 and 1892, and refurbished in the last couple of years.

Boat

At one time the tiny port was home to 200 fishing boats, one of the largest herring fleets in Europe.

Footprints Harbour Wall

Now it's as much a tourist town as a fishing port, but a few boats remain, out every day, even in the darkest mid-winter.

Bridge

More pictures in the Highlands gallery.


[Tag] Tags: coastal, harbours, helmsdale, highlands, history, rural, scotland, sea, snow, sutherland, uk, winter


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