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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 events highlands history industrial lake district lakes london mountains not the uk photo essays photography politics protests rural rural decay science scotland somerset structures the north uk urban urban decay wales westcountry all tags


Page: 1

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


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


Sat, 11 Feb 2012

Cwmorthin

The Barracks

Cwmorthin is one of the many huge disused slate quarries and mines around Blaenau Ffestiniog in Snowdonia, a mile walk up into the Moelwyn Mountains from the town and station.

Cwmorthin

Cwmorthin

Most of the workings are underground, in the many miles of mine tunnels that climb and descend inside the mountain, some of them still open to cavers, others now damaged by the attempts to use explosives to aid the extraction of slate in the quarry's final working years in the 1990s.

Quarry

But there's still lots to see above ground, around the portals beside the lake, Llyn Cwmorthin.

Cwmorthin

Cwmorthin

In addition to the huge spoil heaps, which send tentacles reaching out into the lake, the quarrymaster's house is intact, but boarded up and getting scruffy. But the quarrymen's barracks, whose residents had a life expectancy of 44 years, have been in ruins for several decades.

Cwmorthin

These photos were all taken early one May morning. There's a lot more industrial archaeology in the Cwmorthin valley that I didn't get to see that time I must go back.

View Larger Map Ordnance Survey Map


[Tag] Tags: abandoned places and things, blaenau ffestiniog, cwmorthin, history, industrial archaeology, industrial, moelwyn mountains, mountains, north wales, quarries, ruins, rural decay, rural, snowdonia, uk, wales


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.

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[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


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