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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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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, 9 Jun 2013

Crossing the Moorfoot Hills

Innerleithen

From where it flows into the Tweed at Innerleithin, a solitary road runs up alongside the Leithen Water Abhainn Leitheinn, the grey river and is soon enclosed in perfect round and green hills.

DSC_0342

Moorfoot Hills

It twists and turns and climbs northwards through these, the Moorfoot Hills, treading a path between Whitehope Law and Windlestraw Law.

Moorfoot Hills

Part of the Southern Uplands: a fine set of landscapes, but generally neglected by most outside of southern and central Scotland overshadowed by the more extreme geology of the Highlands, or by similar hill ranges in places more accessible from Britain's other centres of population.

Moorfoot Hills

Moorfoot Hills

Moorfoot Hills

The road summits one valley and drops into the next.

enclosure

Passing the now neglected circular drystone sheep stells that for several centuries provided the livestock in the hills with winter shelter from wind and drifting snow.

livestock pen

Moorfoot Hills

Then repeats the process, climbing again from this central valley of the Blackhope Water, a tributary of the Heriot, which cuts east through the hills.

DSC_0379

Past the windfarm on Peat Hill.

DSC_0389

turbines

Moorfoot Hills

Climbing high into the windswept moorland landscape.

Moorfoot hills

Before abruptly hitting the Esk Valley and the lowlands of Midlothian in a long straight steep scarp.

Moorfoot Hills

Moorfoot Hills

View Larger Map


[Tag] Tags: hills, moorfoot hills, roads, rural, scotland, scottish borders, southern uplands, uk


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, 7 Oct 2012

Hill climb

Weardale

Newlands

Lane to Bellingham

on Bulbarrow

bicyclist

Calbuco

Above Settle

Casablanca

bicyclist

above Weymouth

Leaving Rannoch Moor


[Tag] Tags: chile, cycling, downland, moors, mountains, patagonia, roads, rural, scotland, the north, uk, westcountry


Sun, 2 Sep 2012

On Calton Hill

Calton Hill

When arriving in Edinburgh, whether by two wheels from over the Moorfoot Hills or up the towpath on the Union Canal, or especially by Lowland Sleeper arriving on time before breakfast is served, one can't miss out a first five minute detour to greet the city from atop Calton Hill.

Calton Hill

Calton Hill

To survey it all laid out around you in the dawn twilight or warm evening sunshine of arrival time.

Calton Hill

Survey the trains and traffic snaking and scuttling between the spires and turrets of cathedrals and castles, and the towers and domes of railway stations and municipal chambers.

Princes Street

Edinburgh

Survey the chimneys and cranes and colourful council flats standing out in their sea of Georgian terraces and simple sturdy grey Victorian tenement blocks offset in the spring by streets and squares of trees.

Calton Hill

Stretching out inland to the great mound of the Pentland Hills.

Calton Hill

Calton Hill

Flowing around the jagged lump of Arthur's Seat to Musselburgh and Portobello.

Calton Hill

And up against the Firth of Forth and the North Sea, and out into it at Leith Docks and Granton Harbour

Calton Hill

Calton Hill

Mossmorran?

Where giant boats, rocky islands, and drilling platforms rest lit against the Fife coast and the distant Ochil Hills.

National Monument

A brilliant cityscape, all to be surveyed from beside the structures and monuments of the World Heritage city, five minutes walk from the railway station.

Holyrood

Edinburgh

edinburgh

Calton Hill

Calton Hill

Calton Hill

Calton Hill

Calton Hill

Calton Hill

More pictures can be found in the Edinburgh gallery

Calton Hill

View Larger Map


[Tag] Tags: cityscapes, edinburgh, scotland, uk, urban, world heritage sites


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


Tue, 5 Jun 2012

Denny Church Walk

Denny

I stumbled upon this riding down to Falkirk from Stirling in January.

Denny

Denny

The great concrete 1960s Church Walk blocks in Denny, Falkirk, officially Scotland's Most Dismal Town 2010.

Denny Church Walk

The townsfolk requested the honour, hoping that it would help to prod the council into action over their incongruous "carbuncle".

Denny

Denny

Denny

The first blocks had already been demolished by the time I discovered it; the rest have been smashed and chipped and shipped away over the past few months.

View Larger Map


[Tag] Tags: architecture, council housing, denny, falkirk, scotland, structures, uk, urban decay, urban


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