Wester Ross

Years ago, during my undergraduate years, I used to take a break with my father in September for a week. It was usually to go somewhere hill walking as he had a week off from work in September and it coincided nicely before I left for university each year.

I have great memories from these trips and usually came back super fit from just a week of hillwalking or Munro Bagging as it is commonly known. I am keenly aware of how fortunate I am to have this time with my father and it has been the source of many memories I have thought about over the years since then.

Although it had nothing to do with hill walking, one of my fondest memories the second year that we went together was phoning home to find out that I had got into The University of St Andrews. It had been a stressful summer waiting to find out as it was the only university I had applied to. Putting all your eggs in one basket? Moi? It started the ball rolling towards my higher education. Little did I know at the time that I would still be in higher education for the next eight years.

This year, as I had accumulated a little too much vacation time from my own work, I had the opportunity to rekindle the September get away with my father. We visited Wester Ross, in particular the Gairloch area. I used to spend a lot of time in this area when I was younger as it was a favourite holiday location of my parents and I had become very attached to the area as I grew up.

Click to see the larger image.

Although no hillwalking was taken on this trip we did spend a lot of time walking and travelling around the area, and booking dinner at the Old Inn every night! It was a welcome break from the central region and it was nice that there is no cellular reception whatsoever. Like, none. But there was wifi at the campsite and the Old Inn, as long as 512kb/s is your thing. This isn’t a complaint, but it is reality in this area.

We also had the worst coffee in all of Scotland at Mountain Coffee, primarily because it was close to the campsite. It is perfect if you like Starbucks prices and dishwater tasting coffee. I also had a nice surprise at the Gale Centre, they have an amazing Rain Garden which I must add to the 10000 Rain Gardens for Scotland Project.

Anyway, I did take some photos, primarily to see what the iPhone 11 Pro could do with the new cameras, which did not disappoint me especially in low light. I have a lot of landscape photographs below because it is hard to take photographs in such a beautiful place without being in landscape :-)

Gairloch Bay from Strath.

Gairloch Bay at dusk.

Across Gairloch Bay towards Free Church of Scotland

From Cove looking back towards Poolewe and the Isle of Ewe

Stac Pollaidh in the middle with Beinn an Eoin on the left with its summit covered in cloud.

Trackpadding

Seems an apt way to spend the end of the month seeing as I literally started here at the beginning of the month.

A quick stop into the Apple store in Edinburgh at the weekend to pick up a trackpad replacement. You know those signs they have in computer labs "No food or drink!!", turns  out they are actually there for a good reason. Much to my disdain a pint (yes a full pint) of water tipped over on my desk and my £130 trackpad took the brunt of it. It did not react well. Turns out the keyboard wasn't too bothered though.

Anyway, long story short, Apple screwed me for £90 for a replacement. Meh. I may have to be overly critical about the HomePod when it gets delivered.

On the bright side, I managed to finally get coffee with @davidgullver_photography (dude you really have to get a shorter Instagram handle) and take some shots around town. In the pouring rain, for the most part.

I have another shot of Teviot Row House on Instagram without the bokeh, but I particularly liked this one and have kept it for the website instead :-) The long exposure on Victoria Street is something I have been playing with, slowly turning the zoom while exposing. A little fun if nothing else. The sunset silhouette was just too tempting on my way over North Bridge.

Sunset silhouet

Bokeh at the Teviot

Light speed on Victoria Street

Blackness Castle

As Scotland has been pretty much drenched in bad weather this week I haven't been out much to take photographs. But, I do have some from last week of Blackness Castle. I was hoping for some nice sunset photographs, however, there was a lot of clouds in between me and the sun.

Blackness Castle is a 15th-century fortress, near the village of Blackness, Scotland, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth. It was built by Sir George Crichton in the 1440s. At this time, Blackness was the main port serving the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, one of the main residences of the Scottish monarch. The castle, together with the Crichton lands, passed to James II of Scotland in 1453, and the castle has been crown property ever since.

 

Cambuskenneth Abbey

I have become acutely aware that the darker my mood is the darker my photo edits become. I guess that is why they are called moodscapes.

A few shots from Cambuskenneth Abbey, near Stilring. It is a ruined Augustinian monastery. The abbey is mostly reduced to it's foundations although the campanile (bell tower) still stands. The abbey fell into disuse during the Scottish reformation when the abbey was looted and burned. The campanile was restored in 1859 and the crown acquired the land in 1908, Historic Scotland now mange the area. 

The first image is in the campanile looking up to the celling of the first floor. The second floor ceiling can be seen through the round area in the middle of the first floor ceiling. The second floor is not accessible, although is sometimes open to the public, best to check when at Historic Scotland. Click for the larger images if you are browsing on a desktop / tablet.

The Pineapple

A bizarre and beautiful folly (folly - costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park). Yes, I had to google the definition.

The Pineapple, often described as the most bizarre building Scotland, is located in Dunmore Park, near Airth in Stirlingshire. The Pineapple was built in 1761 by the Earl of Dunmore as a summerhouse where he could appreciate the views from his estate. At this time pineapples were among Scotland's most exotic foods. The Dunmore estate was broken up and sold in lots in 1970 and the Pineapple was originally bought by the Countess of Perth and subsequently given to the National Trust for Scotland.

To be honest I am not sure what the National Trust is doing with this amazing place, it's almost as if they don't want people to visit it. The road into the car park is very poorly signposted and the road itself is derelict. There are some nice woodland walks around the folly and the gardens. From what I witnessed, on a sunny Friday afternoon, it is very popular and many people take the time to visit. Don't take the lack of people in my photographs as a sign of how popular this place is though, it's more a sign of my patience than anything.

For some reason I remember going to this building when I was very young and thought it was somewhere in the south of Scotland. Much to my amazement, it's roughly 15 minutes drive away. I have been planning to visit the Pineapple for some time and as it was a rather nice sunny day it seemed like the perfect time to go. I am happy that I took this chance with some free time that I had today.

I took a few different shots, mostly long exposures as the clouds were moving and I like the effect that this creates in photographs (at some point I have to stop with the big stopper). For those on desktops/tablets larger versions can be seen by tapping/clicking on the thumbnail :-)