The Castle dates from around 1200 CE and for most of its existence was owned by the Hepburn family (Part of the Douglas claan). Originally built by the de Gourlay's: a Northumbrian family, they chose the wrong side in one of the many English Scottish skirmishes and had the house taken off them by the Scottish crown, who gave it to the Hepburns, who built it from a fortified house into a castle.
The first in a series of shortish posts. We had a number of trips out from our North Northumberland base over Christmas. These are not in chronological order.
These are, basically, two giant horses heads that you see as you whizz past Falkirk on the M9.
They are an impressive 30 metres high and were designed by sculptor Andy Scott. They are supposed represent the horses that powered much of Scotland's heritage. Kelpies, according to myth, possess the strength and endurance of 10 horses; a quality that is analogous with the transformational change and endurance of Scotland's inland waterways (or so their bumpf says!). The Kelpies represent the lineage of the heavy horse of Scottish industry and economy, pulling the wagons, ploughs, barges and coal-ships that shaped the geographical layout of the Falkirk area.They are also supposed to link 16 different communities together, but how they do that is a mystery to me. They are cool, though.
Earlier in the day we visited Roslyn Chapel on the outskirts of Edinburgh and the weather, for December at least, was magnificent. The sun was just starting to sink so we decided to add 30 minutes to the journey and head further West and see these. All the way there the sky was a magnificent orange but had, unfortunately, past its absolute best by the time we had arrived. Still, there was still enough colour to provide a decent backdrop and, tbh, you're lucky to have any kind of blue in central Scotland at this time of year.
This is one of my favourite structures on the planet. I love the elegance of the engineering of it and the difficulty that they must have building it without modern lifting machinery in a fairly inhospitable stretch of water. I could have spent a long time at South Queensferry taking photies and still come back the day after for more.
Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities. Although the Georgian New town is lovely it is really the Old town that I like (They are both UNESCO world heritage sites). The only problem is, in the summer, the tourists and, all year-round, the weather. It is nice sometimes in Edinburgh (I know this must be true because I've seen pictures) but it always seems to be grey and overcast when we are there: No matter what time of year!
Victoria Street which leads (kind of) from the High Street down to the Grass Market is one of the most picturesque parts of the city. This HDR shot of it gives an idea of the colour and interest that all of the independent shops give. It's a real shame that these only now seem to cater to the richer tourist rather than have quirky stuff the average local may want to buy (which it used to, at least that's how I remember it).
The old town seems to be full of dark little alley ways and closes and appears to be a real hotchpotch of chimneys, spires and roofs (had to check the plural and apparently rooves, which I prefer, is so unusual to not be considered standard!) on the skyline. J.K. Rowling lived in Edinburgh and, I think, one can clearly see some of the descriptions of places like Diagon Alley and some of the homes of dark witches and wizards in her books in Edinburgh's Old Town.
As pretty much everyone knows, Edinburgh used to be known as Auld Reekie, because of the smoke and soot from all the chimneys. This is the look I've been trying for in these black and white shots of it. That, plus the dull weather puts pay to colourful shots of buskers on the mile or anything for that matter.
This is what comes of reading too much Nigel Tranter novels! Ooh! Lets go there! On this occasion it was a good call though. This was a top morning out. If you've got a car and are in Edinburgh on a nice day then the 20 minute drive (or train) out of the city to North Berwick is just the ticket! Its as windy as: Even on a beautiful summer's day like this one and not overly warm, exposed as one is here.
Tantallon Castle is the ruins of a 14th century fortress on the East Coast of Scotland and was the historic base of the Red branch of the Douglas clan (The Earls of Angus). Although there were fortresses on this site since at least the 1200s.
When I lived in Burnmouth for a year, this was an occasional (read long) walk along the coast from our house. We then had the problem of the return journey, plus the weather had to be spectacularly good to walk along that coastal path and enjoy it: Hence only the occasional. I had forgotten just how amazing the views of Coldingham from St. Abb's Nature reserve are.
Back way back when, I used to come to Melrose at least once a year with a party of school children, I've played rugby there (and won!), driven through and round it numerous times but never really looked at the Abbey apart from in passing.
High time to put that right. It is quite a significant monument in Scottish history. Several Kings are buried there, but it is probably most famous for being the burial site of Robert the Bruce's heart; the rest of him is buried in Dunfermline Abbey. The heart is thought to have been bought back from the Crusades to be buried there, which is more than a bit odd!
However, it was 6 (yes SIX!) pounds to go in to look around. Its some ruins in a field! How can they justify that much (see Stonehenge too)? They are ruins! By definition there's no up-keep. A bit of mowing perhaps to keep the grounds looking half decent but I can't see where the money goes. Needless to say I was too tight to pay. I thought it was just my usual meanness but the week after we went friends were moaning about the same thing. They had the same solution too. If you walk to the right of the Abbey there is a little path that allows you to see pretty much everything you could see from inside the fence but, maybe, from 10 metres further away.
This will be a blog about my latest shots and what I liked or was trying to do with them
I am a teacher of Economics and have worked in various schools in Europe & Asia. One of the things I love doing is getting out and about with my camera.