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Busy But Good Times

What a wonderful weekend it has been during this August bank holiday, I started the weekend off by having a walk in the hills of North Ayrshire but I will tell you about that one another time. This blog is all about my travels on Sunday when I went into Argyllshire on the west of Scotland.

The day started with a drive north along the A82 passing Loch Lomond until reaching Tarbet when I left to join the A83 at Arrochar. I followed this road all the way around to Lochgilphead. However, on the route you have to climb up Glen Croe to the Rest and Be Thankful which sits at the top of the glen. This is a place you really must stop at and enjoy the scenery, easily one of the most incredible parts of Scotland, every direction that you look in could be used as a screensaver on your computer.

Once you have left the Rest and Be Thankful, you immediately pass by Loch Restil which is a beautiful little loch which is very photogenic particularly on a calm day, you do need to be careful on this bit of road when it is windy as the cross winds can be extremely strong as several drivers have discovered in recent years.

After Loch Restil, just a short distance away is the iconic location known as Butterbridge, this is another place that you have to get out of the car to view and fully appreciate. There is a historic bridge that was built by General Wades soldiers at the time of the Jacobite Rebellions and stunning views to Ben Ime (pronounced “eem”).

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Now, there is a lot to see and do in Argyllshire but I want to mainly focus on Sundays journey and my walk and just share it with you. I will go into more detail about other parts of Argyll on another occasion.

So, where were we? Ahh yes, you then follow the A83 road all the way to Inverary, there is a historic jail here and on the way into the town you cross over a hump bridge which is controlled by traffic lights, as you reach the top of the bridge look to the right, you will see Inverary Castle which was the inspiration for Walt Disneys Disneyland Castle.

When leaving Inverary you will drive along the banks of Loch Fyne for some distance and eventually arrive at Lochgilphead, I can tell you this, I was so happy to arrive here to be able to use the public toilet, comfort break doesn’t quite cover the relief. Moving on, once you are through Lochgilphead you then join a smaller road, the A816 which will take you to the village of Kilmartin, and if you have reached this point without seeing Dunadd or the standing stones then you have come too far, Dunadd and the standing stones are all on the left side of the road as you journey along it.

Dunadd Hill Fort

The picture above is Dunadd Hill Fort, this is where Fergus among others became Kings during the coronation rituals that took place here. This is an incredibly historic location and is recognised as the birthplace of Scotland. You will find ancient carvings from Celts and Picts and there is a footprint significant in the coronation of Fergus.

Dunadd itself is accessible from the main road but it is dreadfully signposted so as you drive this road, I recommend no faster than 40mph because the entrance is just after a bend and not readily visible until you are upon it, this is not a place which you want to turn into when someone is driving close behind.

Now if you are reasonably fit you will be able to manage the slight climb up the rocky and grassy footpath to the top but be aware that this is one that you will require to wear the right kind of footwear, do not try it in dress shoes or high heels, get the walking shoes on and you will be fine. The views from the top are beautiful and well worth the huffing and puffing to get there, it is a gorgeous reward.

After coming down from the hill, the next location you want to have a look at are the standing stones and the Nether Largie Cairn. The cairn is a burial chamber and you can access it without too much difficulty. I think it is fascinating that the people were buried in the feotal position and not laid straight out as is the customary manner today.

In order to view the Nether Largie Cairn and the Standing Stones, you will have to park in the Lady Glassary Wood Car Park which is again on the left side when you are travelling north and indeed another one which is fairly hidden and with no signage this time to tell you that it is there. However, it is another location with an incredible reward for finding it.

You are discouraged from touching the standing stones, it is said to be bad luck and misfortune will find you if you do touch them, I have enough bad luck under normal circumstances I decided not to touch. This is a place that I will certainly come back too and I don’t think it will be too long before I return but this is one of those places that visitors to Scotland don’t really get to hear about, a most gorgeous hidden treasure and one that everyone should see.

If you’ve visited this location, please share your experiences.

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Oops! It Was More Than A Week.

Forgive me, I know I said I would try to write at least one update to this blog each week and in reality this horse fell at the first hurdle. In truth, I’ve actually been really busy, I have in the last few weeks travelled most of the length of the UK, I’ve been as far north as Aviemore and as far south as Exmouth. This has given me some opportunities for photography.

One of those opportunities took me to Ruthven Barracks and unfortunately the light in the later part of the afternoon and early evening just wasn’t working, I did my best with it though and got a couple of reasonable shots, one I like is a silhouette, you’ll see it below.

From the other end of the UK and my journey into the southern part of England, I got some nice work done down in Somerset, what a beautiful area that is. Home of the incredible Cheddar Gorge where you can see locally produced cheddar cheese maturing in caves down the gorge.

I simply cannot tell you enough about this location, I urge you to visit Goughs Cave at the very least and take with you one of those hand held guides that tell you the history. Taking pictures inside a dimly lit cave can be a little challenging but if you take your time and are patient with the fact that this is a place that you cannot access until it is open to the public then you will eventually get the shots you want.

I hope that you like this work, I had a great pleasure in shooting inside the caves at Cheddar Gorge but that is not the only place I visited….

Somerset is a very beautiful location and below you will see just some of the locations I have been fortunate enough to visit, let’s just say Somerset, I will return.

One of the quirkiest locations I have ever taken a photograph is at Parliament Street, Exeter. It is believed to be the narrowest street in the world, it is only two and a half feet wide at its narrowest point. The Grand Pier at Weston Super Mare is quite a magnificent sight to see indeed, I love going under these structures and getting some geometric shots as you can see above. The pier is supported by 600 iron piles and is 1,300ft long.

Work to build the original pier started in 1903 and it eventually opened in November 1904. Unfortunately the pier was twice damaged by fire, the worst being in 2008 which resulted in the rebuilding of the pier and a major modernisation project being undertaken. The result is one of the best pleasure piers anywhere in the UK.

A Long Time Gone

I first started this blog about five years ago and I had intended to write about my journeys as I travel to some very interesting locations mainly in Scotland but from time to time to other parts of Britain and farther afield where I can, but in particular to write about my time combining my travels with learning photography.

Sadly though, real life got in the way and this blog fell by the wayside and lay dormant, I have only just recently picked it up again and now that I have tidied up some of the posts from the past I aim to write here at least weekly if not more frequently.

I particularly enjoy photography and travelling but I also enjoy writing, I hope that I can bring you something a little different that will keep you interested, maybe even a little amused at times too.

Ruthven Barracks Kingussie Scotland 002e

Edinburgh

Took a drive over to Edinburgh, I was really hoping to catch the Christmas lights and the lights of the fair on Princes Street Gardens, however, the weather which was awful put paid to that idea. All this means is that I will be returning to Edinburgh quite soon in order to shoot the city again but I am going to wait for a weather window where there is no rain. 

So in the meantime, you’ll have to forgive my lack of images from today’s photo shoot and enjoy the image below of Queen Mary’s Bath House which I took in September 2012 on my last visit to Scotlands capital city.Image