Saturday, 12 November 2011


There have been some gorgeous sunsets over the last week or so. Of course, now that the clocks have changed I can't get back from work in time to catch the sunset over the sea, which I so enjoyed watching on the rare occasions when we saw the sun this summer. However, I've managed to catch the sunset in the countryside a couple of times. Beautiful.

Friday, 11 November 2011

In Remembrance

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

I always find these lines - from 'For the Fallen' by Laurence Binyon, very moving.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Some Troup gannets

Some late season gannets from Troup Head. Not this late in the season of course - there's no gannets left at Troup at all now, but they should start to return in a few months. These photos were all from mid August, when a lot of the chicks had fledged and many of the gannets had already left.

There was lots of preening going on, as the birds all made sure their wings were in the best condition for their months wintering at sea.

Those that were left ranged from the 'punk haircut' chicks which were well on the way to being fully fledged....

... to those who looked as if they were about to take off from the cliffs at any moment, and were regularly exercising their wings.

Meanwhile, there were still some very young, fluffy chicks too. I was wondering whether they'd fledge in time before the first of the winter storms arrived.

The gannets' bright yellow heads were fading fast, and there were still a few fights going on...

... although not nearly as many as previously as so many gannets had now left that there wasn't the same pressure on space, or the same likelihood of encroaching onto a neightbour's space as the birds came in to land.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Musical Maggie

I first saw Maggie Adamson perform at the Orkney Folk Festival Open Stage in 2007 (it seems like no time ago, doesn't time fly....) At the time she was only 15, but blew us (and the rest of the audience away) with her playing.

Here's a Youtube clip from the previous year (yes, she was around 14 then!) - I think this was one of the sets she played in the Open Stage - which she won in Orkney that year.

I managed to catch her and Brian Nicholson playing at the Tall Ships event in Shetland this summer - another great concert. She's just won the prestigious Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship - it's by invitation and, as such, is considered to be the premier fiddle competition in Scotland - so many congratulations to her for this well deserved victory.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A possible solution

Thanks to my friend Sian I may have a solution to my blogging problems, and may be able to start blogging again...... Fingers crossed. Of course, Sian may be the only person still bothering to read my blog by now, as everyone else may have got fed up of the lack of updates and given up! I'll give it a try over the next few days and see how it works out.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Blogging difficulties

I've been having huge problems getting any new blog entries written as Blogger sadly seems to have become rather unreliable. So meantime there will be no more blog entries until things improve, as I just don't have the time to spend on this just now. 5 hours for one blog entry is just ridiculous! And it's still not right as the font size seems set on small no matter what I do, or change...

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Trains (and boats)

I've been reminded (several times, by different people!) that my blog hasn't been updated for a very long time again! A lack of time to sort the 1000s of photos from the summer, combined with wrist problems meaning I can only edit a few at a time - and the necessity of combining finding time when my wrists are playing ball to allow me to get on with it - has meant it's been a few months since the last update. I am planning to start blogging more regularly again, and the photos are gradually being sorted, so over time you'll find out what I've been up to over the last few months.....

Meantime, though, here's what I was up to this weekend...

I know my blog posts are more usually about boats, but this one is about trains (and the odd boat.) Yesterday I went to the Aberdeen Model Railway Show. The folk I was with were more interested in the trains, layouts and technical side of running them, but I found all the landscaping fascinating and had an unexpectedly enjoyable few hours at the show. I thought I'd reach my boredom threshold way before that!

I was interested to find that you can buy little figures, farm animals, buildings, etc all to the correct scale to match the different scales of the different gauges of railways!

There was even a real miniature steam train - you could both see and smell the steam.

Some folk/clubs had made the most amazingly detailed landscapes for their railways - houses, cars and roads, tunnels and even the odd boat....

I was also amused to see that you could buy a wee Canadian canoe, complete with paddlers.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Sails in Stromness

As we were watching to see if the Europa would put her sails up (she did, but only a few as you can see)

... another ship, the Tecla, set off...

... followed by the Maybe ...

... and then the John Laing.

The bay was starting to look like it must have done years ago, with sailing ships coming in and out.

I went out on an Orkney Yole for a sail around the harbour. It was great fun and getting to see the tall ships from the water was brilliant.

Back ashore again, I spotted a crew member relaxing aboard the Gallant.

We then headed up Brinkie's Brae to get some views looking down into the bay.

The Europa was sailing out in the Flow, heading back to Stromness.

Ships were still leaving ...

... and arriving. The Wylde Swan took her time coming through the tide race off Graemsay.

What fantastic sights these boats make. And I should be seeing even more in Shetland very soon now.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A sea of masts

A sea of masts is how Stromness looked on Monday when I visited. There were around 9 tall ships berthed there, then throughout the day the numbers kept changing as some ships left and others arrived.

Some of the ships were just gorgeous - all polished wood and brass. This one is the Christian Radich.

We were able to go aboard the Sorlandet for a look around her decks. Again, I jumped at the chance!

She had a bell at each end of the deck.

The deck of the Sorlandet was a great place to look across at the Christian Radich, who had won the first leg of the race from Waterford to Greenock. She had just arrived in Stromness and was being readied for a "party on the poop deck" to be taking place in the afternoon.

Aboard the Sorlandet there was also work ongoing...

Lots of small boats were out, enjoying the views of the tall ships from the water. We spotted Jimmy Moar from Hoy, who had featured in the Spirit Dancer DVD!

The deck of the Sorlandet also proved to be a great place to watch as the Eurpoa headed off for another "party on the poop deck".

She was a beautiful sight as she headed off towards Scapa Flow, and we decided to watch for a while to see if she was going to put her sails up.