Saturday, 23 June 2012

Bullers in spring

I've been to the Bullers o Buchan before, but not in springtime. The wild flowers were beautiful.

 Red campion

 A great bank of red campion and primroses


 White campion

The views were stunning too, from the Bullers o' Buchan itself...

... right up the coast towards Peterhead.

Plenty of bird life too.




A short walk along the coast you can see Slains Castle in one direction...

... and the Buchan Ness lighthouse in the other.

I must go back again soon and see the bird life as there should be some chicks hatched by now.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Paddling a different craft

At last year's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival I jumped at the chance to paddle a coracle. It was certainly very different to paddle... but great fun for a short time.

You got to paddle the replica ones which were made of modern materials, but they also had a more traditional built coracle there too.

It was really interesting to see it, and to get a close look at how it was made. I got chatting to the gut in charge, and - after having successfully paddled one of the other coracles round the harbour - was extremely pleased to be allowed to go of paddling the beautiful skin and wood one. It was definitely more difficult to paddle than the more modern replicas, as it was a lot more tippy and harder to steer. I was pleased I managed though!

All great fun. I'd been paddling my kayak a few times prior to the show last year, but due to now living further from the sea I've not paddled at all yet this year, so I might not be as successful if I try paddling a coracle again this year ...  And if I do fall in, there is unlikely to be any sun to dry me off!

Portsoy Boat Festival

I'd heard about the Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival years ago but it wasn't until I moved to the north east that I had the chance to visit it. Last year I was there on a beautiful, sunny day. This year's festival is being held this weekend but somehow I don't think the weather is going to be as good this year ...

It was a really enjoyable day with lots to see and do. There was live music on various stages, and buskers too, right round the harbour and beyond.

The traditional boats were beautiful and it was great to see them getting ready to leave harbour, being rowed out and putting their sails up ready for the kipper race.

There were also rowing races. Having tried rowing a yoal in Shetland last summer, I know what hard work that is, but also what fun!

There was a small boat which is going to be rowing the Atlantic. Although it says on it Atlantic2011, they've changed their attempt to 2013. They were using the festival as some extra rowing practice.

It's funny how your perception of things change ... above it looks really small - and certainly is when you think that these guys will be living in it for several weeks as they cross the Atlantic. It looks a tiny craft to be facing the sorts of conditions they will face out there.

When they rowed out and you compared it to the traditional sailing boats, it suddenly looked a bit bigger...

I wonder if it'll be there again this weekend?

There were also traditional crafts on display, stalls, food and coracles. More on the coracles later...

I loved this tapestry map.

Kippers were being smoked, and there was a huge queue for them, along with beer from the Black Isle Brewery which was being advertised as "great with fish". Lots of people were enjoying the live music whilst having their food and drink. Tomorrow we may be sheltering beneath our waterproofs instead...

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Normally when I return to Arran all is much the same as it always was, or with only the odd change. This time though there seemed to be a lot of dramatic changes - all in a small area, my old 'stamping ground'.

This is for my friend Ann who won't be able to see the changes in person as she now lives in Australia.

The old church in Lamlash is finally being restored. It's been talked about for as long as I can remember (i.e. since I was a small child, first holidaying in Lamlash when I was at primary school.)

I'm not sure who now owns it - for years and years there was talk of it being turned into a festival theatre.

Lots of changes at the Marine too...

It looks really weird to see it like that, minus the room we used to stay in! Although it does make it look more like old postcards I remember being shown as a child by the owners.

Time will tell whether the changes are all for the better.


The weather was just gorgeous in Arran a few weekends ago compared to recent weeks. It wasn't that warm, but it was sunny and clear. In fact, it was the clearest I can ever remember seeing from Lamlash...

I've never before seen Culzean Castle so clearly from Lamlash (right across the Firth of Clyde) with the naked eye.

We went for an evening stroll along Shore Road, and enjoyed the clear views over to the mainland... the wind farm and the paper mill at Irvine both really stood out.

We even spotted the fast cat from Ireland heading for Troon - that's the first time I've ever seen it. Here it's passing Culzean - and the lighthouse on Holy Isle.

Last interesting sighting of the evening was a nuclear sub being escorted down the Clyde from Faslane.

It was going at a fair pace and it didn't take it long to appear again at the south end of Holy Isle.

 A beautiful evening. One to remember.

Transit of Venus

The weather has changed dramatically here; after a gorgeous weekend camping in Applecross where it stayed dry the whole time, it doesn't seem to have stopped raining since I got back to Inverurie! As a result I most definitely didn't see the transit of Venus today as I didn't see the sun at all... however, I did see the one back in 2004. The next one won't occur until 2117 so I guess I won't be seeing that one either.

This was an early digital image from well before I got a digital SLR, showing the sun being projected through a telescope onto a piece of paper, with Venus clearly visible.