Monthly Archives: May 2013

Crossing to the bus stop


Drivng back from Ellon the other day I spotted what I thought would be a great picture:  there was a lovely patch of late daffodils growing round the Hatton village sign on the main road.  But the best laid schemes….Lily the dog and I set off to walk along the verge and take the picture when the light was in the right direction.  But when we got there I noticed that someone had fixed a big pole onto the sign with a video camera on the top.   It really spoiled the picture!  I will have to wait for next year to get the photograph I wanted.

Now on Monday I read in the P&J that “Road bosses are considering traffic-calming measures on a north-east trunk road over pedestrian safety fears.”  There was a picture of the Hatton turn-off and the bus shelter.  Bear Scotland installed the cameras to monitor the number of people crossing the road there and a decision is awaited about what should be done  to improve pedestrian safety.

The traffic does hurtle along the road and you do have to take extra care when crossing.  I certainly became aware of the speed and the volume of the traffic as Lily and I walked along the verge.  She was not happy at all, and we could feel the rush of the wind as the big lorries passed.

So I have recycled my Hatton sign daffodil photograph as a road safety picture and I had a go at taking a better picture of the bus shelter area than appeared in the P&J, trying to get the impression of the speed of the lorry as it hurtled past in a blur.  And just my luck, a Number 60 bus on its way to Aberden stopped just at the right moment for me.


Wetlands Wildlife

My copy of the HARA Summer Newsletter was delivered yesterday.   Thanks, Linda for asking me to write a little piece for publication.   My topic was about encountering a heron on an early morning walk by the burn at Hatton.   I thought I would it would be a good idea to put the heron pictures here so that people can see them in colour and to reprint the text of the article for those not fortunate enough to receive the HARA Newsletter.


Wetlands Wildlife

Some of the best photographs are not planned but depend on the quick reaction of the photographer.  I had no intention of photographing this heron.  I was walking in the field beside Park View, near the marshy area (described on the map as a pond),  which I have decided to call the Hatton Wetlands.   There was a heron watching out for “puddocks in the seggs.”   He saw me just as I saw him and he took off.  I just had time to catch him in my lens.

My neighbour tells me there is lots of wildlife there – mink in the burn, frogs in the wetlands and of course the heron.  I have seen a buzzard there too, and during that early morning walk, a couple of Mallard ducks swimming in the water.  Hatton has lots of wildlife.

By the way, the reference to the “puddocks in the seggs” is a quotation from a poem by Charles Murray which I learned in primary school called,  “The Whistle”.

He missed the craggit heron nabbin’ puddocks in the seggs.


( For those without the Doric – the poem tells of a herd boy in days gone by who did not notice a heron who was hunting for frogs in the sedge, because he was too busy playing on his home made whistle.)

But I didn’t miss my heron!

[Reprinted from the Hatton Area Residents Association Newsletter – Summer 2013]


The Hatton Spire

Every time I drive along the Hatton Straight on my way home I see the spire of the West Church and know that I am nearly there.   The spire has become for me an icon of the village.  As I looked through the collection of photographs which I have taken over the past couple of years, the West Church spire appears over and over again.   But for how much longer?



A For Sale sign has now appeared outside the church and it is expected that houses will be built on the site.   Hatton will look very different without the spire.   You can read on the Cruden Parish Church Website about the history of the church and why it came to be built in what was in 1843 the tiny community of Hatton, little more than the Mill.  The present building was erected in 1884 but is now no longer needed by the congregation of Cruden Parish Church and they have put it up for sale.


Writing in 1912 in his book, Cruden and Its Ministers, Rev Adam Mackay says, “The church is very pretty – a neat structure of Gothic design, surmounted by a spire.”  he goes on to record that in 1896 the clock and bell were added.  In 1920 the World War I Memorial Tablet was dedicated.








More about the West Church



Remembering St Adamnan

On the Eve of Pentecost 563 AD  St Columba landed on a little stony beach on the island of Iona, having sailed all the way from Ireland in a coracle.  Today is Pentecost and celebrations are being held to mark the 1450th anniversary of the event.

Iona may seem a long way from Cruden, but there are certainly connections between these early Celtic monks and the NE of Scotland.  Not least among them is the little ruined chapel of St Adamnan or (St Fidamnan) at Leask.


On this day of Pentecost 2013 I visited the chapel and took a few photographs.   It is a wonderful little place surrounded by mature trees, not yet in leaf, concealing what is thought to be a graveyard.  A little burn with yellow marsh marigolds in bloom, flows past the site.


Trees may conceal a graveyard round the church



Marsh marigolds bloom beside St Adamnan’s Chapel



Although the chapel dates to the 15th Century, tradition says that St Adaman (born in Ireland in 624 AD) who was the 9th Abbot of Iona and the biographer of St Columba, founded a cell here in the parish of Slains.  The “buried church” at Forvie also bears his name.


The church of Kineff south of Stonehaven, where the Regalia of Scotland were once hidden from Cromwell’s army in 1651, is dedicated to him and further dedications are at Aboyne and Forglen.

But perhaps I was premature in my visit.  History tells us that one of the things which divided the Celtic and the Roman Church in early Britain was the date of Easter and consequently Pentecost, some 50 days later.  Adaman was all for adopting the Roman date of Easter and consequently fell out of favour with his church for a while.   The Orthodox Church still keeps the old date of Easter and they will not celebrate Pentecost this year until 23 June.   Perhaps that is the date we should mark for the anniversary of the arrival of St Columba?   I will visit St Adamnan’s again then and see how the trees are looking when in full leaf.

But there is another connection I have with this area.   Although I had driven past the ruins before, it was only recently that I found out its name and some more information.  And the connection?   My grandfather, Alexander Smith whom I have written about before (See 28th March 2013), was born in October 1889 at Auchnabo farm just a little way down the road from the little chapel.  I wonder if his mother and father ever walked past it?



Where the Water of Cruden flows down to the sea


A place where I love to take pictures is between the Ladies’ Bridge and Port Erroll Harbour.  There are so many wonderful views there of the burn, the sand, the seaweed covered rocks, that picturesque boat, not to mention the Ladies’ Bridge itself.  And Lily enjoys time on the beach too.




Over the past few weeks I have been working on a project sponsored by Practical Photography Magazine called Camera School. The first module was to submit a landscape photograph.   I took pictures of Slains Castle, of the Ythan at Newburgh but it was the mouth of the Water of Cruden that really took my attention.  Time and time again I was out there on the sand at low water trying to find just the perfect angle for my picture.   The light had to be right, so I visited at different times of day, and I had to co-ordinate the light with the tides to make sure I could get into the position I wanted. (It is great to have tide tables easily found on the Internet!)   I am sure that some of these pictures will appear in next year’s Cruden Country Calendar.







I wonder if this boat is destined to be this year’s Viking longship?


The little boat SY804 has really taken my atention and It appears in many of the photographs,takenfrom all sorts of angles.





In the end I selected a picture which I took very early one morning featuring the World War II anti-tank defensive blocks leading the eye up to the Ladies’ Bridge, and of course my favourite boat is in shot in the distance.   Now I have to wait for the Camera School evaluators to give me their opinion.


This is the picture I finally decided to submit.

There were plenty more photographs of the concrete blocks to choose from!





The next Module in Photo School is to take “flattering people pictures to be proud of”. .   Anyone like to volunteer as a model?