Monthly Archives: February 2014

Back to the castle

I keep being drawn  back to Slains Castle as a photographic subject.   The way it sit on the cliff top with the rocks and breakers below has given me lots of different photographs these past couple of years.  Last month I was up at the castle to watch the sunrise and I managed a few dramatic silhouettes.

January sunrise, Slains Castle

January sunrise, Slains Castle

January sunrise, Slains Castle

January sunrise, Slains Castle

January sunrise, Slains Castle

January sunrise, Slains Castle

January sunrise near Slains Castle

January sunrise near Slains Castle

Today I was trying out straight on shot with the road leading to the castle.  One of my favourite pictures of the castle had been taken from that position with a pack of dogs running towards me.   On this occasion I was trying to meet a challenge set by my camera magazine  to take a picture with the main subject central.  Good old “Dracula’s Castle” has come up trumps again!

The dogs leave the castle.

The dogs leave the castle.

Slains Castle

Slains Castle

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By day and by night

I have been meaning to take some pictures of Buchan Ness Lighthouse for some time, but I have never got round to it until today. 

Buchan Ness Lighthouse

Buchan Ness Lighthouse

Two things came together to spur me into action.  The first was that I have agreed to speak on the subject of “Light” at the Cruden Parish Church “Messy Church” meeting this week and I thought a picture of our nearest lighthouse would fit in well.  The second was that as I drove to Peterhead this morning the sun was shining, the sea was blue and there was a lovely clear sky.

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Buchan Ness Lighthouse

Buchan Ness Lighthouse

The view from the A90 Road at Stirling Hill Quarry

The view from the A90 Road at Stirling Hill Quarry

I did not have long but I managed to take a few pictures from the village of Boddam and from the main road beside Stirling Hill Quarry. Then I decided to try to take a couple of pictures after dark to see the light in action.

Trails of car lights on the main road with the lighthouse visible in the distance.

Trails of car lights on the main road with the lighthouse visible in the distance.

Buchan Ness Lighthouse

Buchan Ness Lighthouse

The light flashes once every 5 seconds and can be seen for 28 naughtical miles

The light flashes once every 5 seconds and can be seen for 28 naughtical miles

The idea of a lighthouse on Buchan Ness was first raised in 1819 but it was not until 1827 that the light started to shine.  Robert Stevenson, Engineer to the Board (also grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson) surveyed the area and decided on the present position beside the village of Boddam. The red bands were added in 1907 to make it more visible in daylight.

 [More information about the lighthouse can be found on the Northern Lighthouse Board Website:]

  I have often watched waves breaking on the island where the lighthouse stands as I drive along the road to Peterhead.  Now that I have taken the plunge, so to speak, I am sure that I will be back to try to find the best angle for a picture.  But as always, the light and the tide have to be right, and if I want to catch the breakers, the wind too.

A Stormy Christmas

It has been a long time since I have written in my Blog.  Other things seem to have got in the way and the weather has not exactly been conducive to outdoor photography.

I thought I would share with you some pictures of a lovely little village in Anglesey called Rhoscolyn where we spent Christmas and New Year with our daughter and her family.  A little far from Cruden County I know, but the coast is beautiful there, not dissimilar to the area round Cruden Bay.

Rain battered against the window and blocked the view of the sea,

Rain battered against the window and blocked the view of the sea,

We can look down to the sandy beach of Borthwen from the window of our daughter and son-in-law’s house.  Mind you this year we often could hardly see the sea because of the gales and the driving rain that hit North Wales.  One day I did venture down to the beach to see the waves breaking right over the little island that shelters the bay.  The waves were crashing on the beach and I could hardly stand in the wind.   I tried a couple of pictures from the safety of the dunes but the camera was getting too wet and Lily the dog was more than anxious to retreat back to the house.   I had to spend a while back in the warmth cleaning off the salt off my equipment.

Christmas storm at Borthwen beach, Rhoscolyn.

Christmas storm at Borthwen beach, Rhoscolyn.

Christmas storm at Borthwen beach, Rhoscolyn

Christmas storm at Borthwen beach, Rhoscolyn

We were all a bit frustrated not being able to get out much, the weather was so bad.  and to make things worse the electricity went off for the best part of a day.  No light, not heat, no cooking facilities and what was worse for the children – no television.   At least we had plenty of candles for Christmas.

When will the electricity come back on?

When will the electricity come back on?

One thing that the stormy weather did provide was wonderful sunset skies with a mixture of oranges, turning to blues and reds and the sun went down behind the clouds.   I love taking pictures of dramatic skies.  And there were plenty of them at Rhoscolyn.

Rhoscolyn sunset

Rhoscolyn sunset

Rhoscolyn sunset

Rhoscolyn sunset

Rhoscolyn sunset

Rhoscolyn sunset

There were a couple of fine cold days when we did venture down to the beach.  It looked so different with the calm water, with views down to mountains of Snowdonia.  Lily enjoyed playing football with the children and the seabirds were out too, enjoying a respite from the relentless storms.

Football on Borthwen beach

Football on Borthwen beach

Borthwen beach, Rhoscolyn with the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance

Borthwen beach, Rhoscolyn with the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance

Redshank on Borthwen beach, Rhoscolyn

Redshank on Borthwen beach, Rhoscolyn

Curlew on Borthwen beach, Rhoscolyn

Curlew on Borthwen beach, Rhoscolyn

Rhoscolyn sits on a little island called Holy Island right at the western tip of Anglesey, 5 miles or so from the ferry port of Holyhead.  The name Rhoscolyn is said to mean “The Moor” (rhos) of The Column (colyn), referring to a pillar which the Romans put up to mark the edge of their territories.

Waving to Snowdonia

Waving to Snowdonia