Monthly Archives: May 2016

Ablaze with colour

The cliff tops were ablaze with colour yesterday.  The sun was shining, the sea was blue and the Thrift and Red Campion was in full bloom.   Wonderful!   It was quite a contrast to the morning when the haar was in, and everything was dull and grey.

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Lily, Poppy and I made an impromptu visit to the Longhaven cliffs on the way back home from Peterhead.   I could not believe how colourful the cliff tops were, and the sea was positively Mediterranean blue.   But this was the North Sea.  We walked a little way along the cliff top path, part of the Nave Nortrail which aims to create, when complete, a 7,000 mile trail of coastal paths along the shores of the North Sea from Shetland, down the east coast as far as the North York Moors, then to the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, finishing up in Norway.

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It had been a few years since I had been here, but I will definitely be back after yesterday.  There is a little car park just off the main road and an easy path across the line of the old Great North of Scotland Railway which opened in 1897 and ran from Ellon, through Hatton and Cruden Bay (promoted by the railway company as the “Brighton of the North”!),  finishing up at Boddam – a strange place for the end of the line? The railway closed to passengers in 1932.    No trains, but you can get a good view of the Buchanness Lighthouse through the cutting.

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The path has been improved since last I was there, with bridges over the wettest parts.  I will have to try to walk further the next time and see if we can reach the Bullers of Buchan.  And an added bonus:  on our way back to the car I saw my first orchid of the year.

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Through the bluebell wood

I have been biding my time, waiting for the bluebells in Dales Park in Peterhead to come into full bloom.  I tried a couple of weeks ago but I could see I would have to wait.   I also had to wait for light, hoping for sunshine.   In the end I made do with a bright overcast day on Saturday.   Perhaps that was best, there was not too much contrast between the bright sunshine outside the wood and the shady areas where the bluebells bloom.

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It was well worth the wait, to see the carpet of bluebells under the trees.   I posted one picture yesterday on Facebook and had an unexpected response from one of my Facebook friends.  Bob Milne now lives in Upper Tweeddale in the Borders, but recalled his days working in local government for the then Banff and Buchan Council.

Many, many, years ago when I worked for the late unlamented Banff and Buchan Coooncil we took over this area and started to set it up as a wildlife park area. David Bellamy came and visited it in the early days. Nice to see it has turned out well.

I am an incomer to the Peterhead area and as often as I have walked in Dales Park, I had never thought of how it came into being.   Thank you Banff and Buchan Council!

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Daisies pied and violets blue

The weather was great this afternoon as Mary and I went for a walk with the dogs at the Forvie Nature reserve.  Taking notice of the warning to keep dogs on leads during the bird breeding season, we set off through the dunes and past the little lochans than can be found there, one with a rather spectacular display of reeds.  Everything was dry and the May flowers making their appearance among the heather clumps and the dune grass.   Every so often we would spy a little bright blue dots of the violets beside the path and the occasional stalk of lady smocks.

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Violet

Lady Smock

Lady Smock

As we sat in the heather for a little breather, a lark rose up above us with its distinctive piping song.  Mary broke into song too, as she recalled a setting of the song from the Shakespeare play, Love’s Labours Lost.  She had taken part in a performance of the play when she was at teacher training college at Jordanhill in Glasgow.

I had been thinking about the same song a couple of days before, although I had said nothing, when I spied some lady smock flowers blooming in the Hatton field, but I could not recall all the words of the song.  I looked them up when we got home today:

When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he: 
Cuckoo; Cuckoo, cuckoo!”
O, word of fear,

Unpleasing to a married ear!

When shepherds pipe on oaten straws
And merry larks are ploughmen’s clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he: 
Cuckoo; Cuckoo, cuckoo!” O, word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

I had to look up the cuckoo-buds reference…buttercups.  All the elements were there with us today, daisies, violets, lady smocks, larks.  The one thing that was missing was the Cuckoo.   It’s been a long time since I have heard one, probably not since I was a teenager.   I wonder if they are still present in Scotland?

On the way back to the car Mary spied a woolly caterpillar racing across the path.  Poppy and Lily had a sniff.  I reached for my camera and another song, this time a children’s one came to mind:

Little Arabella Miller found a woolly caterpillar.
First it crawled up on her mother, then upon her baby brother.
They said, “Arabella Miller! take away that caterpillar!” 

I know nothing about caterpillar so it was back to the Internet.  Our little woolly friend will grow into a Tiger Moth.  In America they call it a Woolly Bear.

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Tiger moth catterpillar

 

 

 

 

Footwear on display

I wrote yesterday about good pictures focussing on the eyes of the subject.   I took quite a few pictures last night at the 1st Peterhead Girls’ Brigade Annual Open Night Display.  I had eyes in mind as I tried to capture different faces of the girls during their activities.   The Hall was very dark, and I was working at the absolute limit of my camera’ capabilities.  Colour was a bit off, and the pictures are grainy, but still it was fun to record the girls in action.   Incidentally I did manage to get a few good eye shots.  (See the pictures here).

But during the evening my eyes moved downwards.  |It all started when I saw one of the young ladies in a pair of shiny red boots, just shouting out to be photographed!

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Then I began noticing all the different footwear on display.

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The eyes have it

While looking through my photographs for a picture to post on Facebook today I came across one I took a few years ago of a young cow in  a field on the road to Whinnyfold.  Cattle can be naturally curious and this young lady certainly was, as she peeked over the gorse bush to watch me watching her.

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It was Robert Capa, the famous war photographer who said, If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough. ”  He made his reputation for gritty pictures of conflict in the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.  He was killed by a land mine in Indo China in 1954.  His advice is certainly true, and I will often try to get close in to my subject.

Another piece of photographic advice given is, focus on the eyes.   This is true for pictures of people or animals.   Here are a few pictures on the theme, Focus on the eyes.

Maisie

Maisie

Eira

Eira

Midgie

Midgie

Dako

Dako

Alpaca, near Cuminestown

Alpaca, near Cuminestown

Pepsi

Pepsi

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Binky

Ewe in waiting

Ewe in waiting

Bull's eye

Bull’s eye

 

And finally - no eyes!

And finally – no eyes!

 

 

Buzzard

I occasionally see a buzzard in the Hatton field when I am out walking the dogs.  I have never managed to get a photograph of it.  He (or is it she?) usually takes off with a casual stretch of the wings before I can get close enough.

Tonight he was sitting on a fence post quite close to the path, but, needless to say, I did not have a camera with me.  A mobile phone is just not up to the task of moving wildlife photography.  But I tried.  It seems to take me so long to get the phone out, switched on, find the camera app, zoom in the lens and then try to find a moving bird  while the camera tries to focus and eventually condescends to take a picture.

I got two pictures, not great, but wonderful when I consider the equipment I was using.   Perhaps some day I will have the right camera round my neck when the buzzard appears again.

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Pink whirlwind

Maisie is like a pink whirlwind..  We are loving to have her with us for a couple of days, but how fast a three year old moves.   We are learning what Dora the Explorer gets up to on the television programme and what Maisie the Explorer gets up to when she goes exploring in the Hatton field when we are out on a dog walk.

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Perhaps the most exciting experience was football in pink pyjamas and wellies at 8 am in the morning!

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Later in the day she was helping me gather rhubarb, arching round the garden supported by her little doggie friend, Poppy.

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Perhaps the quietest I saw her was when Maisie the Explorer was in the campervan, exploring, naturally.   The smile on her face as she tried out the high up bed tells it all.

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Sunrise, sunset

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Yesterday I posted a picture on Facebook of an early morning sunrise through a foggy sky.  I did not get many likes.  My followers seem to prefer more picturesque shots, and those with dogs at the seaside.   But I love these early morning and late evening photographs of dramatic. colourful skies.   I have lots of them.

I thought today I would look back at some of the sunrise and sunset pictures I have in my collection.   Even as a teenager I was interested in trying to photograph the sunrise.  I recall getting up very early both on a visit to Brechin and from the Ochil Hills near Dollar, to get the sun rising over a summer horizon.  But in those days of black and white film the result was never very satisfying.   It is the colour that does it.   Some day I may go for a hunt through my old back and white negatives and see if I can find any of these early failures.

Starting at home, here are a few pictures taken from Hatton.   It all started that July morning when I was woken by the orange glow of the sun through the bedroom window.   In the first picture you can see the refelction of the sun in the window when I staggered outside with my camera.   The fog muted the intensity of the sun and gave everything a wonderful orange glow.  I walked through the village snapping away, all on my own in the early sunrise hour.

Summer sunrise, Hatton

Summer sunrise, Hatton

Summer sunrise over the Hatton Mill

Summer sunrise over the Hatton Mill

Summer sunrise reflected in the Water of Cruden at Hatton

Summer sunrise reflected in the Water of Cruden at Hatton

Hatton sunsets also appear in my collection, including the one which shows the spire of the West Kirk, now sadly no longer there because of the fire which burned it down.  This shot was submitted to the BBC Landward programme  and appeared on their website.  They were celebrating midsummer and asked  for sunset pictures from all over Scotland.   But even without the sun the skies to the north west of Hatton in the summer can be wonderful in the late evening.

Midsummer sunset over West Kirk at Hatton

Midsummer sunset over West Kirk at Hatton

Hatton sunset, midsummer

Hatton sunset, midsummer

Another great place for photographs in Slains Castle.  I walked up there on a January morning to catch the rising sun, fortunately not too early in midwinter. It was a wonderful morning and I collected more than a few pictures. Just three here:   the sun rising out of the sea with the castle to the side, and one of the sunrise framed in the window of the ruined castle. Lily was with me that morning and she seemed to admire the sunrise too.

Winter sunrise, Slains Castle.

Winter sunrise, Slains Castle.

Winter sunrise at Slains Castle

Winter sunrise at Slains Castle

From Slains Castle, midwinter.

From Slains Castle, midwinter.

My finaly pictures are from Rhoscolyn in Angelsey where Tony and Rosie have a house. Winter skies can be wonderful there, like these two quite different skies taken from the house garden over the village, one in snow. But it is the colour of the sky which grabs me.  It always does.

Winter sunset, Rhoscolyn

Winter sunset, Rhoscolyn

Winter sunset, Rhoscolyn

Winter sunset, Rhoscolyn

Summer evening walk

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It had not been a great day, but come evening the sun was shining brightly as I went for an evening walk round Hatton with the dogs.   As I walked along the path behind the Manse, the sun was shi8ning through the trees and I took the opportunity to point the camera up and create a picture through the branches of the mature trees which grow there.   The site is scheduled for redevelopment along with where the West Church used to stand.  I hope that some of these trees are preserved in the project.

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Not all the trees in Hatton are mature: I noticed this little birch tree in a garden near main Street.  Birch trees brought back memories of walks last week in the woods of Glen Esk.

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As we made my way up the track behind Northfield Gardens the sun was shining on the fields, with distinctive lines of the growing crops.  But what really took my attention was the distinctive cloud in the sky to the north.

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Then I cam across a little field of most unusual sheep.  They seemed quite interested in the dogs and me as we stopped to look and photograph.

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Finally we made our way up the road towards Easter Aquharney Farm, stopping at the Trig Point at Hobshill.   I am always disappointed that it does not seem possible to get a better picture of the village from this map-maker’s vantage point.   The houses seem too far away and there are unsightly poles and wires.   Some day I promise myself I will try to find the trig point on the high ground on the other side of the main A90 road.   |Perhaps there might be a better picture of Hatton from there?

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A study in yellow

The countryside is  ablaze just now with the yellow of gorse bushes, such a contrast in tone to the much colder yellow of the oil seed rape which is starting to appear in the fields.  On our way back from Glen Esk last week we took a back road through from Laurencekirk to St Cyurus.  The sun was out, the sky was blue and the gorse was shimmering on the hillsides.  Shame I courldn’t stop the van and take a picture, but narrow country roads and stopping where you want to indulge your photographic urges don’t go together too well.   When I did manage to stop it was to take a picture of a lonely stand of pines at the op of a field of growing crops.

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Yesterday when I was out with the dogs I looked for yellow.  Down by the little burn which flows past the Hatton Mill I saw some marsh marigolds (or do you call them king cups?).  Just further up the burn from where I stopped to photograph the flowers, there was another flash of yellow as a grey wagtail with its bright yellow breast landed on a stone in the water.  No chance of a picture though, since I did not have my big camera with me.  I was quite delighted to see it, we are much more used to seeing the black and white pied wagtails.

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It’s not only gorse season, the dandelions are magnificent just now.  Perhaps we don’t welcome them in our garden, but a carpet of their bright yellow flowers at the roadside is a delight to see in the spring sunshine.   While I was down on my kneeds patking the picture of the dandelions, it was a yellow siskin which flew by and landed on a fence in the field.

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There is plenty of gorse about in Hatton too.  It can make a lovely blaze of colour at the foreground of a picture.  This photograph was taken during an evening walk on the road to Easter Aquarney, near the Hobshill Trig point.  A rowan tree grows out of the flowering gorse, and if you look carefully enough you can see the moon in the blue evening sky.

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In and out the dusty bluebells

I have been waiting for the bluebells to come into bloom in the wood in Dales Park in Peterhead.  I visited there today to see how they were coming on, but there are not really in full bloom yet.   It was also not an ideal day for photographs either with an overcast, grey sky, although there was a sudden blink of sun while I was kneeling down close to the flowers.

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Pictures of the carpet of bluebell buds on their own really don’t work.  You don’t  get the proper effect of a carpet of blue.   So I tried a close up of a few stems with the carpet behind.  Fortunately I had remembered to take a carrier bag with me to preserve my knees!   But I was not able to properly view the picture before I took it and there is some extraneous vegetation sharing the foreground.

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Another problem was created by Lily and Poppy who seemed able to stray into the picture because of the extreme wide angle lens I was using.  I decided to try to add Poppy to the pictures, and managed to get a few good shots of her making her way in and out of the dusty bluebells.

Clearly I needed some foreground interest, so my last attempt this morning was to feature the fresh new sycamore leaves with the bluebells behind.

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I must go back in a few days to the bluebell wood when the sun in shining and hopefully the flowers are more fully out.

 

Viewing Dumyat

Mary and I lived at different ends of the Ochils hills in our teens.   For me at the east end, my view was of Dollar (Bank) Hill and White Wisp. From her bedroom window in Tullibody Mary would look out at the craggy shape of Dumyat at the extreme western end of the Ochil escarpment.

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We parked our motorhome at The Woods Caravan Park, near Fishcross in Clackmannanshire. The owner is proud of the 180 degree view of the Ochil hills that visitors to his site can enjoy. And he is right. I was able to walk the dogs late at night and admire Dumyat silhouetted against the setting sun, or look the same way in the early morning light.

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The sun sets over the Ochils

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Dumyat is silhouetted against the evening sky

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Dumyat in the morning

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Dumyat is different from the other hills in the Ochils which tend to be more rounded. Dumyat is steep and rocky, with a distractive summit. The name comes from the Gaelic Dùn Mhèad, the Hill fort of the Maeatae, a confederation of tribes living north of the Antonine Wall in the 2-3 Century AD.
It is strange how things come together sometimes. Today I posted a picture on Facebook of the ruins of St Adamnan’s Chapel at Leask, near were I live. In doing a little research about Dumyat for this post I discovered that the Maeatae  (Adamnan called them Miathi) were still around in the 6-7 century. He mentions them as the Southern Picts in his life of St Columba.

Ruins of the 15th Century St Adamnan's Chapel at Leask, near Ellon.

Ruins of the 15th Century St Adamnan’s Chapel at Leask, near Ellon.

The Rocks of Soilitude

I had often heard my mother’s family talking about the Rocks of Solitude in Glen Esk in Angus, but it was never any place we went to visit on day trips from Brechin where we lived when I was young.   I knew this was a gorge on the River North Esk which my geography teacher at Brechin High School told us marked the line of the Highland fault which runs from Stonehaven to Dumarton. What I had seen was the river rushing through the rocks where the Edzell to Fettercairn road crosses the river at the Gannochy bridge, quite spectacular.
During our recent stay a the Glen Esk Caravan Park I had in my mind to try to take a picture from the bridge but driving back down the Glen after a visit to Invermark I spied a tiny sign pointing to the Rocks of Solitude. The next day we went back to explore.
There was a path here leading along the river, which rushed through rocks far below. There was not a great view to be had, but pushing my way through some trees covered with dead grass which had clearly been carried thereby the river during the December floods, I had a sight of the top of a waterfall. Clearly the water had been very high to leave its traces on the trees.
On our way home I hoped to stop at the Gannochy bridge to add another photograph to the collection, but no such luck, the only parking place available big enough or our van was deep in mud.

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When I was home, a bit of research on the Internet informed me that there is much more to see at the Rocks of Solitude than the small part we had visited. There is blue door to look out for giving access lower down the river to he Burn House Estate and a network of paths past the Rocks of Solitude. Clearly this is another site added to the “needs further exploring” list.
As I wrote his I remembered a crime novel read many years ago. Our neighbour when we lived in Aberdeen was Frank Lyall, a law professor at the University who also dabbled in crime fiction. One of his books is set at the Burn House where an academic conference is taking place, and I am sure the Rocks of Solitude feature. I can’t recall the name of the book, but I wonder if it is A Death in Time. I have ordered a copy from a second hand book seller. We will see if I am right!

Wood violets bloom onthe banks of the river

Wood violets blooms among the grass.

A walk in the woods

Spring sunshine and mature beech trees bursting into leaf made an idyllic setting for walks with the dogs at the weekend, and as a bonus we had the whole place to ourselves.   Mary found a little track from the caravan site which led into this magnificent beech wood on the Burn Estate in Glen Esk.

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How the dogs loved to scamper through the dry beech leaves on the ground, in between exploring far and wide.  Memories of days long ago came back to me – out with my grandfather in beech woods very near here, collecting leaf mould for him to mix compost to grow his bedding plants.

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During the two days we were there the leaves came further out and the hint of bright green on the branches became more distinct.

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The path through the woods led to a gate in a field with a pond.  The water seemed to have overtaken some conifers.  They looked dead, but they made an interesting picture.

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From here the woods changed to birch, the type of tree that you can find all up Glen Esk.  Smaller, and now with lush grass growing below.

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On our way back to our van we came across this beech tree carved with memories, some going back nearly  seventy years.  Clearly we had not been the first people to walk in these woods.

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Up another glen

This glen is Gken Esk in Angus, another of my childhood haunts.  Trips in my grandfather’s car in the 1950s would often end up “up the Glen”.  It was one of his favourite spots.  Indeed, although I never saw it, he acquired a hut for his family in the years before the Second World War, and the family would cycle up the Glen from Brechin to stay there for a weekend and enjoy the hills and the river.
My father would also be a regular in the Glen with the Army Cadets who had a tainting camp down by the North Esk, near Dalbog farm. Spring time weekend camps were the regular thing, and my father was the cook. I would often go up on the Saturday with him and get a lift home in the evening.

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This visit to the Glen was in our motorhome. We found a wonderful campsite on the Burn Estate which was just to our taste. Set among trees, with ducks swimming in the little pond beside our pitch. The weather was great too, and we had every opportunity to enjoy our trip “up the Glen”.

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Up the Glen

It was a nostalgia trip.   Dollar Glen was always a very special place for me when I was growing up.  An exciting place, with paths cut along the rock face, trees enclosing the Dollar burn which flowed through the gorges, and cascaded in magnificent waterfalls.  After a steep climb the ruins of Castle Campbell would appear, making the long slog up the paths.steps and bridges well worthwhile.

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Fifty years on Mary and I made he climb today in lovely spring weather.  There was a lovely light, the trees were busting into leaf, and wildflowers were everywhere, bluebells, violets, primroses, shamrock to mention but a few.   But fifty years on, the paths and steps do seem a little steeper than I remember.

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The Long Bridge used to lead through this gorge.

I was looking forward to walking what I rememberd we called the Long Bridge through a narrow chasm where the burns splits into two.  The chasm was there but the bridge has now gone and that route to the Castle is no longer an option.  I recall reading that Andrew Milne who was the first rector of Dollar Academy and the parish minister of Dollar, explored these gorges in the Victorian age long before paths were cut out of rock nd bridgess built.   What an experience that must have been,but not one Iwouldlike to copy.

A nice set of photographs will enhance this memory of the nostalgic walk up Dollar Glen.

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East coast problems

Whenever I try to take a picture of grandchildren throwing stones into the sea I encounter two problems.   The first is that they will be standing with their backs to me as they launch their missiles into the waves.   I think the best pictures show the sea and unless I catch the children coming back up the beach to re-arm, the picture is of the back of their heads.  I have tried t getter a better view point by  scrambling on rocks or standing close to the sea, (often managing to get my feet wet in the process!) and picturing the subject in profile.

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The second problem is a geographical one.  Here on the East coast the sun tends to be out to sea when we are on the beach and I am forced to take the pictures into the sun.   Fine for dramatic contra jour atmospheric pictures, but not the best to portray children having fun on the beach.   The only solution would be to move coast!

I have lots of contra jour pictures of the backs of children throwing stones into the North Sea.

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High seas

The weather has been fine this May Bank Holiday weekend, sunny lots of the time, but windy too.   Clearly the wind was in the best position for waves to come crashing onto the Aberdeenshire coast. I have headed off to the shore in the past on a windy day to try to get some wave pictures, only to find no waves to speak off.   This weekend was different.

We had grandchildren staying with us and we managed a couple of trips to the beach, to Whinnyfold and to Collieston.  Inbetween pictures of children I mamaged a few shots of waves breaking on the rocks.  Shame I didn’t have the opportunity to head for Buchanness Lighthouse.  I have been waiting for a long time now to catch waves crashing on the rocks there in sunshine.   But there will be another day……

At Whinnyfold the wind was gusting strongly at the top of the cliff as we heading down the path, but down on the beach we were sheltered and quite warm despite the waves crashing on the rocks.

Whinnyfold

Whinnyfold

Whinnyfold

Whinnyfold

At Collieston I remembered Christmas Eve last year with the waves and the foam.  In yesterday’s sunshine I was able to get out of the car (!) and  right down to the beach at St Catherine’s Dub to get a picture of the waves breaking over the harbour wall.

Collieston, Christmas Eve 2015

Collieston, Christmas Eve 2015

Collieston

Collieston

 

From the carpark you can see the cove with the village beyond.  If you look very carefully you can also see Maisie with her pink trousers more interested the the rock pools than the crashing waves.

St Catherine's Dub, Collieston

St Catherine’s Dub, Collieston

Windy day at Whinnyfold

It was very windy when we climbed out of the car at Whinnyfold yesterday afternoon, but the sun was shining and the surf was up.  The grandchildren loved it and I managed to get quite a few good pictures.

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The way down to the stony beach is by a zigzag path with steps.  I remember reading a story by Bram Stoker, the author of the Dracula novel about this path. (He had a house in the village besdie the steps and knew the area well.)  The hero stood on a misty day at the top of the path as a procession of ghosts of seamen whose boats had been wrecked on the Whinnyfold rocks silently moved up the steps.   I thought I would tell the grandchildren the story, then thought better of it.  Lochlann does take things very much to heart and I suspect he would have had nightmares if I told him about the ghosts.

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The waves were crashing over the rocks, and it is easy to appreciate how many boats would have e been wrecked here.  But today it was a source of dramatic seascapes.

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For the children the agenda was throwing stones and exploring the beach.   They all seem to love this place and will ask if they can go to the “stony beach”.

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Modern day fishermen drag their boats up onto the beach, above the high water mark.  This red boat provided a lovely splash of colour among the grey tones of the beachg.  It was also I great place to photograph children.

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Another wonderful place is the “pirates’ house”.  It looks as if it had been a shelter for fishmen, but now locals have turned it into a delightful little hideaway, with widows to look out and spy the rocks and the sea.

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The dogs had a wonderful time too.  I have decided that Poppy is a “rockhopper” dog.   There seems to be no rock, or cliff that she doesn’t want to explore. She even made it on to the roof of the Pirates’ House. And Lily does her best to follow on.   When I told Mary I though Poppy was a rockhopper.  Maisie was delighted and shouted “me too!” as she scrambled over the boulders on the shore.

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Rock hopping at Buchanhaven

Lily, Poppy and I were out for a walk in Peterhead yesterday before heading to the supermarket.  I parked the car in Buchanhaven and looked for a good place to go.   The sun was shining, the tide was out so we decided to make out way down to the rocks below.  How Poppy loves to scamper on the rocks.  It is something she has always done and because the pink granite was dry in the sun and not slippery at all Lily and I followed on.

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From this angle we could see the Rattray Head lighthouse picked out quite clearly in the sun.  I had been talking to Fraser, my brother in law,  about this lighthouse a couple of weeks ago so I decided to see if I could get a picture.

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With my camera out I soon found other subjects as we hopped from rock to rock:  an old broken bike, the familiar subject of oil supply boats, and of course shags sunning themselves on the rocks.   Mary and I were trying to remember the Shetland word for shags.  We had heard it on trips to Shetland but neither of us could remember.  Thanks goodness for the internet.  The Shetlanders call them Scarfs  (from the old Norse skarfr).

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Unperturbed by ornithology or etymology,  the dogs followed their own agendas.

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