Monthly Archives: December 2016


Sunset at Cruden Bay

We have enjoyed some spectacular sunsets here in Buchan recently.   After the sun has gone down, for a while there is a wonderful colourful light that transforms the countryside into something quite different and mysterious.

Photography experts refer to the time just before sunrise and just after sunset as the “magic hour” when you can get some stunning pictures.   I have been taking advantage of the early December sunsets – about 3.30 pm here – to go chasing for the afterglow,

The sheep quietly grazing across the road from the layby on the main Peterhead road at the Longhaven cliffs is one example of the transformation that the afterglow can make to a picture – pink sheep!

My mind went back to earlier this year when Dana, a friend from Latvia, commented that my picture of sheep and snow which I had posted on Facebook, reminded her of a Joseph Farquherson picture.  [Click here to read my original post]  But the light he saw in the countryside at Finzean on Deeside is a warm gold. No pink sheep for him.

“Beneath The Snow Encumbered Branches” by Joseph Farquharson

By the way, the word afterglow came to me from the title that Farquharson gave to another of his pictures, depicting rabbits in snow among the trees in the Forest of Birse at Finzean.   This was painted in the tranquil days of 1912 before the lives of so many people would be turned upside down by war.   Earlier this year I stood beside the War Memorial at Birse, reflecting how the Great War would have transformed that little rural community which the Laird of Finzean had illustrated in his paintings.

Joseph Farquharson:  Afterglow.     Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

The light of the afterglow this week has been pink, orange and even red, much more dramatic than the gentle warm golds of that Edwardian winter more than  100 years ago.

Cruden Bay

Cruden Bay

You can see some more of my red and orange sunset pictures here.



Showing a light

I was walking along the seashore road at Roanheads in Peterhead the other day.  My eye had been drawn to the spray flying off the waves, with the oil supply ships beyond.  Then I heard the gull screaming from a chimney pot.  He posed rather nicely, even staying put, so that I could get him in silhouette.


Turning round I tried another shot of a tower with a little flagpole standing at the corner of the road leading up to the harbour, beside the breakwater.   But what was the tower?

Over a year ago I had heard about the planned improvements at the Peterhead Harbour, which included the relocation of an old lighthouse.  I marked it down as a possible photograph but had done nothing about it.

This was the old lighthouse (now in its new position) originally provided in the middle of the 19th century by Thomas Stevenson to mark the harbour entrance after a fishing boat disaster.   I did a bit of digging about on the internet and came across an old picture of the harbour which shows the lighthouse in its original place.  I have no idea what the picture shows, or when it was taken, but it looks like the early 1900s.  You can see the top of the lighthouse quite clearly at the top right of the picture

At that time, and up until the mid 1970s there was a north entrance to Peterhead harbour which is now closed off by a big new breakwater.   This entrance to the North Harbour was where Stevenson’s lighthouse stood proudly, shining its red and white light to guide the boats into harbour.

The current harbour development work meant that it had to go, but it is too important a structure to be lost, so it was moved stone by stone and re-erected in its present position at the end of Alexandra Parade.  You can read the proposal here.   It was officially opened in June 2016.

So that’s another, very different, lighthouse added to my collection.

Red sky at night

There have been some lovely sunsets here in the north east of Scotland over the past few weeks.  The setting sun lights up the underside of the clouds and the whole world seems to turn a range of colours from fiery red, through orange, to pink, while the blue of the clear sky can take on an apricot hue.

It was like that yesterday afternoon.  As I watched the orange ball of the sun sink under the horizon from Peterhead, I knew that there would be spectacular skies as I drove south-westwards, home to Hatton.  And I was not disappointed.   I stopped at the layby at the Longhaven Cliffs and took some pictures.

On the other side of the road the sheep were quietly grazing, lit up with a strange pink light.

Futher on I found a vantage point to capture the silhouette of the wind turbines and masts on Gallows Hill above Ardiffery farm.

Although the sky was getting darker now, I crossed my fingers and headed for Cruden Church.  There was just enough light and a redness in the sky to capture the church looking mysterious, shrouded with the bare branches of the surrounding trees.

Drawn to the light

It was a bright, crisp winter’s day as a drove back from Peterhead.  The sun was catching the colours of Buchanness Lighthouse, making it stand out against the bright blue sea and the cloudless sky.  The storms of yesterday were past.  I had a few minutes spare, so the dogs and I went for a little walk in Boddam down to the stone bench carefully placed on the cliff top to give the best view of the lighthouse.   It’s not a long walk, very short, actually, but Lily and Poppy enjoyed the scamper through he grass, stopping for the occasional sniff.

I was able to persuade the dogs up onto the bench and captured one or two pictures of them in the sunshine. I wish I had taken another lens with me so that I would have squeezed in the lighthouse in the background – but you can’t have everything!


Thank you to those who positioned this bench and organised the cutting of the grass path to make it a lovely little walk to the viewpoint.  I suspect it is the Boddam Community Association who have also now organised a network of paths on Stirling Hill.