The industrial scale and shapes of these structures at a “Barrage” in central Portugal always fascinate me.
St Magnus Cathedral is one of the Highlands and Islands more pleasing ecclesiastical buildings, perfect in scale and size for the town of Kirkwall – a pocket cathedral indeed. A Church of Scotland “High Kirk”, its actually owned by the Orkney Islands Council, as successor to Kirkwall Burgh. Orkney is hosting the commemoration of the Battle of Jutland on the 31st May 2016, so the ceramic poppy sculpture has found a home here for the months of May and June.
Worth a visit if you can.
The wind and rain – oh the rain – are battering the windows outside, but at least the fires are on, and the faint smell of peat permeates the house. It seems a long time away from our trip to Athens at the tail end of the Autumn, but its only six weeks. The contrast in temperatures could not be more dramatic. Athens in October was bright, sunny and 25 Celsius (though I understand from a taxi driver that the weather the week we were there was a wee bit bit better than usual).
I’d been to Athens once before, back in September 1995, on a business trip to Crete, when my flight schedule allowed me 12 hours in the city before getting a Heathrow 767 from the old airport by the docks. So I’d managed the airport bus into the city, been up the Acropolis, explored the old town, and sweltered in the unexpected September heat, oh and eaten stewed goat and drunk retsina under one of the wonders of the ancient world.
Athens 20 years later was a brilliant few days, blown away by the museums, sites and historical artifacts that we say (except the Acropolis I’m afraid, staggeringly crowded and regimented, but that’s life. I’m glad a I saw it 20 years ago in a more relaxed time – I even phoned Ruth from the roof of Athens on my brand new mobile phone).
We will be back.
Capturing good sunsets in Cromarty near the Solstice can be a frustrating affair. The NE/SW orientation of the town, and indeed of the peninsula that is the Black Isle, means that the sun sets in the SW, and is lost on the whale like bulk of the curve of low hill of Davidston, with those last few crucial moments of very low sun quite blanked out by the landscape.
The summer is quite different of course, with the sun setting much further North, in the hills behind Ardross, allowing great diffuse light shots across the whole of the Cromarty Firth.
So the trick in Winter is to look for those rare days when low broken clouds over Cromarty catch the light as it sets in the SW, and use features in the landscape or townscape to provide a foreground. The graveyard at the Gaelic Chapel is perfect, with these two Celtic Crosses providing a clear photographic opportunity.
It was a glorious day in Easter Ross, and I was feeling a wee bit aggrieved that colleagues had managed to get take a day off at short notice to enjoy the weather and the snow. However I managed to juggle things – and move a meeting from Inverness to Evanton – that gave me a two hour window to climb to the Fyrish Monument at Lunchtime yesterday. A bit hazy (12C!) but fantastic views in a brilliant spring sunshine.
Calum Davidson was a a well-known regional planner and photographer. He described himself as a photographer with a day job, living in a very photogenic part of the globe, and who got to travel a bit to other almost as photogenic bits of the planet.