travel

HomeTag:travel

Room with a view

By |2022-08-24T12:08:11+01:00August 24th, 2022|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Clouds over the mountains and hills of the Trossachs, Scotland
Clouds rolling over the hills and mountains of the Trossachs, Scotland – May 2022

Clouds over the mountains

Travel broadens the mind as they say and it’s true. Ten years after starting my regular visits to Scotland, the country still has the ability to bring out the best in my image-making including this image of clouds over the mountains of the Trossachs. Maybe it’s Scotland’s diverse landscape but I think it’s more than that. After the recent events with the covid pandemic, I think we have all realised that the simple things in life need to be appreciated more. Just watching a landscape can bring its own pleasures. Happiness is an elusive and often fleeting emotion that is sometimes difficult to find. Watching clouds move across a Scottish mountain range gets me about as close to being happy as I think you can get.

The photograph above was taken at a holiday cottage near Stirling in May of this year. Look out of the living room window and this is the view you would see. Literally, every day would have something new, new shapes and textures in the clouds with the visibility changing dramatically if the rain was about. At least you could see the bad weather coming. A clear sunny day moving to mist and then a bank of rain running across the fields and mountains of Stirlingshire towards the house. There was no need for TV when you had a great vista playing out before you. Just grab a dram and enjoy the show.

Taking a break

2022 has been an odd year so far. I made a decision to take a break from social media early in the year which has, surprisingly, lasted over six months. The posts started flowing on Instagram just this month with the podcast due to restart too very soon. A break away from the data deluge of social media seems to have recharged the batteries. The levels of activity will never be as high as some content creators (hate that term btw) but I prefer the quality over quantity approach. It still amazes me how some photographers seem to constantly post on Instagram etc like a factory conveyor belt.

Even the podcast took a hiatus but will be back for the August edition to be released in the next week or two. The podcast will have only one photo link but it’s an interesting story about how I found out about this photographer.

Border Blue Sky

By |2022-02-16T15:16:32+00:00May 17th, 2019|Categories: The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

East Coast railway train crossing the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick Upon Tweed in Northumberland.
East Coast railway train crossing the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick Upon Tweed in Northumberland.

It was a quick hop, skip and a jump over the Scottish border last weekend with blue skies high above. The weather couldn’t have been any better. It was far removed from the mist and rain of Edinburgh a few weeks before.

The last time I’d visited the borders was in 1992. That visit was part of a family holiday that achieved legendary status. In 15 days we visited various locations in Northumberland, moved into the border areas of Scotland and then finished the holiday in the Lake District. None of it had been planned.

Some twenty-seven years later I found myself travelling back along that same road heading north.

St Abbs (twinned with New Asgard)

A last minute booking found a rather nice old coach house near St Abbs, a beautiful Scottish fishing village. Just recently the harbour in St Abbs was seen in the Avengers Endgame movie as New Asgard – Thor’s new home. It looks and feels a lot like visiting a Cornish fishing village, especially if the weather is favourable.

St Abbs is a well-known location to divers. A boat full of divers were heading out as we arrived. Suddenly the alarm went for the lifeboat. Men dashed down to the lifeboat station, the doors opened and the lifeboat was lowered down to the water. Everything became clearer a few minutes later. Another diving boat came into shore at speed and it was only as it got closer that you could see someone on the deck performing CPR. Sadly a diver had got into trouble and had to be taken away by ambulance.

St Abbs may have been in a Hollywood movie but top billing had to go to the weather. Blue skies with occasional clouds floating by made the weekend feel more like August rather than May. The light was just perfect and reminded me of the quality of light you get in Cornwall. I was only away for the weekend but it felt more like five or six days. It’s always good to recharge the old batteries.

Bass Rock

Further up the coast is Bass Rock, a huge domineering piece of rock that was a prison at one point in its history. The photograph of the rock was taken from the impressive Tantallon Castle. It took some time for the ship to get into the frame as it made its way to the port at Leith.

At first, I thought there were small marks were debris on the camera sensor. Only later, when I was viewing the image in Photoshop, did I realise it was hundreds of birds in the air around the rock. The rock is home to over 150,000 gannets as well as shags, guillemots, razorbills and seals.

The lighthouse is built on what remains of a castle but the key role that the rock had during the 16th and 17th century was that of a prison. James I of Scotland sent his political enemies to the rock during the 15th century and later covenanter martyrs were sent there after Cromwell’s invasion of Scotland in the 1650s. These days the only residents are the birds.

Bass Rock - a bird colony, a site for a lighthouse and, in the past, a prison.
Bass Rock – a bird colony, a site for a lighthouse and, in the past, a prison.

By the River Tweed

Berwick Upon Tweed is a town I’ve passed through on the train quite often, but my last actual visit was in 1992. Where do the years go?

The River Tweed runs through the town and the three bridges crossing the river are iconic. The Royal Border Bridge is a very impressive piece of architecture dating from the 1840s. The railway bridge is so well engineered and constructed that very little adjustment has been needed for it to handle the heavier, modern trains. The only repair work required by the bridge took place in the mid-1990s. A nice recent addition (2009) is a lighting system that can illuminate the bridge in a variety of colours.

The photograph at the top of the post was taken along the fantastic riverside path running next to the River Tweed. The viewpoint for photographing the bridge and trains crossing was perfect.

Up and Away

With the weekend over it was back to base. The plan is to have more quick weekend visits to other areas close at hand. Spur of the moment type trips. Lindisfarne, Kielder forest and more Scottish border locations are just a short drive away.

Title

Go to Top