Monday, April 30, 2007

Pluscarden Abbey

Another photograph from up North. Pluscarden Abbey is possibly in one of the most peaceful settings I have ever been in - even though it is not very far from Elgin and Forres.

It is easy to understand how one could lead a contemplative life there.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Culbin Forest

Culbin Forest, Stretching for 14 Kilometres along the south shore of the Moray Firth, was originally planted by the Forestry Commission between 1922 and 1931 in order to stabilise the sand dunes there. It was mainly Scots and Corsican Pines, but as the felling and replanting takes place, a more diverse forest is being created.

Although there are some areas of dense forest, a large proportion has been thinned out giving the kind of area you see above with wild flowers etc being encouraged to grow. There are also wet areas and ponds to help encourge a wide diversity of animal and insect species.

One of the stabilised sand dunes found in the forest, the Lady Culbin, reaches 29 metres in height whilst the Parabolic Dunes of Maviston reach 15 metres, but have flanks up to 400 metres long making them amongst the largest of their kind in Europe.

Increasingly rare

Apologies for not posting yesterday - we went to a dinner last night and didn't get back till early this morning - straight to bed!

We're up North again and stopped in at the RSPB site at Boat of Garten to view the ospreys - very good they were too!

However we also managed to see an increasingly rare animal and even get a picture. Red squirrels (our native species) are increasingly being ousted by grey squirrels (the imported species) and many areas of Scotland no longer have any red squirrels left. There are considerable arguments going on as to the best way to ensure the red squirrel survival.

As an added bonus we also saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker eating peanuts from a feeder - most peculiar sight!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Straiton - yet again

I know I said yesterday that it was the last photograph of Straiton, but here is one more - of the church.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


A final posting regarding Straiton. This picture is from the North end of the village to some 'new' houses built around the 1900s.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Straiton again

Another picture of the village of Straiton, this time looking northwards along the main street from the same vantage point. The village Kirk is just down the hill behind the large tree on the center-left.

The white building on the left is the McCandlish Hall.

The photograph was taken from virtually outside the Buck Tearoom - well worth a visit if you are in the area!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The village of Straiton is considered by many as the prettiest in Ayrshire, even managing to look good on a fairly bleak day like today. This view is looking southwards along the main street towards where the old manse stands, at the opposite end of the village from the church!

High on the hill behind you can make out the monument to Hunter-Blair. It's a steep climb up to it, but on a good day the views are outstanding.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Flowers again - it is that time of year

I was at an excellent 21st birthday ceilidh last night and I felt in no fit state today to go photo gathering, so here is one I took a few days ago in Culzean.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Gone Fishing

Although there are nowhere near as many fishing boats as there used to be on the Clyde, you still get one or two inshore boats looking for crab and lobster.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Old building - new use

This conversion is in St Leonards Road in Ayr. It was a school (still trying to find out when built, name, etc....), then Council Offices and then redeveloped.

Luckily rather than tearing it down and building modern, undistinguished buildings, they left the shell of the building intact and rebuilt internally.

I think the end result gives private housing which has character.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Maidens, the place not the people, is a small fishing village lying between Culzean and Turnberry.

This view is taken from the harbour towards the village and just about takes in Wildings, an exceeding good restaurant - if you can get in.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Turnberry Aerodrome

Building at Turnberry Aerodrome was originally started in 1916 for use as a WW1 pilot training airfield. It had very limited use after that war ended, but, with the advent of WW2, it was significantly rebuilt into a triangular 3 runway Aerodrome.

Part of the North to South short runway looking North. The start of the North/East to South/West long runway can just be seen.

Part of the North to South short runway looking South. This would have connected to the third runway running East to West.

The Aerodrome was closed in the 1950s and the Turnberry Golf Course built over part of it.

The long runway is still fairly intact and you can sometimes see model aircraft being flown from it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

May blossom ?

Well no since it's in April, but it is in Maybole Road in Ayr which is lined with flowering cherry trees at this time of year and will shortly look as if there have been a thousand weddings worth of confetti spread along the main road.

I know there's an old saying "Ne'er cast a cloot till May is oot", but I've been gardening in my shorts recently because of the heat.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Culzean Wood Sculpture

The above pictures show a very fine wood sculpture, Otter Slide, which was commissioned by NTS and placed in this woodland setting.

The piece is by Marvin Elliot who works on the Island of Arran - which I keep showing you pictures of as well!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

More Culzean flowers

Yet another rhododendron, but of a different colour.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Spring flowers

It may be a dreaded rhododendron (they tend to crowd out every other plant), but the colours are superb at Culzean again.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I love Culzean in the springtime.....

With apologies for the misquote ..........., but I do love Culzean in the springtime (and the summer and the autumn and the winter).

Here are two photographs of views from Culzean which replicate views you have seen before but at a different season.

The first is of Arran and the second Ailsa Craig.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Far Travelled

No, I didn't travel to Russia, and why would they have English speed limit signs anyway!

Moscow is a hamlet (smaller than a village) in East Ayrshire.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Desert Island?

Looks like this should have been found on a desert island, but it is actually at the mouth of the River Doon in Ayr.

Someone spent a fair length of time gathering the material and assembling it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


The black swan was not 'originally' native to the United Kingdom, but imported as ornamental birds from Australia. Although this one was on its own and therefore wasn't breeding, I'm told there is a small colony down in Galloway which seems to be maintaining itself.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Failford Gorge

These two photographs were taken from the bottom of the sandstone steps in the side of the river Ayr gorge at Failford.

The right photograph is looking down-river, the left one looking up-river.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Failford Gorge - Peden's Cove

These sandstone steps, in the side of the river Ayr gorge at Failford, are believed to date from the 17th Century when they were cut out to enable Alexander Peden, a famous Conventer to preach to his congregation on the other side of the river Ayr.

Peden was born in the parish of Sorn, Ayrshire in 1626, educated at Glasgow University and, for a time, became a schoolteacher at Tarbolton before becoming the minister of New Luce Church in Galloway in 1660. He was made to leave this post in 1663 due to his refusal to accept the enforced episcopacy and spent the rest of his life preaching to open-air congregations whilst 'on the run' from Government forces.

Even in death he was not left alone, since Government troops exhumed his body from Auchinleck kirkyard and, after intervention by the Earl of Dumfries who was afraid of rioting, buried him, as a mark of disgrace in their eyes, at the foot of the gallows in Cumnock.

Cumnock old graveyard grew up around the spot, rather defeating the object of the soldiers exercise.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Failford Inn

I took the shot of Failford Inn today, but after having to park about half a mile out of Failford.

You'll see there is a beer festival on this weekend (Failford Inn features highly on CAMRA's list of pubs). I can only hope there were a large number of non-drinking drivers there as well.

I'll post a couple of shots from Failford Gorge in the next few days - which is what I went there to see anyway.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Station Hotel, Ayr

This is currently closed, the previous owners having had financial problems. It is built in the grand fashion that many railway hotels were, but has long been in need of some TLC and money spent on it to restore it's faded glory. The station (and presumably the hotel) were built circa 1857.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Later Evenings

This photograph was taken at about 20.30 local time from the road above High Corton Farm looking over the Firth of Clyde towards Arran.

The nights are steadily becoming longer as we move on through spring.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Back home after our trip in the north and the pot with the hyacinths is looking glorious.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Udale Bay

Pink Footed Geese dominated the numbers and sound when we visited the hide here. Watching the geese trying to land without crashing into one of the others was fascinating.

However there were a good selection of Widgeon, Shelduck, Redshanks, Curlews and Dunlin.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Ben Loyal

Ben Loyal is one of the most recognisable peaks in Sutherland. It is isolated from other mountains and so stands out all on its own from any angle you want to view it.

The countryside around it is bleak and windswept, that is when you can see it for the rain! It is also very exposed to decidely chill winds. Not a gentle outing on a summer day.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sgurr na Lapaich and Affric Lodge

Went walking in the Glen Affric area yesterday and took one or two quite nice shots which will be posted on Flickr.

Rather liked this one though.