Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Odd Tree

I took this photograph in the graveyard at Symington Church.

You will note the spiral effect in the bark of the tree - I've no idea why.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Another Building

This grey/white building is sandwiched between the red sandstone one, that the faces from yesterday are on, and Marks and Spencers brick-built modern store.

Actually the brick building doesn't look too out of place.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Everyone should look up as they walk around towns!

These faces are high-up on the front of an otherwise relatively plain building on the High Street in Ayr.

I hadn't registered them before although I must have seen them a thousand times. I also found it interesting that, as I stood and photographed them, other folk stopped to see what I was doing and then started talking about the faces as well. Have I started something?

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Although our Buddleia is a little later in flowering this year than others in gardens round about, it still makes a good show.

Of all the variety of colours it comes in, this is my particular favourite.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Business Signs

Apart from the excellent quality of the food (sit-in or takeaway), the location looking out over Ayr Bay towards Arran (some superb sunsets) and an owner who recognises me even though I only go there once or twice a year, I also like his sign.

Always gives me a gentle smile!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I had to spend a few hours in Kilmarnock yesterday whilst my car was in for a service.

I took this photograph of the steeple of the Old High Kirk. The church was built between 1731 and 1734 as the Chapel of Ease to house the overflow congregation from the Laigh Kirk. The original building did not have a steeple and this was erected a little later (I can find no specific date, but it seems probable that it was sometime between 1734 and 1799),

From this photo it is not possible to see how plain the exterior of the building is, but one of the claims to fame is for the interior set of 23 stain glass windows, the designs for which were created by William and J.J. Keir (known as the Keir Brothers) in the 1860s. I've included a screenshot of one of the windows on the Old High Kirk website - to see all of them select 'Church Windows' from the dropdown box on the left side of their main page.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Garden visitor

Yesterday evening I looked out of the kitchen window and saw, in bright sunshine, a hedgehog trotting across our garden and hovering up the fat ball droppings under both bird tables. (There was no other description for his gait but trotting!)

So I dashed off to get my camera and then went outside, but, of course, the hedgehog had disappeared.

I went back in put down my camera and went back outside to tidy up the patio when, lo and behold, the hedgehog appeared from under the bushes and trotted across the patio; seemingly not worried in the slightest that I was very close indeed.

I shot back in and grabbed my camera, but only managed to get these rear view shots before he vanished under the back hedge.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

River Ayr

One of the more pleasant aspects of living in Ayrshire is the number of views of the many rivers which it affords.

Today I was on Oswald's bridge at Auchincruive overlooking the River Ayr.

The first photograph is taken upstream - roughly eastwards - ..........

....... and the second downstream - roughly westwards.

I hadn't realised there were folk enjoying the river when I took the shot!

Monday, July 23, 2007

New Buildings

This is a picture of the secondary school my kid's went to - Belmont Academy built in 1960

and this is a picture of the replacement school currently being built in the playing fields and due for completion in summer 2008.

It's probably just me, but does anyone else think that schools are deliberately being built with a very limited shelf life?

My old school building is over 100 years old and still going strong without too many internal adaptations.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ayr Flower Show

Preparations have commenced for the annual Ayr Flower Show. Although it is called 'Ayr' Flower Show, it attracts exhibitors from far and wide and certainly would like to think of itself as the Scottish equivalent of the Chelsea Flower Show - and that includes prices!

This is the first of many marquees going up - some 12 days prior to the show - and much to the annoyance of dog walkers since a considerable area of normally open ground is now not accessible.

If I can be bothered to find the cash and time, I might post some photos from the Show at the beginning of August.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Management by neglect

A couple of years ago I planted this little lace cap hydrangea in the space between our house and my neighbour's garage.

It has been totally left to its own devices and now it isn't so little - about 6 ft tall by 6 ft in diameter.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ayr Buildings

One of the joys of living in an old town is the miscellany of architectural styles which live harmoniously cheek by jowl. Somehow, unlike 'modern' architecture which more often than not fights with the surroundings, these styles have as they age blended into a comfortable whole.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Arran -farewell

A photo of the gloomy weather laying over Goatfell and the surrounding peaks as we left Arran aboard the MV Saturn.

Brodick Castle is slightly below centre-left of the picture.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


A picture of the Auchrannie Hotel where we had a couple of nights pampering before returning to 'auld clathes and porridge'.

An excellent little break.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Arran Native

Firstly let me apologise for not posting yesterday - I just plain forgot.

We were returning to our hotel on the way back from the castle when we deviated via Douglas Row where my wife went on holiday, amongst other places, with her family for the first 20 odd years of her life.

On traversing a path over what used to be a field from Douglas Row, we came upon this little olive green/brown striped native who let me get very close before it hopped off.

We rather think it is immature, but we're not absolutely sure what species it is.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Arran - will it never stop....

The pictures today were taken from the slopes above Brodick Castle.

The first is a view of the main car ferry, MV Caledonian Isles arriving at Brodick Pier. I say the main ferry, since at the height of summer, there is an extra boat laid on.

The second is of Brodick and the bay slightly to the north of the pier.

As this is the main place of habitation in the Island, it gives you an idea of the size of the other villages.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Arran - need I say more

This is a shot taken about 120 degrees from the photograph of the Witch's Step, looking in a more Northerly direction back down North Glen Sannox. Looks as if it was taken on a completely different day, but there was less than 1 minute between the shots!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Arran - yes again

This is a picture of Ceum na Caillich, translated as Witch's Step, from North Glen Sannox.

I took it just before noticing an aerial dog-fight between two Peregrine Falcons and two Golden Eagles - I didn't get a photo because I only had the small camera, but the speed these birds were moving at meant I'd never have been able to use the big camera anyway.

The Peregrines had a nest just under a boiler plate and the Eagles were too close for their liking. Watching the Peregrines stooping and the Eagles rolling on their backs to present talons upwards was absolutely breath-taking.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Arran - again

A picture of Cioch na h'Oighe (661 m, 2168 ft) {phonetically Kee-och na Huya} which loosely translated is the Maiden's or Virgin's Breast - for reasons which are fairly obvious.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Arran once more

This charcoal cartoon is to be found, along with 5 or 6 others, on the walls of the boathouse attached to Dougrie Lodge, once the Duke of Montrose’s Shooting Lodge, on the west coast of Arran.

{Dougrie = An Dubh Gharadh or An Dubh Ghearraidh. "The black dyke" or "the black fertile land". Local people were nicknamed coilich dhubha, "black cocks".}

The artist and date is not known. but it is presumed to have been a guest of the Duke who was whiling away time, possibly during a rainstorm or keeping away from the midges.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Today's pictures are taken from Balnagore over the Kilbrannan Sound to the Mull of Kintyre.

The first photo was taken about mid-day

The second, looking slightly further North, was taken about 9 hours later.

If you look carefully in this photograph, you will see one of the wind-farms which are dotted about on the Mull. I personally don't mind them and it is a good way to generate electricity for local consumption.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Arran again

Today's photographs are of the standing stones on Machrie Moor.

There are many explanations of why the stone circles were built, including the links above, but the astronomical ones tend to ignore the facts that
  1. the heavens are no longer in the same positions are they were when the stones were erected,
  2. the topography of the surrounding hills has also changed and the various gullies and cuts have been eroded from their original positions, and
  3. the ground on which the sites were erected has changed and may well have caused slight movement on the base positions of the sites.
It doesn't detract from the sheer wonder of how the makers of these sites managed to achieve what they did.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Back in Arran

I came over to Arran a week past Saturday for a wedding which took place last Friday. They know how to do weddings in Arran!

This picture is from the south end west side of the island.