Friday, November 30, 2007

Rare visitor

Hi folks, I'm back from a successful, if somewhat damp, bird-watching trip. I'll post a couple of photographs once they are all downloaded. Meanwhile, we had a visitor to our own bird table at home this morning. Apologies for the slight blurring, but I was taking these with the big lens hand-held and I'm not as steady as I once was. You'll note how different the colour seems depending on the magnification and angle of the shot - it is the same animal each time.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Round again

I'll be out of communication for a few days, but before I go I'll leave you with one last picture from the top of Brown Carrick Hills - this time looking eastwards. It might not be immediately obvious, but there is a deep wide valley in the near foreground.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ayr surroundings

Taken from the same spot as the last two photographs, these two serve to show the extent of Ayr Bay and the Firth of Clyde.

The first is a little to the west of Ayr and shows the coast line up through Irvine and beyond up to the Cumbraes.

The second is even further west looking over towards Arran.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Transport modes

Taken from the same spot as yesterday, two forms of transport of quite different speeds.

The aircraft is a Ryanair jet, one of the low-cost airlines which have come to the fore recently. How low-cost is a matter of conjecture since everything 'extra' is an added cost. The latest humorous comment on Ryanair is they are about to charge for "emotional baggage" as well.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fair Ayr...

Today's photograph was taken from the top of the Brown Carrick hills overlooking Ayr Bay. The centre of the photograph is Wellington Square and the Sheriff Court just beyond the Low Green in Ayr.

In the background is Prestwick Airport.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Historical -again

Whilst I was looking through my older photographs for yesterday's item, I found others I thought might be of interest. I'll post these on an occasional basis.

This one from 2005 was taken at the North-West of Arran, on the hills just above Locharanza, and includes the departure of the Cal-Mac ferry, the Loch Tarbert, from Lochranza to Clonaig. The view is over the junction of the Kilbrannan Sound and the Sound of Bute, looking up Loch Fyne.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I'm reduced to posting an old photograph today - I've been somewhat busy and haven't quite got round to taking any shots lately.

I thought I'd post a closer one I took of the Straiton Monument several years ago on a wintry day.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I had thought that an observation hide was meant to
1. hide you from the birds you were observing and
2. hide, at least to some degree, itself from the birds as well.

You'll see from this photograph that it isn't the case here. There are some neatly camouflaged low hides at Caerlaverock, but also a couple of towers like this one.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Birds - continued

A larger selection of birds this time. You'll see Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Mallards (male and female), Wigeons and, of course, Feral Pigeons - including 2 in flight!.

Friday, November 16, 2007


This photograph was taken at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust at Caerlaverock, Dumfriesshire.

The three swans with the yellow, black-tipped beaks are Whooper Swans and the single swan with the orange beak is a Mute Swan. The goose is a Canada Goose.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fullarton House

Fullarton House, designed in the "Adam" style, was erected by William Fullarton in 1745. Louis Napoleon is said to have stayed there, and Robert Burns, who was an admirer of Colonel Fullarton, possibly visited as a guest.It was purchased by Troon Town Council in 1928, but the house was allowed to fall into a poor state of repair and was demolished in 1966.

All that remains are two pillars, one of which is shown in the photograph.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bird Watching?

All right, I know they aren't birds! We had gone down to Troon Harbour to see what birds were about and found there were at least 5 Grey Seals loafing around in the inner harbour. They seemed to be as interested in us as we were in them.

We did however see quite a few birds as well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bogton Loch

This view of Bogton Loch was taken from approximately the same position as the view of Craigengillan House, but looking downstream towards Dalmellington.
Before the dam-building activities up at Loch Doon, the area around Bogton Loch and further down the river was very boggy. Now Bogton Loch is a protected site of special scientific interest and supports significant populations of birds.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Craigengillan House

Craigengillan House lies betwenn the North end of Loch Doon and Dalmellington.

The Estate has been in existence since 1611, owned by the McAdam family, original family surname MacGregor, although the house was substantially redesigned in 1765 and has been modified several times since.

Possibly one of the most notable members of the family was John {Tar} McAdam, due to his work on road construction.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wet Lanes

I've not come across it anywhere else, but all the streams in the area leading into the south end of Loch Doon are called Lane.

This is a picture of Carrick Lane.

This is a picture of Gala Lane.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Loch Doon

This was taken from the South of Loch Doon looking North.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Castle Island

Currently Loch Doon is fairly low, so it's possible to see the island where the castle used to be.

The first photograph was taken from South of the loch with the small camera at a reasonable distance and shows the topography of the area.

The second photograph was taken from fairly close to the castle site with the big camera.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Loch Doon Castle

Loch Doon (or Balloch Castle) dates from the 13th or 14th centuries and is an eleven-sided curtain-wall construction of beautifully hewn blocks of ashlar.

You may notice that it is in a not particularly defensible position.

This is because the was castle designed to stand on and defend its original island site at the southern end of Loch Doon - thus the peculiar shape which conformed to the shape of the island.

The level of Loch Doon was raised in the 1930's for the Galloway Hydro-electric scheme. Castle Island was submerged but the outer shell of the castle was dismantled and re-erected about 1935 on the shore near Craigmulloch Farm, where it can still be seen today.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ayrshire Countryside

These two photographs were taken at the same time and from the same place as the second photograph yesterday.

Instead to looking South, I looked to the West to the Brown Carrick Hills overlooking Alloway. The peculiar objects are communication masts.

Then, looking to the north over the village of Dalrymple, you can see the viaduct of the Ayr to Dalmellington railway, opened in 1856.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Straiton Monument

At the summit of Craigengower (the Hill of Goats in Gaelic), a hill overlooking the village of Straiton, is the obelisk, visible from Blairquhan Castle, which is a monument to Lt Col James Hunter Blair killed at the Battle of Inkerman in 1854.

The above photograph was taken from the same place as the photograph of Blairquhan Castle.

The following photograph, also of the monument, was taken from considerably further north, on the hills between the villages of Kirkmichael and Dalrymple.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Blairquhan Castle

Built between 1821 and 1824, the present Blairquhan Castle [pronounced Blairwhan Castle] is just visible from the Kirkmichael to Straiton Road.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Beside Cloncaird Castle

Whilst I was photographing Cloncaird Castle, I took a couple of other photographs as well.

This is one of their pedigree highland cows...

and this is the estate woods........

Saturday, November 03, 2007


As we were walking in Culzean today, this little fellow seemed to want our company. He got closer and closer and sat still very near to me.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Cloncaird Castle

Cloncaird Castle is easily viewable from the Kirkmichael to Straiton road. As with many of this type of building, it is now selling itself as a wedding venue - with virtually no public transport links.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Autumn or Winter

The weather is decidedly dreich today, so I took a photo at the front of the house. Not sure whether we're still in Autumn or have moved to Winter.