Looking over at the Christmas market in Edinburgh – December 2018 – on the walk back to Waverley Railway Station.
The Quiraing, on the Isle of Skye, isn’t exactly the first place you’d think of when it comes to sunbathing, but on returning to the car, i came across this chap trying to catch some rays. Then again, maybe he was just getting some rest after walking the Quiraing.
The fabulous mountains in the background are the Torridon hills on the Scottish Mainland, an area of Scotland that I’ve never visited before but would love to explore.
The same pillbox photographed in 2009 and 2016. The first shot looks west towards East Runton and the second image looks east towards Cromer, the distinctive Victorian pier being visible on the horizon.
Originally constructed on the clifftop, the pillbox ended up down on the beach due to coastal erosion. An intricate series of coastal defences were constructed in key locations along the Norfolk coast, many of which can still be seen.
At the start of World War 2, Norfolk was seen as the most logical location for a potential German invasion of England due to its geographical location (closest part of Britain to Germany) and beaches with deep water access that would enable ships to get close into the coast and put troops ashore.
I’m currently going through my Scotland images and came across this one taken in 2013. It certainly lives up to the Darker Skies name!
The tree has appeared in a number of my photographs including the one below that has been used as my twitter header image, on and off, since 2012. I have to say that i’m rather fond of that little tree.
Both photographs were taken at a location near Dornie, Highlands of Scotland.
A colour version of this image, taken in Cowgate in the atmospheric old town area of Edinburgh, was posted on Instagram a couple of days ago, but i rather like the black and white version too.
One thing i didn’t notice at the time was the CCTV camera mounted on the pole! Looks like I myself was on camera later when i walked through on my way to the Grass Market.
My online presence is going through a bit of a rethink at the moment and one element of this includes the Darker Skies domain name that has been running on this website for a number of years.
To be honest, I’ve never really taken to the darker-skies.com domain name so I’ve decided to get rid of it after a a lot of thinking. I think a new Darker Skies related domain name is needed – something that fits the blog better. Time to put my thinking cap on!
Next year i will be developing this site further and to do a thorough job the domain needs to go. The blog, however will remain and can be accessed through its regular WordPress address of www.darkerskies.wordpress.com
Sterling Castle is one of the most impressive landmarks in Scotland and one that i’d passed for quite a few years without stopping for a closer look. Fortunately i managed to get that closer look last weekend and both the castle and the views were fantastic.
Sterling sits in the central Scotland and has played a key role in shaping the country over the years. It’s strategic position, combined with the near impregnability of the castle, has caused invading armies many problems over the years. Often they would bypass it rather than try and take it.
The visibility was fantastic on the Sunday i visited. The cold November air was beautifully clear enabling visitors to see the mountains, located 30 or 40 miles away near Tyndrum, at the edge of Stirlingshire. A sprinkle of snow could be seen on the peaks.
One thing that did surprise me during my castle visit was the number of tourists, though i suppose that the tourism season never really stops now. I’ve always loved the reactions and behaviour of those on holiday. We all do it, but in the social media age we seem to need to prove, more than ever, that we have visited a location. The selfie stick must be the ultimate symbol of that desire. The postcard, at one time a critical part of communicating holiday news, has been dying over the years due to social media, to the point that Salmon postcards, who have been publishing postcards and calendars since 1880, are to close after over 100 years of trading.
Coach tours are my favourite tourism activity to watch though. The large scale and yet fleeting visits they make are popular, seem to only give a tantalising taste of the location. People seem to love the convenience though, even though there doesn’t appear to be the time to stand and soak in the place. Two coach tours pulled up below the castle and i took the image below. While the castle appears to be the main focus of attention, the field also contained Highland cattle that also got their photo taken. Highland cows do love having their picture though 🙂 Note the photographers who have climbed over a gate to get a clearer view.
The image of the Wallace Monument has to be my favourite from the visit. The tower stands on the Abbey Craig from which William Wallace was said to have watched the gathering of the army of King Edward I of England, just before the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. The tower also has a great view looking back at Sterling Castle, so the next visit will probably include a climb up the Wallace Monument to see the view.
The Autumnal colours are an added bonus along with the clear visibility. The light in the summer can be wonderful but it can also bring some atmospheric conditions that can hamper the photographer . The colder air, combined with the late autumn light, really helped capture the magnificent views from the castle walls.