Sunday, 27 June 2010

The Road To Nowhere?

This road sign can be found in a quiet part of Aberdeenshire. It's particularly well secured to the post because, unsurprisingly, it occasionally goes missing. The road leads to an art gallery, then peters out to a track.

I'd like to be able to write something meaningful about this photo, but all I can say is that the road sign makes me smile every time I see it!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

An Teallach

It's been four years since I was last on An Teallach (The Forge). The Gaelic name perhaps comes from the view of Toll an Lochain with the sun shining into it, when it glows a gorgeous warm red-brown.

This iconic mountain rises above Little Loch Broom in the Northwest Highlands, and is surely one of the grandest hills in Britain. The day these pictures were taken was my third attempt to climb the two Munros of An Teallach. On the first two occasions there was high wind and rain; a bad combination on the exposed summit ridges.

I finally managed to climb the hill on a May day of sultry and humid heat. The route up from Corrie Hallie was a sweaty slog until the shoulder below Sail Liath where a slight breeze was welcome. The scrambling across the Corrag Buidhe pinnacles is sensationally exposed but not difficult - the view down to Loch Toll an Lochain (loch of the hollow of the Lochan!) from Lord Berkely's Seat is breathtaking, not least because of the overhang of this large pinnacle

I couldn't resist including this boulder in a picture - it so resembles a pair of buttocks! Sgurr Fiona, Lord Berkeley's Seat and the Corrag Buidhe pinnacles are all visible. The Torridonian Sandstone was bouncing back the warmth of the sun, and I got back to Dundonnel with a fair glow on my face from the heat of the Forge. What better way to round off the ascent than a bottle of An Teallach ale?

Four years is too long - I must revisit this superb hill again soon

Friday, 4 June 2010

Craigievar Castle

This is Craigievar Castle, close to where we live. Over the past two years, the castle has been undergoing major restoration work. The most visible sign of this is the re-harling work in the pink colour so charateristic of Aberdeenshire's castles. Craigievar, like many others, is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, and though the Trust has had it's difficulties in recent times with mountain properties, they are unrivalled at looking after built heritage. The work has been completed despite some real financial issues at NTS, and I think that it is a stunning restoration. Aside from the external work, a great deal of internal work has been carried out.

These photographs were taken in mid-May, with the Spring flowers still in bloom. The early morning sun shows the castle to best advantage, and it's easy to see why it is claimed that Walt Disney gained inspiration for his fairytale castle from this style.

Craigievar was completed in 1626 by William Forbes, known as "Danzig Willie" for his trading links with the Polish city. The links between the northeast of Scotland and Poland continue to the present time, and the Forbes name is still common locally.