As I wandered around I bumped into Allan Burnett dressed in his 1854 red tunic and kilt just after he finished entertaining a crowd with tales of historical doings. I had a quick chat as I grabbed a few shots and I found out that he is a well known author, especially books for young people. He is published by Birlinn Press.
On our long walk around Dunadd en route to the Crinan Canal, Paul couldn’t resist the view from this bridge crossing the River Add; whereas I prefered the bridge itself featuring my muse.
Shortly after the bridge, we happened on some sheep – mostly grazing on the hay bale but one seemed determined to see us off.
They stopped eating, showed some mild interest in us in the way that sheep do, then drifted off.
On the following day we walked from Crinan Harbour up the hill on the other side from the Crinan Basin. The weather was changeable with a lowering sky over the harbour.
As we climbed, blue skies emerged reflecting turquoise on the water.
In the distance, across Loch Crinan we could see Duntrune Castle . One of Scotland’s many ghosts apparently haunts the castle in the form of a piper killed by defenders in 1615 after playing his bagpipes to warn attackers of the castle that they had been discovered.
As we continued our walk, yet more changes in the weather – here with sunlight reflecting in the middleground while more typical west of Scotland weather lurks in the background.
Taking this photo, Paul was definitely influenced by fellow Norwegian, artist Theodore Kittelsen, you can almost see trolls hiding among the trees.
On our way back from our walk, we stopped at the Crinan Basin for coffee and meringue where we saw the puffer, VIC 32, built in 1943 and reminiscent of the famous Vital Spark. Clyde Puffers developed from coracles with subsequent influences from Viking longships and, later, gabbart barges before becoming steam-powered and finally incorporating a wheelhouse.
During the war when there was an urgent need for sea-going victualling or food supply ships, the Clyde Puffer design provided the ideal craft. However, the Clyde ship yards were somewhat busy at this time and the Admiralty had to look elsewhere to fulfil orders so the VIC 32 was one of the puffers built by Dunston’s of Thorne, Yorkshire.
The VIC 32 is one of the last few coal-fired steam-powered puffers left and it is still possible to cruise round the Scottish islands on her – trips can be booked via website http://savethepuffer.co.uk/
On our way home from Tarbert, driving from Portavadie to Dunoon, we stopped at one of the laybys to check out the view down Loch Riddon towards Stuck, Glaic, Knockdow and Toward. Scottish placenames are wonderful!
Getting a bit closer, you can see the Colintraive to Rhubodach ferry in this shot. Before the ferry was built, cattle were swum across from the island to be sold in lowland markets.
After that, it was off to the ferry and the drive home to Edinburgh.
Easter weekend in Tarbert was a wild affair weather-wise with rain followed by mist followed by sun with a stunning rainbow appearing in the middle of it all.
Tarbert, the Gaelic for an isthmus or a place over which a boat can be dragged (there are a few places with similar names in the west of Scotland) is a lovely wee harbour setting popular with sailors, especially during the Scottish Series Yacht Race which takes place around the end of May each year. It’s also well known for its annual seafood festival; Tarbert prawns and locally caught scallops feature on most menus in town.
There is also a lot of history in the area – nearby is Dunadd Hill Fort. The site first occupied in the Iron Age, was later used by Gaelic kings of Dál Riata in the 6th to 9th century. The Dál Riata tribes subsequently merged with the Picts leading to the establishing of the kingdom of Alba. The site is open to visitors and has some interesting carvings including a boar and 2 human footprints thought to be used in ceremonies to inaugurate new kings. The setting is dramatic, with the hill rising above the Mòine Mhòr, Gaelic for the Great Moss, a huge flat area of marshy land around the Crinan Canal.
The Kilmartin Glen has the highest concentration of prehistoric monuments and historical sites in Scotland. On our wet walk to Dunadd, we found a couple of impressive standing stones in an otherwise unremarkable field.
The canal is also a favourite with yachtsfolk who want to cross from one side of the peninsula to the other – it provides a short cut from the Sound of Jura at Crinan to Ardrishaig on Loch Gilp. Having battled the rain and wind, we were lucky enough to spot this rainbow hovering over the yachts moored on at the Bellanoch Marina on the Canal.
The Victorian Dean Cemetery is still in use and is a favourite tranquil shortcut to the Dean Gallery. It is one of the first cemeteries in Edinburgh to be laid out in formal lines – it is also pretty photogenic.
This statue caught my eye from over the wall in the grounds of the Dean Gallery – she rose up from the trees dwarfing the smaller tombstones around.
Paul caught in the act snapping this fine fella below, the Reverent Francis Gillies, buried in 1862 and lying alongside 2 daughters, 2 sons, 2 wives and a son-in-law.
In the next shot, my eye was drawn to the angles and contrasts of light and dark – there’s a poignancy to the small cross sitting neatly between the taller ones.
Paul was attracted by this sculpture of unknown deceased which stands proud unlike many of the more 2 dimensional relief memorials.
We would recommend anyone wandering around that part of Edinburgh with an interest in local history stops for a nosey – many famous Edinburgers lie in rest here – Elsie Inglis, innovative doctor and suffragist; David Octavious Hill, painter and arts activist, and, with Robert Adamson, a pioneer many aspects of photography in Scotland.; and William Henry Playfair, one of the greatest 19th century Scottish architects whose influence is seen all over Edinburgh’s New Town (often to be seen in henni.photo work).
Another walk along the Water Of Leith to blow out the cobwebs, taking some shots together with our #Fujifilm cameras. It’s as if we coordinated our kit. Quite a few for you this time, but what the hell…