Friday, 7 October 2016

Touring Great Britain (2006)

Having family in the "old" country still, I have been lucky enough to visit Great Britain four times over the years, most recently in 2006 when I attended a relative's wedding. While I would love to go back sometime, finances currently don't allow for it, and I will instead make do with revisiting my images from 10 years ago.

I landed at Heathrow, and upon renting a car, immediately headed to Chatham which is home to a former Royal Navy dockyard, now a museum. 

The Chatham Dockyard is currently home to three historic vessels, including HMS GANNET above. After leaving Chatham, I traveled the south coast and stopped in at Beachy Head where a lighthouse sits at the foot of a chalk cliff. It was a very windy day, and I had to actually lay on the ground and shoot out under the lowest rail of the railing on the path I was on to keep out of the wind and keep the camera steady.

Beachy Head.
During my south coast travels, I also visited the historic dockyard in Portsmouth.

Looking up at the transom of HMS VICTORY.
I will cover my dockyard visits in some future post, and move on to other photos in this post. After Portsmouth, I stopped in Yeovilton to see the Fleet Air Arm museum and to visit someone we consider to be family, one of the children sent from the UK to Canada during the Second World War that my grandparents took in.

My B&B near Yeovil backed onto a church.
After leaving Yeovil, I headed into Cornwall, and passed through Dartmoor.

According to Jeremy Clarkson on the old BBC Top Gear motoring show, the Vauxhall Vectra is a truly nasty car. I kind of liked mine, at least in part because it had a built-in Sat-nav which kept me from getting lost (much).
Sheep in Dartmoor.
I went near to the tip of Cornwall and photographed Mount's Bay, though unfortunately was running out of time that day, and missed a number of other Cornish sights that I would have love to have seen.

Kite-surfer on Mount's Bay, Cornwall.
Kite-surfer on Mount's Bay, Cornwall.
I spent the night near Tintagel, and when I got up and left my B&B the next morning, it was cloudy and raining. I had planned to take in the castle at Tintagel, and almost gave up due to the weather, but headed over anyway. As I arrived, a hole opened up in the clouds, and I had blue sky for my entire tour of the castle ruins. 

The approach to the mainland portion of the castle ruins at Tintagel (with puddles on the path, in case you thought I was lying about the rain).
There is a separate set of castle ruins on a peninsula that extends out from Tintagel that is only accessible by a bridge that connects from the mainland.
Because I am an engineer, I had to stop in at Bristol and see two of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's creations. Built in 1864, the Clifton Suspension Bridge is still in use for road traffic.

Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge spans the Avon Gorge in Bristol, England.
Clifton Bridge.
Clifton Bridge.
Brunel's other creation that captured my interest is of course the SS Great Britain, an early steamship built for the run between the UK and Australia, and eventually abandoned in the Falkland Islands before being recovered and returned to the UK on a barge.

SS Great Britain is kept in an old graving dock with the water pumped out. A plexiglass roof over the top of the dock keeps the rain out, and a sophisticated de-humidification system prevents further corrosion of the ship's iron hull. Again, a post for another day.
After leaving Cornwall, I headed to Wales. I had previously visited the northern portion of Wales in 1999 during a previous trip, but only for an hour or so before heading back to Liverpool. This time I was able to see a few more sights. 

Southern Wales.
My Vauxhall Vectra once again littering up the countryside.
I didn't spend much time in south Wales, and headed north through Brecon Beacons National Park, and over to Carmarthen. Dryslwyn Castle is nearby, and I happened upon it by chance one morning.

The view from the ruins of Dryslwyn Castle in Wales. The Welsh seriously need to use another vowel than the "sometimes Y".
This sheep was entirely unconcerned about my presence in the castle ruins.
Same sheep.
Too bad Wales isn't a short drive away from my home.
I spent a night outside Aberystwyth at a B&B which was an adventure and a half to find (it was a fair distance down a dead-end driveway, with no additional signage after the sign on the road), and the next day headed up through Snowdonia National Park.

Views in Snowdonia.
Views in Snowdonia.
After Wales, I was a bit behind schedule, and was forced to beetle my way north, visiting a great uncle (brother of the man for whom I am named) in Dumfries (my first stop in Scotland). The next photos I appear to have bothered to process are of Loch Lomond, north of Glasgow.

Loch Lomond.
When working in India years before, I had been given a calendar of UK landscape images (that I cut up and hung from the walls of my room), one of which was of Kilchurn Castle near Lochawe. I just had to visit, so I tracked it down on my way up the west coast of Scotland. I didn't tour the castle itself, but rather trudged through a field on the other side of the loch to get some photos.

Kilchurn Castle.
It being autumn, and with Old Scotland's more northernly location (than, say, Nova Scotia), I found that lighting throughout the day was nice and warm. The "magic hour" sometimes seemed to last all day, and these photos are perfect examples.

Kilchurn Castle.
I continued north to get to Morangie for the family wedding that I was supposed to be attending and photographing.

This photo is ever-so-helpfully labelled "Scotland".
So's this one. I think it is near Glencoe.
Seriously, more bloody Scotland?
Guess where?
Finally, a better photo label: "Foot of Ben Nevis".
And then, for lack of anything better to do, I took more photos of....wait for it....Scotland.

Note to self: take better notes when travelling.

Finally, an image that I know precisely where it was taken:

An abandoned church within a graveyard in North Ballachulish, Glencoe, Scotland.
Also in the churchyard in North Ballachulish, Glencoe, Scotland.
Apparently I wasn't beetling as quickly as I thought, because I had time to take photos of another castle. Even if I hadn't labelled it, I would know which castle this is, having photographed it previously in 1999, and I have slides my grandfather took in the 1950s and 1960s.

Eilean Donan Castle, near Dornie.
A bridge in "Scotland".
"Italy". OK, you caught me, it's really "Scotland".
Soon after these last photos, I arrived in Morangie and spent several days visiting family. My photography seems to have dropped off, but I will finish off with some images from the area around Morangie and the lighthouse at nearby Tarbat Ness.

Ponies near Morangie.
The road approaching the lighthouse at Tarbat Ness.
Tarbat Ness lighthouse near Portmahomack, north-eastern Scotland.
Hay bales near Portmahomack, north-eastern Scotland.
If only my hankering to go back to the UK was matched with the appropriate funds in my bank account!

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