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    Isle of Skye, Scotland Photos

    A winters' drive across western Scotland.

     

    It was a five and a half hour drive from my home in Aberdeen to the Eilean Donan Castle in a heavy rain storm. I would stay the night nearby before crossing over to the Isle of Skye.

     

    Amazing Scotland.

     

    A cold mid-February day at the bridge to the Isle of Skye.

     

    The Bridge of Skye opened in 1995.

     

    The geography/geology of the Isle of Skye is like nothing else in the United Kingdom.

     

    The roads on the Isle of Skye are narrow and, in general, hug the shore.  Many small waterfalls cascade all along the way.

     

    As the road rises and falls along the sea, wonderful, moody vistas open up.  Here, an approaching snow squall creeps up the channel.

     

    Occasional white cottages surprise along a green glen now and again.

     

    The tiny roads wind along the seaside for miles and miles . . . always opening out on astonishing vistas.

     

    Even the farmland had a strangeness abut it: the marks of time and human effort etched into its weird shapes.

     

    The damp sleet and rain brought out the colors of the winter heather and straw.

     

    Hillside waterfalls everywhere, nautical vistas, winter colors: Skye!

     

    I stopped for coffee in the little town of Sligachan and this was my view from the cafe.

     

    I was able to satisfy my lifelong lust for rusty corrugation and dilapidation on Skye.

     

    Now and again I would pull over, eyes wide and mouth agape in wonder at the natural beauty of winter on Skye. Historical Sligachan Bridge.

     

    The ever-changing weather on Skye sent me running for my car many  times.

     

    Dustings of snow on the coastal hills of Skye.

     

    The Skye upland pass . . . peat diggers have been here.

     

     

    A marvel of geology.

     

    The Isle of Skye is a popular destination in the seasons other than winter for rock climbers and mountaineers.

     

    Waterfalls and wild mountain streams falling everywhere.

     

    Wet and wild road across the Isle of Skye.

     

    Farming, and shepherding, fishing, and tourism make up the local economy.

     

    Marshland, inlets, heather, snow-capped peaks, wild weather, grand vistas . . . Skye has it all!

     

    The clouds would break momentarily and sunny scenes would suddenly appear . . . I would pull over wherever I could and snap a few shots before running back to the car as the hail, sleet and snow quickly moved in.  A level 9 landscape photographers' challenge!

     

    Boggy marsh, colorful hills, a cascading stream, and sheep.

     

    Nature posing in a beautiful composition . . . just for me.

     

    I had hoped to drive to the western tip of Skye, but my many stops for photos meant I only made it as far as Portree, a sweet village on the sound.  I had delicious soup and a shrimp sandwich in a small shop and chatted with a nice couple from Edinburgh.

     

    On my way off the Isle of Skye in a strong gale in the fading winter light, I stopped and walked back up the Skye Bridge for a shot of the old lighthouse.

     

    The view off the other side of the Bridge of Skye was up Loch Alsh toward the town of Kyle of Lochalsh.

     

    In the last of the blue evening light . . . the view from the bridge across to the little village of Kyleakin ("Its name derives from 'Strait of Haakon' named after the King Haakon IV of Norway whose fleet moored there prior to the Battle of Largs in 1263 which ended Norwegian rule of the island.")

     

    Sacks of scallop shells attest to the main product of the local fisheries.

     

    I stayed in the little village of Dornie, just across the bridge and next to the much photographed Eilean Donan Castle.

     

    My comfortable old Dornie Hotel.

     

    I saw Eilean Donan castle morning and night.

     

    The never tired of the view across Loch Duich:  Quintessential Scotland.

     

    Eilean Donan in a driving sleet struck with the golden light of the setting sun.

     

    My old Dornie Hotel was walking distance from the magnificent castle, so I walked over one evening to see it lit up in the darkness.  There were ghostlike traces about the sky that night.

     

    This image, taken during a hard rain, popped out of my camera looking like this . . . . no explanation whatsoever.

     

    My drive back home took me first up the A87 through rugged Glen Shiel toward Loch Ness.

     

    Glen Sheil will lined on both sides by snow covered peaks that disappeared up into the white snowy mists.

     

    Surrounded by snowy mountains, freshly coated.

     

    I stopped often to photograph the stark winter beauty of Glen Sheil.

     

    Glen Sheil winter vista near Loch Cluanie.

     

    Snow on the Sgùrr Fhuaran.

     

    Coming down out of Glen Sheil.

     

    Snowy mountain tops disappearing in the falling snow above.

     

    The snow came and went . . .

     

    Around every bend . . . a new view.

     

    Winter along the shores of Loch Cluanie.

     

    First sighting of an old bridge.

     

    I stopped along the River Moriston to gape at the old stone bridge in the freezing wind.

     

    The drive through Glen Moriston offered many place to stop and enjoy and appreciate the views.

     

    Winter road trips can be just as beautiful, if not more so, that any other season.

     

    Forest reflections.

     

    A magical experience to be standing out in a light rain in the silence of a forest stream.

     

    Further along the road toward Loch Ness.  The damp winter colors were spectacular.

     

    Had it been dry I would have walked down among this mystic grove.

     

    I took many, many photos of Eilean Donan Castle. Many.  How could you not photograph this iconic landscape.

     

    A lasting memory of my breathtaking winter sojourn to the Isle of Skye.

     

    The drive was magnificent.

    Thailand Photos: A Pakkret Sunset

    A recent trip to Thailand brought us back to our old stomping grounds of Pakkret . . . for a wonderful sunset.

     

    An amazing colorful sunset . . .

     

    A jet plan streaked the closing sunset.

    Thailand Photos: A Hua Hin Roadside Spirit House

    The ubiquitous Buddhist spirit house is seen everywhere in Thailand.  I spotted this one while walking along a sandy road near the beach just north of Hua Hin in January of 2016.

     

    Spirit houses are tended . . . by someone or many someones.  This particular spirit house was in a vacant field, not too far from several beach houses.

     

    On certain Buddha days, people will adorn a spirit house with flower (or plastic flower) garlands.  The real flower garlands dry up and become, to my eye, even more beautiful.

     

    The untended of the tending garlands . . . . magnificent!

     

    Spirit houses are also places for performing Buddhist spiritual practices and rituals.

     

    Various votive items are placed in these spiritual structures.  Some as help or accouterments of need to the inhabitors of the spirit house, and some as Buddhist veneration.

     

    The color and textures of these dried votive garlands are captivating to me.

     

    Even the plastic garlands, when covered with the age of layers of dust, are beautiful in time.

     

    Time, weather, and craft.

     

    I walked on down the sandy road in the heat.  I was happy that I had stopped to really see what was within this spirit house.

    Catterline Cove, Scotland Photos

    My friend Steve lives just south of Aberdeen and Stonehaven in the tiny Scottish seaside village of Catterline, Scotland.

     

    One of my favorite places to eat is the Creel Inn, Catterline.  It's a 200 year old inn with great food and a fine selection of real ales.

     

    After a significant conversation about literature, philosophy, and being-in-the-world, and after a fine lunch at the Creel Inn washed down with a winter ale, we set out on a walk down to Catterline Cove in a bitter, biting 33f degree driving wind.

     

    The cold wind drove zephyrs across the cove.

     

    Only a handful of fishing boats go out from Catterline Harbour any more . . . mostly to supply the tables of the Creel Inn.

     

    The old Catterline Harbour jetty.

     

    Bitingly cold, and blindingly beautiful.

     

    A rugged North Sea coast spreads north from Catterline.

     

    It was odd lighting: a dark cloud coming from the west, full of snow, darkened the foreground while an early setting winter sun lit tall clouds out across the North Sea.

     

    A fisherman's cottage below the Catterline cliffs.

     

    The old fisherman's cottage had a fine weathered red door.

     

    Fisherman's cottage wall detail.

     

    The old boat winch, lost in the weeds.

     

    We walked back up the hill in the fading winter light.

     

    Steve's old fisherman's cottage, up on the cliffs above the North Sea.

    Study: A Hua Hin Palm

    I was walking down a dirt road in Hua Hin, Thailand on New Years' Day 2016 and saw some nice light on this palm trunk.

     

    The colors and patterns, and contrast was superb.

     

    Wonderful pattern and color.