Archive for the Trips Category

Isle of May

Posted in Photography, Trips with tags on June 16, 2016 by Jinja Coo

After two previous paddles out to Isle of May, it was an interesting change to return this time on the May Princess from Anstruther.

It was a stunning day for weather, though breezy enough to necessitate landing on the island’s western landing – a bit more complicated than the harbour on the east side – and out of that breeze on the island the heat of the sun could really be felt. Wild flowers carpeted the place as did the wildlife: puffins, eiders, terns, kittiwakes, shags, gulls, rabbits and lots more.

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A Wintry Day in Melrose

Posted in Hiking, Hills, Trips with tags , on December 31, 2014 by Jinja Coo

A visit to Melrose satisfied a need for some much needed fresh air and exercise after too much festive food.

First, after a second breakfast, was a walk up the town’s landmark hills, the Eildons. Frosty paths made for slower progress than we otherwise might have made and with the aim of visiting the abbey too, we left the southern of the three peaks for another day.

From up top we had great views of the rolling borders scenery, the River Tweed and the towns lying along it to the north, to the southeast the Cheviots were lying high enough to be well covered in snow.

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The sun was lying low all day and blindingly bright to the south, but once we dropped down to the north of the hills back towards town, we could enjoy the sun’s effect on the hills north of the Tweed and the higher reaches of the Abbey too.

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After a hearty lunch – more festive guzzling – we timed our visit to the Abbey with the sun dropping below the higher ground to the south. The light cast on the Abbey’s walls warmed it up, at least in appearance, but the temperature dropped fast and so too did the light level.

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River Tweed in Melrose.
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Driving home the wind farm on Sutra Hill looked quite impressive with sunset behind.
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Mull, Staffa and Iona

Posted in Trips, Wildlife with tags , , , on April 22, 2014 by Jinja Coo

A full day of driving, boating and walking to get ourselves out to Staffa on a puffin hunt.

We drove to Oban to board the Mull-bound ferry and then on to a bus with good commentary from Craignure over to Fionnphort where our tour boat would carry us onwards to Staffa itself. An hour on land there was followed by the return journey to Iona where a longer stopover allowed a visit to the famous Abbey. Then the journey in reverse with the lowering sun casting a very different light on the hills and water all around us. A stunning day with barely a cloud in the sky and just a slight chill in the breeze.

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In terms of wildlife, along the way we saw; two otters (we think) one from the car and one from the bus, countless heron, seals, two golden eagles flying together, a sea eagle, eiders – on and under the water – from above on Staffa’s cliffs, shags, guillemots, fulmars, gulls, deer and … thankfully puffins too. Not on land yet, but rafted up together just off of Staffa. They are possibly waiting till enough of them are gathered for safer burrowing later on as there were no burrows at all on land that we could see yet.

One unexpected critter was some kind of mouse, darting about the beach on Iona, which seemed to be completely oblivious to the risk it was running being so exposed to gulls and crows who were taking an interest. It was relocated to some scrub at the head of the beach but refused to take cover and possibly didn’t last much longer.

Islay be Back

Posted in Cycling, Trips with tags , , , on April 19, 2013 by Jinja Coo

A short trip out to Islay which proved costlier than expected…

First stop after picking up bikes was the Ardbeg distillery for a really interesting tour followed by some whisky tasting and lunch.

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Soon after we cycled on to Kildalton Cross and beyond, almost to the road end for a quick break before returning to Port Ellen.

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A really nice day all in and pretty chilled out with better weather than forecast up till the end of our cycling, well, almost!

Next day we moved ourselves to Bowmore for a change of scenery, a place which had a typical Sunday feel to it, not much open or to do (even the round church was closed after the service) and we had a sense of hanging about till departure time. Hanging about too long as it happened, when it mattered there was not a taxi to be had and we missed check-in. Oops!

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A shame our second day was so idle, had we known ahead of time about the flight we could have made better use of the day, or better still booked a taxi and saved a fortune in extra costs.

Islay is definitely a place to return to for more cycling and exploring as we barely scratched the surface, and I think next time the ferries will be made use of to arrive at one end and depart from the other, possibly with an excursion to Jura.

Travels Back in Time to a Place of Ancient Kings

Posted in Photography, Trips with tags , on January 2, 2013 by Jinja Coo

A long, meandering jaunt from Ballachulish, stopping for the odd glimpse in to the past (some much more recent than others), ending up in Kilmartin Glen at Scotland’s birth place, Dunadd Fort, where Dalriadic Kings left their marks.

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Older…
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Older still…
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