Not so Tranquil today…….

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This is Scourie Bay when last visited in the summer.  Today it will be far from tranquil.  Whilst storms are lashing the whole of the U.K. the very North West of Scotland seems to be getting battered the worst.  The Met Office tells us that a very deep depression is centred possibly just above Scourie with cyclonic winds of over 90 mph predicted plus of course heavy rains and some snow.

It is always hard to balance in ones mind the calm peaceful ambience of a place with the toil and turmoil of a winters storm…….whilst it is easy to say that they are used to winter storms on the North West coast of Scotland, it makes them no less dramatic or dangerous for those living there.

Location: Scourie Bay, Scourie, North West Sutherland, Highland Region, Scotland.  Whilst  Scourie is now considered just another small West Coast village, all be it one of the most beautiful, it was once the stronghold of Clan Mackay a fighting clan of some historic significance and distinction.

23rd December

© David Oakes 2013

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE–ORANGE

Love orange, warm, dominant and variable from rich dark reddish glows to more subtle dark yellows….so here is my offering of orange, all taken from the natural world about us and borrowing from the gold that makes autumn so colourful.

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Morning

Dawn in Allestree Woods

 

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Abandoned Millstone wheel, Padley Gorge

Disc One

Just another Scourie Sunset, Scotland

I hope you like my selection of Orange…more apt would be Autumn Gold perhaps.

8th April

© David Oakes 2013

Withdrawal Symptoms

I suppose for an island race (after all the U.K. is really only one big island with lots of smaller islands for company and surround by wild waters) that for those of us who live inland we get a craving for the coast.  I also suppose that as it is winter and for the most part dark grey days it does create a longing for blue skies, sunshine and warm sea breezes.

Stuck indoors today with snow showers and sleet outside and the thoughts of places visited in warmer times came flooding back.  Now don’t get me wrong, it is not the beach and deckchair that attracts but more the wilder aspect of our coast…….so just to brighten my day here are two locations to lift my spirits and I hope yours.

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The first is the Northumberland Coast.  Giant sand dunes, rocky outcrops and off shore islands, such as the Farne’s plus small fishing villages and a feast of wildlife make this a magnet for us.  True the North Sea is often rough and the breeze blows from the arctic regions so that even on a hot day you have to keep moving. This just adds to the desire to explore and there is a good deal of history to explore with Bamburgh Castle (above) being just one of  many castles that have helped shape our history.

 

The second location is to be found on the opposite (west) coast and to the far north of Scotland. This part of the Scottish coast has been declared an international Geopark due to its dramatic very distinctive geology.  I am happy exploring anywhere from Cape Wrath down to Torridon but perhaps this little area south of the fishing village of Scourie is the magnet for me. The coast is at some points high cliffs, others a gently sweeping rocky plateau that is lapped by the North Atlantic, all with a backdrop of mountain ranges which even those seen in the distance add drama to these remote views.

Disc One

All of these rocks have been carved by the glacial process over the years, plus of course some volcanic activity in the very dim distant past. Giant boulders on rocky outcrops are geological sculptures in a wild seascape as here at Cnoc an Fhir Bhreige near Badcall just to the south of Scourie.  The view to the south, over Eddrachillis Bay, offering a glimpse of the mountains of the Assynt Peninsular.

The weather outside hasn’t improved but my spirits have even if my trip to the seaside has only been both brief and in my minds eye.

20th January

© David Oakes 2013

I Wish I was There………….(6)

Trying to identify your favourite places in the U.K. is not easy. For No. 6 in this occasional series I am taking you back to Scotland, to the North West coast, to Scourie and because I haven’t enjoyed a proper sunset this summer I thought it would be a good excuse to enjoy one…

Disc One

High tide across Scourie Bay looking to the Scottish Wildlife Trusts Handa Island Reserve.  Here in the far north of Scotland in summer you will find the days long and the nights short and on a good day able to enjoy a tranquil sunset. 

I was told, but was sceptical until I witnessed it once and so far only once, that just as the sun falls below the horizon there is a quick FLASH of green in the suns glow.  Indeed there is but I suspect the moisture over the sea has much to do with it enabling the refraction of light to project this particular colour of the rainbow.  Try and spot it next time you have a sunset….at least it is a good excuse to stay to catch the last remaining glimpse of the days sun!

16 August

WILD ….and Mild

As the local weather here over midsummer has been so wet, wild and windy, I was inspired to continue to look back on midsummer 2 years ago* when we were on the wild North West coast of Scotland….which in reality was not that wild.

Scourie is a small ‘one time’ fishing village surrounded by a rocky moorland landscape on three sides and the Atlantic Ocean on the forth.  When the weather is bad it sweeps in from North America or down from Greenland. 

The up-side are the open vista that the ocean provides; some fantastic views both over the sea and also along the rugged Scottish coast………

Disc One

…………the ever changing sky adds to the drama of the scene but the wide open expanse dwarfs the surrounding cliffs and distant mountains of the Assynt peninsula with its majestic mountains of Canisp, Suilven and Stac Polly mere pimples on the horizon.  The whole area is now defined as a National Geo Park (Geological Nature Reserve) and the nature of the underlying geology is perhaps well illustrated with this view of Scourie beach and bay where the lichen is as attractive and abundant as the rocks.

Disc One

One cannot deny the extremes of this regions climate, very wild, wet and in the winter, snow and ice bound, but also when it chooses it can be warm and sunny. 

Yet just a few miles to the south sharing the same Atlantic weather is Inverewe Gardens a spectacular ‘tropical’ garden created some 100 years ago by the then owner who recognised that whilst the weather could indeed be wild it could also benefit from the warm air and waters of the Gulf Stream.

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Just 4 images from a garden that does indeed live up to its brag of being a ‘tropical’ garden, with Lavender from France and Eucalyptus from Australia merging with other Mediterranean and British plants….an eclectic mix that does much to satisfy the inner sole.

(For those with a photographic interest all the above images, except one,  are HDR images taken at a time when I was starting to play with the technique….a technique I am still learning and still none too sure if I like or not)

Images taken on 22 & 23rd June 2010.

23 JUNE 2012