DP. Weekly Photo Challenge- 2017 Favourites


Neist Point Lighthouse, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Neist Point is one of my favourite places….though this is not one of my best shots of the location.  But for me it is a favourite because of the very memorable conditions under which this shot was made.

What you cannot tell from the image is that a major storm had just started to ease.  We had sat in the car about a mile away thinking that we best turn for home. But after a flask of coffee our courage returned and  the gale eased to just a very high wind. Even so it was rather desperate by the cliff edge being jostled one way then the other by each gust of the wind.  There was no way a tripod was going to  remain standing so the only option was to sit low down on the cliff edge, crank up the ISO rating and hope that a high shutter speed would kill the shake that was still going thru my body.

It was one of those days when you were thankful to shrug off the waterproofs and sink into the comfort of the car…even though it was still swaying.  So it is my favourite for 2017 for all the excitement and the memories of that storm.

I hope this fits the bill for this weeks DP Photo Challenge Topic….you can see what are the favourites of other contributors on this link:-


21st December

(C) David Oakes 2017


Silent Sunday…… So off to Church


Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey, or to give it its Sunday name “Saint Marys Abbey” can be found in one of the most idyllic settings of any Abbey.  Above the banks of the River Tweed and in the shadow of the Eildon Hills the Cistercian Monks who founded the Abbey in 1136 chose the location well.  Built under the instruction of King David I of Scotland it became an important religious and civic centre for many centuries.

Like so many others, Melrose Abbey did see much conflict. Being in the heart of the Scottish Border country (in Roxburghshire) it did not, perhaps could not, escape involvement in the constant Scottish/England  power struggles…but perhaps it was Oliver Cromwell assault during the Civil Wars of the 16th Century that brought an end to monastic life at Melrose.

No visitor to the Scottish Borders should miss the opportunity to visit Melrose, whilst the town itself has much to enjoy, it is the peaceful location of the Abbey that demands a pause to reflect and enjoy.

5th November

(C) David Oakes 2017


Silent Sunday….So off to Church


Ardgour Parish Church, North Corran

As you travel round the Highlands of Scotland you can find numerous old, many ruined, Churches, Chapels, Kirks, and ancient places of worship.  With all the ruins about you could be forgiven if you thought the Highlanders had given up religion.

Nothing would be further from the truth.  Now I am not talking about the towns and Cities not even the numerous villages that all have many more than just one place of worship. As you travel round the Highlands you come across fairly modern churches away from a centre of population.  They all seem well kept by obviously proud congregations, a congregation that must be from a wide country community.

Ardgour Parish Church  may not be one of the remotest that we have found, but still located well away from hustle and bustle of life. Located on the western shore of Loch Linnhe it is part of the wider parish of Ardgour, Morvern and Strontian.

The exterior is of local granite with a slate roof, built in1829, simple in design in what is known as the Parliamentary Style.

The interior appears much more modern….


In fact the interior was installed in 1931.  A curved wooden ceiling lowers the height and a magnificent carved wood Alter and Screen below a simple stained glass window give the interior a distinctive design and then the colour choice of yellow adds light to whole interior.

Off the beaten track maybe…. but well cared for and many signs that the church is well attended.  The care extends to the graveyard that surrounds the church far better maintained than so many of our churches in our towns and cities.

But what better way can there be than when leaving the Church you are greeted with a wonderful view down the Loch towards Ben Nevis…



22nd October

(C) David Oakes 2017

A Surprise Garden…..




Osgood Mackenzie had a wealthy and generous mother. She bought him a rather large piece of ground on the shores of Loch Ewe close to Poolewe. That gift was the start of the creation of a wonderful surprise for this far north and on the rugged coast of Scotland. Taking advantage of the North Atlantic Drift (Gulf Stream) the area enjoys a climate that is just a little warmer.  So in 1862 the start of what is now know as Inverewe Gardens was made.

Even though our visit was early October the garden was still packed with colour….true the very best of summers herbaceous borders was fading and the autumn colours were not yet in full flourish but the garden still offered a colourfull display with a tropical flavour……so come along inside and share the pleasures…

The Gardens are now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, and apart from the Christmas New Year Period, are open all year….


17th October

(C) David Oakes 2017