April A-Z: Reflections on 2020

A-Z Challenge Reflections

I had such great plans for this year’s April A-Z, with the idea of sharing brand new photographs taken in real time of Inverness in Scotland, where we now live. But being in lockdown throughout the full month of April with no real advance notice whatsoever left me stuck without access to many of the people-filled public places I’d hoped to show.

But rather than change my theme altogether, I decided either to use some of those few images I already had (we’ve only been living here for six months) or to find alternative, pandemic-friendly topics to photograph in real time – and to my surprise I succeeded, 26 posts on 26 alphabetical topics posted in good time on each given day.

As you can see from the image gallery above, there were a few buildings, a few bridges, and a lot of landscape shots, and although it wasn’t my original intention I can see in retrospect I’ve probably shown you less of a generic busy tourist’s view of Inverness and more of my own personal, quiet experience of living here. So maybe no bad thing…

One thing I do feel bad about is not visiting enough new A-Z blogs this year – it just felt one step too far for me. I’m not in a particularly happy place right now and for me, and focusing mainly on my own posts and those of bloggers I already follow had to be enough. But I’ve done it, I feel a sense of achievement to have got through it all in such difficult circumstances, and look, I even have a badge to prove it! 🙂

Anyway, here are the links to my individual daily posts, just incase anyone wants another look back, or missed some of them at the time – welcome to my Inverness! 🙂

A is for Abertarff House

B is for Ben Wyvis

C is for Castle

D is for Department Store

E is for Eastgate

F is for Farraline Park

G is for Greig Street Bridge

H is for Home

I is for infirmary Bridge

J is for Jacobite Cruises

K is for Kessock Bridge

L is for Landscape

M is for Muirtown Locks

N is for Ness Islands

O is for Old High Church

P is for People in Passing in a Pandemic

Q is for Quotations

R is for River

S is for Swing Bridge

T is for Tomnahurich Hill

U is for University of Highlands and Islands

V is for View

W is for Waterways

X is for Level Crossing

Y is for Years Ago

Z is for Zero Regrets

April A-Z: X is for Level Crossing

Although the Kessock Bridge carries the main A9 trunk road across the Beauly Firth, the single track railway line travelling north from Inverness still follows the coastline along the water’s edge towards Beauly, past Clachnaharry Sea Lock.

As there is still a towpath along the full length of the canal, it is necessary to cross the railway via one of two pedestrian level crossings placed on either side of the swing bridge crossing the canal.

But don’t worry, trains pass infrequently and cross the bridge really slowly, and on approach train drivers always sound their horn so you have plenty of warning to clear the line before the train appears.

It’s a great opportunity to get a few shots looking along the tracks, but sadly I never seem to catch the light just right 🙂

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!

April A-Z: S is for Swing Bridge

There are three white-painted metal swing bridges that cross over the Caledonian Canal here in Inverness.

A road bridge at Tomnahurich, carrying the main road from Inverness along the banks of Loch Ness South West towards Fort Augustus; a road bridge at Muirtown carrying the ‘old’ road North-West out towards Beauly (it too used to be the main road before the Kessock Bridge was opened; and finally a small single track railway bridge carrying all trains in both directions that travel North of Inverness.

The two road bridges are pretty much identical, so I’ve shown the road surface view of the bridge at Tomnahurich, and the side view of its sister bridge at Muirtown. The smaller bridge with the red circle is the rail bridge at Clachnaharry.

These swing bridges literally swing open on a pivot, and a small wheel slides the entire central structure at right angles to allow boats through, before swinging closed again.

PS I’ve actually posted photographs before of the swing bridge at Muirtown in action, if anyone is interested 🙂

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!

April A-Z: N is for Ness Islands

The Ness Islands are a group of little islands in the middle of the River Ness within the city of Inverness itself. They are connected via Victorian footbridges spanning either side of the river bank and then from island to island, and are laid out with easily accessible and well-kept pathways for enjoying a leisurely stroll, or having a seat on a wooden bench, or in better times (and better weather) maybe stopping off for a picnic along the way. As well as for visiting tourists, the islands are a popular destination for local families, dog-walkers, joggers, and cyclists.

In the winter as the water level rises there are less islands and more river to view, but in the summer with the river level lower, the islands are more usually seen at their best. For now though, you’ll have to just take my word for it! These images were all taken last month before the stay at home thing kicked in, so although I really enjoyed my walk it was a rather grey, dull day – but in spite of the weather the old tree-trunk Nessie still had a smile on her face 🙂

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!

April A-Z: K is for Kessock Bridge

The Kessock Bridge opened in 1982, permanantly crossing the short stretch of water that separates Inverness and the Black Isle – a stretch that had previously only been crossed by a ferry that ran between North and South Kessock.

I made that ferry crossing many times as a child when travelling north on family outings, as it saved the long and winding road trip around the Beauly Firth. I really wasn’t keen on the ferry, on driving slowly down the slipway then carefully across one of four metal side ramps on to the ferry boat that carried up to 17 cars – it felt far too precarious for me, as if the solid ground was disappearing from underneath us (which I suppose in a way it was!)

The Kessock bridge is a cable-stayed bridge with a total length of 1056m (3465ft), with a main span of 240m (787ft), and it carries the main A9 trunk road north from Inverness to the Black Isle. The bridge sits high above the water, as the Beauly Firth far below is a navigable waterway and all boats must pass underneath the main span.

The first three images were taken by me, and the panoramic shot by my husband with his Google Pixel phone camera 🙂

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!

April A-Z: I is for Infirmary Bridge

The Infirmary Bridge is like the non-identical twin of the Greig Street Bridge – another Victorian suspension footbridge across the River Ness, but this time a little further upstream. This bridge gets its name from being next to the Royal Northern Infirmary, an old Inverness hospital – the Infirmary is actually the building on the left hand side of the last image.

Like its sister bridge the Infirmary Bridge was also cast in 1881, but the maker this time was Ness Ironworks. It has a central span of 52.7m (173ft) and two side spans of 15.2m (50ft) so is slightly smaller in stature than the Greig Street Bridge.

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!

April A-Z: G is for Greig Sreet Bridge

The Greig Street Bridge in Inverness gets its name from the street it leads directly onto when crossing the river – Greig Street.

The Victorians built two very similar ironwork suspension footbridges crossing the River Ness, although this is the one that features more regularly in my blog because this is the bridge we use every time we walk from our house into town.

It was cast in the Rose Street Foundry in Inverness in 1881, and according to Wikipedia has a central span of 61.3 m (201ft) and two side spans of 20.4m (67ft). As the bridge is within the local flood defence area, access to the bridge can be completely sealed off as necessary, which has only happened once since we moved here.

As a suspension bridge under tension, the walkway bounces a little as people walk across it, much to the amusement of children (and even adults) who love nothing more than to create as bouncy a crossing as possible 🙂

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!

Crossing the Kessock Narrows – From Ferry to Bridge

When I was a little girl, the only quick way to cross the Kessock Narrows between North and South Kessock in Inverness was by ferry – the alternative was a long drive that necessitated having to follow the ‘old’ coastal route from Inverness to Beauly then doubling back again along the other side of the Beauly Firth, which if I remember rightly was a circuitous trip of at least twenty-something miles or so each way.

The short shuttle ferry crossing between the two Kessocks both thrilled and scared me equally – you had to drive down a solid ramp towards the sea, then cross over onto the undulating ferry at a sideways angle on an equally undulating flimsy metal ramp where you could clearly see the sea moving beneath onto the little boat (that held about 8 cars and additional foot passengers). The crossing itself took less than ten minutes, then we had to repeat in reverse the precarious process of getting from boat to shore.

Then in 1982 the expansive Kessock Bridge was opened, suspended high over the water and rendering the little ferry crossing obsolete, but yesterday I took a walk to explore the old ferry ramp of my childhood memory, still very much in situ. Looking eastwards from the old ramp you can even see the new bridge that replaced it, and looking across towards North Kessock you can see the other ramp still in place too, to the far left of the southern ramp.

In my younger days, the entire area of South Kessock was always known locally as ‘The Ferry’ and is seems it’s still called that today, even though there has been no ferry crossing there for almost 40 years now! 🙂

PS For bridge aficionados (looking at you here, Dan!), according to Wikipedia the Kessock Bridge has a total length of 1056m (3465ft) with a main span of 240m (787ft). The bridge carries the main A9 trunk road from the South through Inverness to the Black Isle and the North, and due to the Great Glen Fault the bridge has been built with seismic buffers over the line of the fault.

PPS I’ve driven over the bridge countless times in my life, but have never once walked it – so maybe that’s something better left to a future balmy summer’s day, rather than atempting it over the chilly winter months…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Follow