Tomnahurich Swing Bridge in Action

There are three very similar swing bridges over the Caledonian Canal here in Inverness – two road bridges and one railway bridge, all working on the same principle and constructed around the same time. Yesterday I was passing by just as the bridge at Tomnahurich opened, so stopped to capture the scene on camera .

The road crosses over from left to right of the picture (or right to left, depending on the direction of travel) and the bridge sits really low on the water so boats travelling the canal cannot pass underneath without the bridge moving out of the way. The traffic is temporarily stopped on either side and the entire bridge swings open sideways on a pivot and wheel (very much like a giant heavy door opening) until it sits at right angles to the road. The boat sails on through, the bridge closes again immediately, and the waiting traffic is free to pass over once more.

During the summer months this process takes place multiple times a day, and it never ceases to fascinate me – I really love the clever engineering involved! There is a warning siren that sounds continuously to let people know the bridge is opening and closing, but amazingly the mechanical operation of the bridge itself is silent and smooth and surprisingly speedy – it only takes a few minutes. This particular metal bridge has been in situ since 1938, a replacement for a previous wooden bridge that apparently worked on an entirely different principle.

I know this is a long and boring gallery if you’re not interested in seeing a series of static images of a bridge opening and closing again, but the fault is mine for not thinking to video it in action instead – duh! Anyway, I’m hoping my swing bridge opening and closing can count as an honorary canal door for today’s Thursday Doors – I know Dan loves bridges as well as doors, so fingers crossed I might just get away with it! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Fault

Today’s Canal Walk

While the weather’s been nice I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garden, so haven’t been out on as many walks as usual.

But this afternoon I decided to forego the weeding and instead went for a wander along the banks of the Caledonian Canal here in Inverness. The change of scenery did me the world of good, and of course I took my camera with me – to my surprise I took almost 300 images and almost used up a whole battery charge by the time I got home.

I really enjoyed my leisurely walk on such a lovely June afternoon, and it feels really good to have taken a whole new collection of photographs from beyond my garden – definitely something to smile about! 🙂

And as a bonus I got home to find Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge this week has the option of posting images of water or landscapes – perfect!

Weekly Smile

Old Gravestones

A selection of old gravestones from the Chapel Yard Cemetery on Chapel Street in Inverness. Most of the standing gravestones I could read are from the late 18th and all the way through the 19th Centuries, but apparently there is still one remaining stone from the 1600s – not that I could find it though.

There has been a burial ground of some kind or other on this site since the 12th Century, where there stood a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Green, so there must have been a lot of people buried here over the centuries since, long forgotten in the mists of time.

After the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie’s followers destroyed a lot of the old tombs of ancestral families who did not support the cause – historic vandalism certainly has a lot to answer for when it comes to such wanton desecration of hallowed ground. (Looking at you here, Henry VIII, with your reformation rampage and deliberate demolition of so many religious relics in the mid-1500s.)

Looking around today it’s hard not to notice so many ‘and their children’ additions to the current old stones remaining in situ, with many children not even being named individually, but I suppose infant mortality would have been high in those days. Two gravestones photographed here that particularly caught my attention are inscribed only as follows:

‘John McLeod and Margaret McIntosh A Lovely Wife & A Dutiful Mother 1823’

‘1855 Our Little Ones’

I can think of a worse epitaph than being remembered as being a lovely wife and a dutiful mother, but how sad to have a whole gravestone dedicated only to your nameless lost children… ❤

A Doorway But No Door

I found this overgrown stone doorway within the old Chapel Yard Cemetery in Inverness, but sadly no door to go with it, only an iron gate. Oh well! Hopefully I can still use some artistic license and count it as a door though?

Although most of the surviving (or at least readable) gravestones are from the late 18th to 19th Centuries, apparently there has been a graveyard of some sort on this site since the 12th Century. This is the grandest example but these open air walled ‘rooms’ dotted around seem to be old family enclosures or mausoleums belonging mainly to all the ‘big’ names of the town, although there are plenty of ordinary grave markers here too 🙂

Thursday Doors

Both Weathered and Unexpected

It’s probably a bit late for both Weekly Prompt challenges but I only found this guy today and just had to share him – better late than never!

This is a sandstone effigy of a knight, and along with one small section of sandstone pillar still standing in a small, very old graveyard he is all that remains of a Dominican Friary built here in 1233. He has no arms any more, and his head and chest are extremely weathered, but if you look closely you can still see the design on his belt buckle holding his scabbard and long sword by his left hip. On his right side there is a shorter stabbing sword or big knife, and looking behind his shoulders there is still a hint of chain-mail patterning cut into the stone.

He’s maybe not the clearest of effigies to make out but the poor guy is just shy of 900 years old and sandstone is not the most hard-wearing substance on the planet, so I’d say he’s looking pretty good in the circumstances, even his knobbly knees. Especially as the friary itself was disbanded and destroyed during the reformation in the mid-16th Century, with many of the original stones being re-used for major buildings elsewhere in the town, so he’s lucky to have survived.

I’d decided today to explore two of the three old burial grounds within a stone’s throw of each other in the middle of Inverness – Blackfriars is the smallest and most hidden from view of them all, tucked in behind a rather ugly relatively modern telephone exchange building, and I’d never actually been there before so finding a 13th Century stone knight still standing strong was a pretty cool find. I imagine he’d be pretty spooky at night though, looming out of the wall like that 🙂

Weekly Prompt: Unexpected

Weekly Prompt: Weathered

Ben Wyvis from Greig Street Bridge

After being laid low yesterday with yukky side effects from my first Covid shot, I’m feeling loads better today and fancied a walk to get some fresh air and sunshine – and of course my camera came too!

I got this lovely pic of Ben Wyvis still with a sprinkling of snow, taken from the Greig Street Bridge in Inverness. The mountain is actually about 35 miles away, so is not always as visible as this, but I really liked the way it both blends in blue with the water and the sky yet stands out edged in white all at the same time 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Air