Lockdown Walkabout

The weekend challenge on Weekly Prompts is ‘Walkabout’, inviting us to share some of our permitted outdoor exercise routes during lockdown.

I’ve already shared many of my regular walks, and am really lucky to have plenty of options so I decided to ring the changes and make a little monochrome gallery of my favourite places to walk for now, dependent on my mood and the weather and whether I fancy a slow leisurely stroll or something infintely more bracing.

Inverness sits on Scotland’s north-east coast, and has both a canal and a river running through it. So from my house I can easily walk along the canal, around the cemetery, through the woods, by the water’s edge or across the river – all spaces reasonably close to home where social distancing is safely achievable 🙂

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

Along the River Ness

Todays’ outdoor exercise took me along the river for a change, instead of along the canal, so I thought I’d share some images with you on this lovely Sunday afternoon 🙂

River Ness, Inverness, Scotland

April A-Z: Y is for Years Ago

Years ago… or rather centuries ago… actually a couple of millennia ago (around 300 BC or thereabouts), Iron Age people built a hill fort on the crown of what is now Craig Phadrig hill (literally Patrick’s Rock) on the western outskirts of Inverness, and then at some point apparently burned it when it went out of use, effectively fusing the rocky ramparts together.

According to history (or maybe just heresay, who knows) the site was used again as a stronghold much later in the 6th Century by the Pictish King Brude, at around the same time he was supposedly converted to Christianity by St Columba.

All that’s left of it today is an oval perimeter earthwork of vitrified rocks lying solid underneath the grassy soil, but the flat top of the hill is still an impressive vantage point for miles around – or at least it would be if there weren’t so many tall trees blocking the view! There is a well-maintained forest path all the way up to the hill fort, but it gets a bit steep at times towards the top – I really enjoyed my walk, though, and it certainly got my heart-rate going for some proper aerobic exercise.

I see the tree-covered hillside of Craig Phadrig every morning when I open my bedroom curtains, so after wracking my brains all month to work out what to do for a ‘Y’ post this year I finally decided some photographs of what remains of the old half-hidden hill fort at the top would perhaps make a good ‘Y is for Years Ago’ piece of ancient history from before there was even an Inverness!

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: V is for View

I had always intended having ‘V is for View’ for this year’s A-Z but the views in question were originally going to be taken from the viewpoint on top of Inverness Castle, looking out over the city centre. But of course the castle viewpoint, along with all other tourist locations, is closed for the duration due to the current coronavirus crisis, so as the month has progressed I’ve been wondering if I could find an alternative vantage point?

However, as I climbed Tomnahurich Hill the other day for my ‘T’ post I was absolutely amazed by the wonderful view looking towards the Black Isle through a deliberate gap in the trees so took these images specifically to use for today’s post. The images show the views to the north from left to right, looking out from west to east, taken with the telephoto end of my standard kit lens, followed by a wide angle view looking straight ahead.

Our house is somewhere in there, but is hidden behind other buildings so is not actually visible in any of the shots. At the top end of the wide street in the middle of the wide angle image, slightly to the left and up is a dark green tree – our house is very close to there.

And lastly, I cropped another wide angle image to create a kind of panoramic view from the Kessock Bridge on the left to the Inverness Castle on the right, covering the city centre in the middle – Failte Gu Inbhir Nis – welcome to Inverness 🙂

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: P is for People in Passing in a Pandemic

I must admit I’m really struggling with my A-Z this year, finding it hard to motivate myself to post my own alphabetical posts never mind read many posts by anyone else. I’m still carrying on regardless though, going through the motions day by day but to be honest much of the time my heart’s really not in it.

I had some tentative pre-prepared ideas in the planning to make it all so much more interesting than this, to take in real time and share for posterity potential photographs full of busy people in busy public places enjoying life en masse. But instead I’ve had to re-think my plans, sticking much closer to home and focusing on more solitary subjects seen from afar or filling in the inevitable gaps with a few iffy pre-lockdown last-minute-panic phone-camera shots.

So for today’s ‘P is for…’ post I’m simply sharing a few selected images of everyday people in the passing during a pandemic, just people I’ve seen while out on my allotted daily walk. People like me, each of us doing our individual best to be healthy human beings while still being considerate to others in this ongoing stressful situation we all find ourselves in.

We smile and say hi or nod as we pass, acknowledging each other’s presence as we inevitably find ourselves skirting round each other at a safe distance, almost automatically moving away like magnets of the same polarity being pushed together. In spite of deliberately giving each other a wide berth there’s an odd feeling of togetherness in keeping apart so carefully. It feels like we’re a community of connected strangers seeking intimacy in isolation.

I think if there’s one central thing this government-enforced social distancing is showing me it’s the sheer importance of people in my life. I may be a depressive introvert and a long-time loner and someone who is perfectly happy in only my own company much of the time but oh, how I miss that easy everyday contact with people. Not just my family and friends, but real life day-to-day social contact with humanity in general…

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: L is for Landscape

Inverness is set within such a beautiful Highland landscape, with both the River Ness and the Caledonian Canal emerging into the sea via the Beauly Firth, pictured here looking out over the water from Clachnaharry close to where the canal meets the sea. We’re so lucky to live within easy walking distance of this wonderful spot, particularly just now with the need to stay at home apart from work or food shopping or one period of outdoor exercise a day, all the while maintaining social distancing and good hand hygiene.

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!