Sea, Sand, Sun, and a Smile

OK, so maybe it was a bit cool and sea-breezy rather than baking hot, but what a lovely afternoon yesterday for an impromptu trip to the beach at Nairn. Not the usual busy seaside town tourist spot with the white dunes and proper beach-front, but along the coast a little at the other side of town where it is much quieter, with far less sand and far more rocks.

But it was certainly warm enough for a leisurely paddle in the outgoing tide, for finding a few special rocks and shells, for feeling the cold wet sand squidge so solidly between my toes and then letting the warm dry sand powder my feet afterwards, drying them off… Altogether a perfectly natural setting for my slightly windswept smile ๐Ÿ™‚

Weekly Smile

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

River Ness, Inverness, Scotland

April A-Z: Y is for Years Ago

Years agoโ€ฆ or rather centuries agoโ€ฆ 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 Patrickโ€™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 thatโ€™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 โ€“ or at least it would be if there werenโ€™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 โ€“ 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 โ€˜Yโ€™ 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 โ€˜Y is for Years Agoโ€™ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!