On the Hunt for Joy: Outside

Cee has started a new challenge – On The Hunt for Joy – and for this week the topic is to get outside 🙂 I only had my phone camera with me yesterday while out for a walk around and about the countryside at my parents’ house, but I happily captured a couple of images of still-frosted foliage untouched by winter sunshine, the landscape in which I was walking, bright red berries, and something faded and knitted wrapped around a barbed wire fence 🙂

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

Sunday Stroll – Muirtown Locks to Tomnahurich

Today’s walk by the Caledonian Canal in Inverness took me the comfortably walkable distance from Muirtown Locks to Tomnahurich Swing Bridge down one side of the water, then back up along the other. I started at the top of Muirtown Locks where the houses are close to the canal and walked down along the bank, heading inland (although in most of these pics I’ve turned around to keep the low winter sun behind me).

Just past Tomnahurich Cemetery, which is set on and around a natural hill formed millenia ago by glaciers, I crossed the canal by the swing bridge, and started walking up along the other bank, heading back towards the sea.

I followed the edge of the canal all the way back up to just before the Caley Marina, where the path detours a little around private property…

Then just past the Marina I turned and took an atmospheric shot facing back into the sun before reaching the top lock gate at Muirtown Locks (the point I started from), where I crossed the canal once more before my short walk home – a perfect Sundy stroll on a chilly December morning! 🙂

My New Neighbourhood

We’ve recently moved from London to Inverness, and have bought a house close to the Northernmost end of the Caledonian Canal… this is the view from Muirtown Locks, the part of the canal we see right at the end of our road 🙂

This afternoon I took a walk further along the path leading towards the mouth of the canal, where it meets the sea of the Beauly Firth…

At the mouth of the canal there is a huge stone welcoming everyone to the Caledonian Canal…

And some interesting sea-worthy structures to photograph…

I can see I’m going to enjoy living in our new home in Inverness! 🙂

Photo A Week Challenge: In the Neighbourhood

Kessock Bridge from Clachnaharry

The Kessock Bridge crosses the eastern end of the Beauly Firth at Inverness, carrying the A9 main road across the water. Before the bridge was built, a ferry used to run the short distance between North and South Kessock – a ferry trip I remember very well from childhood 🙂