Category Archives: travel

Glasgow finds me bowled over.

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Street Art – Vettriano

Sure, it rained, but it didn’t matter.  Glasgow gets my vote. Anyone who reads my blog knows I get inspired by being in nature.  What is not as apparent is how cityscapes find a button to press too.  I was excited by Glasgow. The vibrancy of the city juxtaposed with the melancholy of erstwhile beautiful buildings showing the ravages of neglect. The city planners deserve some credit – it hands Glasgow to you on a plate. And it is unusual for me to enter the fashionable world of food ( the fashionable world of anything come to that) but at the risk of showing naive overenthusiasm, there is included a shout out for a restaurant that gave me an eating experience that thrilled my jaded palette.

We were on a budget so we stayed at EH Hostel, about ten minutes walk from the train station at Queen Street.  It looked as though the immediate area was a bit run down, but the room was clean and modern with a shower room, a toilet and a handbasin. We were using the room as a place to safely off load luggage and just for sleeping, so the fact the beds were bunks was fine – not the romantic get away destination though!. An added bonus was a t.v on the wall. And the total bill for two people over two nights was £83!

Two days weren’t enough – but we have done a great pre visit visit and will be returning very shortly.  We spent the day in the Kelvingrove gallery and museum – it was a fabulous example of how to create a space that inspires. I didn’t want to stop exploring. But my body did, so I stopped.  I have learnt that much  – I ignore the signs at my peril.

For shopaholics Glasgow is a go to city.  It is a joy just to wander down the wide streets and take it all in. Eat a take out sandwich in George Square and watch the world go by – even the police seemed chilled out, on horseback too.  Beautiful horses.

Bridges and architecture keep eyes wide open – it’s a city that wants to show off. The Clyde cut the city in two and the view from my eighth floor room was a wonder.

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Modern meets classic – beautifully

Kelvingrove gallery

An amazing installation!

IMG_8048IMG_8040Untitled-3Untitled4I need to mention the restaurant as I cannot recommend it highly enough, Dakhin, Candleriggs prides itself on being gluten free, and offering an Indian experience that is different to most. The food in influenced by  Southern India, and after having started with poppadums and chutnies that were delightfully light and flavoured to perfection, I progressed to starters of spinach and onion bhajiis – again beautifully light but satisfyingly tasty. The main dish was a perfect balance of flavours with tender chicken, complemented with a fragrant rice and gluten free pancake/breads that were to die for. I hadn’t thought of ordering them, but the waiter suggested we shared a rice and a bread dish. We were glad we did. And I couldn’t finish!! So unusually for restaurants that serve food perfectly flavoured and at a temperature that pleased even my husband ( he cannot abide cold plates and food that does not stay hot)  the servings were generous.  The only thing to add was the atmosphere – it was contemporary and openspaced with service that were genuinely friendly, willing to help, happy to explain . I have only praise for Dahkin and cannot wait to go again.  Book now!(and I don’t get paid to tell you!) Dahkin Restaurant, Candleriggs

 

Giants, volcanoes and an Island of Perpetual Delight.

The visibility was holding beautifully – this Island can be shrouded in mist for the whole of a weeks stay, but our luck was in.  In March you’re never without a few layers to keep out the wind, which is uncompromising, but not to have had the waterproof trousers on is a real bonus.  To know Skye is to fall in love with Skye, and like all good relationships , it just keeps on giving. On this day we saw a sea eagle in flight, a burnt out volcano and messed about in a little corner we had never yet seen which appeared to have been the burial grounds of giants. You will see what I mean from the photos.  I was seeing giants everywhere, so what with faery pools yesterday and these petrified beings today, it’s no stretch to realise we are in the land of myth and magic.

Here's my head of a giant

Here’s my head of a giant

My giants lying together in their final resting place

My giants lying together in their final resting place

Just a great view
Just a great view

panorama of the spit of land we were walking.
panorama of the spit of land we were walking.

 

 

Adventures on an Island.

So, it might be 4 degrees and blowing a wind that demands two hats, thermals and  a willingness to brave the elements, but once the first steps are taken it all begins to be very clear.  Skye is the nearest to heaven I will find.  Here we go then, telling the tale in pictures of the first two trips.  Trip one took us to the bottom of a very good looking hill, the trail of which revealed mini waterfall one after the other, pooling into shallows where faeries are reputed to bathe.  I did see the stone head of a beheaded giant, so perhaps faeries do make it up there too.

The following day we drove to the North of the Island on the trail of gold.  Well a cave of gold actually, which we never did find, although we were placed exactly where we were supposed to be after following to the letter the directions in a walkers guide. It took us across land which was signed ‘Private, Keep Off’ in blood red letters, and down a very steep slope.  It was worth it though, even without the gold.

Trip two

Near Uig Headland Isle of Skye  Anne Corr Cave of Gold Isle of Skye Anne Corr cave of gold  Anne corr

Trip One

from faery pools walk IMG_7245 Giants been beheaded  Anne Corr

First trip, Glenbrittle

First trip, Glenbrittle

Faery Pool

Faery Pool

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Deep Solace

The hills of Western Highlands

Solace; You give deep solace.

I sink into this place,

dig into pillows, fresh, green

and clean purity of space.

Hills, stately as galleons

offer refuge, all burden

is gone, the eye free

to stare, and stare,

unhindered, all care

abandoned, the weight

supported

by invisible, magic air.

Memories flow

as surely as streams

that silver through

green,lush valleys.

Timelessness,

and energy ,

the life forces within

and without.

Form and beauty

are  rocks inheritance,

shared freely and

without counting a cost.

Photos from this Octobers holiday on Skye.   Poem by me!

What January Blues?

I am working today in my January blues.  Blues don’t have to be melancholy, they can just be blue, and bright , and uplifting.  I have used photo images taken on  one of my journeys to Skye, and worked on them , so that they bring back to me the  sweetness of life, lived quietly, lived simply, with the expanse of the sky and the sea to capture.  Skye is probably my favourite destination, because I do not find travel easy, so I will never be crossing time zones and savouring the wonders of other corners of the world.  I am content to spend my time among the rock and the wind  , knowing my heart is allowed stillness there, and contentment.  I have been considering the images that trigger an emotional response in me, and many of them are seascapes, where timelessness is apparent. Where the demands of the ego are somehow diminished, and I can just breathe, and be.  Find yourself a place, a condition that allows you that freedom. Just to be. I am by nature, attracted to the emptinesss of some slandscape, it offers me refuge, whereas I know others would find this place inhospitable, lacking the stimulus they need to find contentment. I love how we are so similar, and so different at the same time.

This view is taken from a small boat boarded at Elgol, and dropping us at the Cuillen, for a potter and a play amongst the rocks and the lakes.  If you like to be close to nature, this is a glorious trip to take.  The bonus for us this time was the weather.  We had never seen Skye in such bright light, literally transforming the laandscape.  Just glorious. The beauty of being in the middle of this range is it’s sense of history, and completeness , and seperateness from the dramas and crises of modern life.  No one can drive there, you have to get the boat and walk. And sit. Take a flask. Can’t wait to be back.

Wishing I was there.

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Coral Beach Isle of Skye

Its only a few weeks ago, but I want to be there again. It is raining here, as in invariably does on an English Bank Holiday in May, so the only way to journey into sunlit scapes is through the power of thought and imagination.  But it’s good to look at the photo’s too, just to jog the brain into submission.  The cows were very relaxed, enjoying the kiss of the sun as thoroughly as we were, and bringing a touch of surrealism to the scene.  It isn’t a hard walk to Coral Beach,  just a gentle meander across the sands, pausing to collect the fossilised remains of the coral which names the beach.  I have them here, with aspirations to turn the patterns of calcified seaweed into silver jewellery, earrings, and pendants.  All I need is the silversmithing skills and I’m away.

Then to find the jewels of the rock pools, undulating gently in the ebb and flow of the tide.  Fascinating forms of mystery and beauty,  it becomes a moving slideshow of colour, texure and movement impossible to capture with the camera.  The connection of life and art seamless in these prehistoric creatures, mindless and oblivious to the world of man. Amazing.

I miss the sea.

 

The Aegean

This music has lasted since the world began.
A rock was born among the waters
while tiny waves chatted in a soft universal tongue.
The shell of a se-turtle
would not have foretold the guitar.
Your music has always risen to the sky,
green taproot, Mother Sea,
first of all firsts. You enfold us,
nurturing us with music – threat,
fable, hypnosis, lullaby, roar,
omen, myth,
little agonies
of grit, of wreckages, of joys – 

Maria Luisa Spaziani (b. 1924) translated by Beverly Allen                                         

 

Skye’s the limit.

Here is a tiny bit of Skye, seen from the side of a small boat, on a trip from Elgol., and experienced in brilliant sunshine.  Chris and I love spending time here,  it has a quality about it that enables us to shrug off the everyday cares and anxieties, and immerse ourself in just being , in the midst of mountains and rocks, light, and sometimes appalling weather conditions.  This trip we were delighted not to have to don the weatherproofs, and to literally bask in spring sunshine,  paddle in the cooling waters of the ocean.  I love the way time has no consequence when we are here,  we can spend hours simply mooching along the rocky shore of one of the bays, photographing the sand patterns , or the rock pools.

The journey here is along one, about ten hours of car driving, but that doesn’t seem onerous.  We often overnight in  the borders,  at a small inn that has been attracting visitors since the poet Robert Burns stayed there.  It has a room dedicated to him.  The history of Scotland is a war torn, messy one, and the places and people are steeped in it.  There is still some feeling of resentment that goes back to the Highland clearances, and the landscape is littered with small castles that contain the tales of clan heritage.  Man has made some mark on the highlands, but in comparison to the landscape, man can do nothing but admit his own inconsequence. That is another reason I like spending time here. Boat trip from Elgol, Isle of Skye