Leanach Cottage,
on the site of Culloden Battlefield,
near Inverness.

The cottage was built in 1760, 14 years after the battle. A previous cottage existed at the same location, and was probably used as a rudimentary field hospital during the military engagement.


Credit: Jill Clardy

The Caledonian Canal was designed by the famous engineer Thomas Telford. It was meant to be 33.5m wide at the surface, 15.2m wide at the bottom, and 6.1m deep. However, due to the difficult construction conditions the depth wasn't initially achieved. Regardless, the canal was opened to traffic in 1822 while the depth was typically 3.7m. Dredging & improvements continued during the 19th century.

Maintenance work on the canal locks continue to the present day.

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The Gondolier paddle steamer was built especially (in 1866) to operate on The Caledonian Canal from Fort William, on the west coast, to Inverness, on the east. The steamer was primarily intended for sightseeing, but as the A82 road wasn't completed for another 60 years it would also serve as an important transport link.

The canal allowed ships to navigate the Great Glen by joining the Lochs: Linnhe, Lochy, Oich and Ness.

This photo is from earlier in the evening when the men of Burghead take turns to carry the burning Clavie through the streets. Not only is it an arduous task, due to the size & weight, it is also very dangerous. Regardless, they are all very keen to have their turn.

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I took the photo using black & white negative film. This was *very* unusual for me as, at the time, I typically used Kodachrome, and latterly Ektachrome slide film. For some inexplicable reason I didn't note which film I used. It may have been an Ilford HP5 ISO 400. There is quite a lot of grain in the photo, but that might be down to the photo settings. I like the grain, it gives the shot some character.

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I took this many years ago, in my pre-digital phase. It is of the fire festival in Burghead called The Burning of the Clavie, which is celebrated every year on the old Hogmanay (January 11).

The burning Clavie (a wooden barrel containing staves covered in tar, mounted on a stand) is carried through the town, and eventually to the Doorie Hill. On the hill, more tar is added so the whole construction, and parts of the hill, are ablaze.

I came across this of the West End of Edinburgh from 1977. The technique doesn't have much interest, but some of the subjects are fascinating. I like the taxis waiting for residents coming out from the Caledonian Hotel (very posh). A branch of John Menzies when they still had shops. Across the road (Princes Street) is Fraser's department store, and below the wee clock is a very famous place that all Edinburghers know about: Fraser's Corner.

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This photo really appeals to me.

It was taken on Eilean Èisdeal (Easdale Island). The island was famous for producing slate in huge quantities for hundreds of years, until flooding put most of the mines out of business in the mid 19th century. The dark stones in the photo may be slate residue.

The wheelbarrow must have a special purpose, but it is unknown to me. The wee girl looks like she is enjoying the ride.


Credit: Colin MacPherson

One of the things I loved about this area was the profusion of trees.

In particular, I found the shapes of the Scots Pines (giuthas-Albannach - pinus sylvestris) were endlessly fascinating. Every tree had a unique shape. Some were tall and narrow, others were umbrella shaped, and in-between there was every shape imaginable.

Sad as it was to see dead trees, they still added to the landscape. They remained upright, losing their bark and turning silvery.

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After finishing our circuit of the loch we made our way to An Lochan Uaine (the little green lake). You'll just have to believe me that the lochan is vividly green when viewed from the eastern side, as I didn't take a photo from this angle.

From there we continued up Rathad nam Mèirleach (The Thieves' road) to the bothy at Ruighe a’ Bhothain (Ryvoan). We were surprised to find 6 people inside the bothy when we looked inside.

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At the point where we completed our circuit of the loch there was a lovely sandy beach. Judging from the number of footprints in the sand it was a popular place for people to visit.

Tucked into one corner of the beach was a wooden building, which during the tourist season is a centre for wind-surfer and dinghy hire.

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At the western end of the loch there is an outflow (river) called Luineag. It really caught the low-level sunshine in the morning. Around the edges the water was frozen, but the fast flowing parts were ice free.

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Yesterday, I was in the central Highlands, to go walking with a friend. Specifically we were in the area around An Aghaidh Mhòr (Aviemore). We had a great time, the scenery was fantastic, and the weather was almost unbelievable for February.

I'll be posting quite a few photos from the day's adventures.

This first photo is of Loch Mhùrlaig (Loch Morlich), and was taken about 2 minutes after we parked the car. Bright blue skies, no wind, and -2°C temp.

Continuing my occasional series of famous people in kilts. This is Johnny Mathis, outside the Glasgow Apollo theatre (sadly, long since gone) in 1977. Presumably, he was promoting his concert on May 20th, that year.

Credit: Daily Record

I was perusing some information on 1930s Hollywood, when I chanced upon a photo of Joan Blondell sitting, with her knees either side of the chair back, and apparently naked. I was instantly reminded of the famous Christine Keeler photo, where she assumes a similar pose. Although the lighting of the two photos are entirely different, I wonder if the Keeler photo was inspired by the earlier Blondell one.

The Keeler photo certainly inspired the movie poster.

A photograph of a waterfall* taken during the on Boxing Day.

The second version was taken with a very slow shutter speed to create a cotton wool effect. Surprisingly, even though the cotton wool shot was a full one second exposure, done hand held, the non-moving parts of the photo were still fairly sharp.

The waterfall, from top to bottom, was about 10 metres.

* Waterfall/cascade/horsetail? I'm never sure when one becomes the other.

At the end of the we encountered this fascinating navigable aqueduct.

The two left-most arches allow a river to pass underneath the aqueduct, and the third arch allows access for pedestrians & small vehicles. The Caledonian Canal passes above the aqueduct, but is out of sight at this level.

, the Scottie dog, was a bit wary when he went through the tunnel at first. The second time, he went through like a pro.

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Two photos from the Christmas Day

Unseasonably warm weather recently, although it was about 2°C when I took the photos. The mist everywhere gave the scene a romantic look, but it depresses colours and softens outlines.

What do you think is best, landscape or portrait format?

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