Saturday, 1 August 2015

Crossraguel.

OK, the pics from my last post were from the walled garden at Culzean. If a sunny day is forcast then we're off and away - there have been relatively few sunny days these holidays so we try to make the most of what we get. This particular day (Wednesday last week), we headed down to Ayrshire. First we visited Crossraguel Abbey, then Culzean then Dunure. As I took so many photos (no surprises there!) I'll split the visit into several posts, this one concerns Crossraguel Abbey "one of the best preserved , most varied and most interesting of the many abbey reuins that are dotted across Scotland".

Earliest records of the abbey date from 1215. One macabre story relating to the abbey occurred in 1569. By this time the Reformation (in 1560) meant that the abbey was no longer an active religious community and a comendant had been assigned by the Crown to oversee the land and property owned by the abbey. In 1569 this commendant was forced to sign over the abbey, its lands and revenues to Gilbert Kennedy, the 4th Earl of Cassilis, his agreement to do so was obtained only because the Earl kidnapped him and had him roasted over a fire at Dunure Castle.

I'd passed the abbey before but had never visited. I hadn't realised there was so much to see, it's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area (and like ruins!). There's a tower you can climb for some lovely views and there are so many passageways and hidden nooks to explore which the children enjoyed too. The steward was very friendly and chatty. We somehow got on the subject of medieval/renasissance music, it turns out his son has recored a couple of films of him playing the gittern which he has uploaded to YouTube. I don't want to link directly, just search for Crossraguel performance on YouTube and you'll find the videos. Worth a listen, very atmospheric - the acoutics of parts of the abbey are amazing (especially if you find your way to the room where you can have a shot at carving stone, we were singing away in there!) I'd rather like a gittern now, they look and sound very attractive - I wonder if I could tune it like my uke!

Anyway, here are the photos...






















Thursday, 30 July 2015

Flower Power.

Yesterday was just one of those beautiful days and these photos were among my favourite photos of the day. Can you guess one of the places we were visiting? I love the vibrant, bright, happy colours of the wild flowers in the first three images. More to come...







Sunday, 26 July 2015

Beautiful Bute.

Sunny and sparkly photos from a trip to the Isle of Bute yesterday (Saturday).

We caught the ferry by the skin of our teeth due to parking issues yet again (there's a car park opposite the church a hundred yards or so south of the ferry terminal which is useful to know about (though not for use on a Sunday!)).

The crossing was amazing. I hadn't been to Bute for a few years and it's definitely the best crossing of the ones we've done more recently (Arran and Cumbrae). There were fantastic views to all sides and it was lovely to see the yachts bobbing about in the sun. The cloud formations were pretty fabulous too.












We'd taken the bikes and had planned to do a short loop involving visits to two beaches on the west of the island. Although Bute is not a moutainous island, there is a hill to climb and descend in order to get to the far side if taking the shortest route. It was a little too much for N. We made it to one of the beaches with a lot of help from hubby who practically pushed N the whole way up the hill. After time at the beach we just went straight back the way we came. I always feel I've never explored Bute properly. I'd like to come back on my own sometime and get right round the island properly (along with my camera, of course!)







This was the last section of the path to the beach. I thought it looked lovely with A cycling ahead. It was only after I'd taken the photo that I realised I'd actually managed to capture her falling off her bike! She was fine.






A picnic at beautiful St Ninian's Bay and a short wander/play (I wish I'd taken a longer wander myself), then back to Rothesay. For some reason it was a lot easier going back than it had been coming and took a lot less time. After ice cream and a fish supper (in that order!) and a sighting of the very busy Waverley ("the last sea going paddle steamer in the world") in Rothesay, it was time to make the crossing back to the mainland.









Of course, the fantastic weather helped. It's not been a great summer weather-wise so we were determined to make the best of what we had. A week of sunny, summery, warm weather would be lovely please, before school starts back (we've two weeks of school holidays left, aaargh!).

Anyway, here's a map showing the various Clyde ferry routes. Having these so close to home is one of the good things about living here. Somehow it's just magical to get on a ferry and cross to an island for the day. We're spoiled for choice really. Cycling-wise, Cumbrae would have been a better choice for us today. You can cycle right round the island, the distance in doing that is only about 10 miles and it is very flat, N would have managed it fine. Next time!


And finally, I hope I didn't come across as too much of an Instagram fan in my last post. I actually wish it didn't exist! I'd much prefer it if everyone there were back blogging or using Flickr to share photos. I like to take photos with a proper camera not my phone. I don't have time to take and post pictures with both. However, Instagram is there and it's very popular and there's nothing I can do about it. "Nothing endures but change" as they say...

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