Tuesday, 6 January 2015

A Wee Bit Hill And Glen... And Other Places

It started well. Deciding to spend Christmas with friends in Scotland this year, it wasn't long before the sparkling wine flowed- in fact almost as soon as we got on the train; a day of long train journeys starting at 6am in the morning and ending ten hours later at 6pm at Mallaig in the West Highlands. However the journey from Glasgow to Mallaig on the West Highland line lived up to its name of being the most scenic railway journey in Britain. Arriving in the dark but waking up the next day in the delightful cottage we hired in the bustling little harbour town of Mallaig was nectar for the nerves, unwinding and breathing in the clear air.

Tyndrum Station on the West Coast Highland train line.

But I can remember the moment we heard the grim news. We were chugging our way through the most majestic scenery on the West Highland train on that first day of travelling when we heard snippets of information from fellow passengers - something about an incident involving injuries in George Square in Glasgow - followed soon by more detailed reports from the passengers gleaned from their Ipads - about fatalities and then talk of multiple deaths. We began to take real notice as we had crossed George Square that very same day to get our connection on Scot Rail to Mallaig at Queen Street Station. Only when we saw the news that evening after arriving at the cottage, did we realise just how lucky we had been. After reeling from  seeing the whole story emerge of the horrific lorry bin accident that resulted in the death of six pedestrians, we found out that we had walked down the same side of that street in George Square just two hours before the incident happened. You never know - sometimes life means being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or in our case, there but for the grace of.......

So not a great uplifting start to the Christmas break but we made the most of it packing a lot in during the four days we were there with day trips to Fort William,  a day long ferry trip to the isles of Canna, Rhum, Eigg and Muck, short walks over the hills around Mallaig and a wonderful Christmas Day walking in the sunshine and lazing around the cottage after a wonderful turkey dinner. Lucky with the weather too! Only one or two of the days we were there, the hills were covered by a blanket of cloud and rain. The rest was blue skies and snow on the mountain tops amongst spectacular scenery.  

 The isolated harbour town of Mallaig.

Leaving Mallaig harbour on a day ferry trip to the isles.

Shipwreck on the coast of Rhum.

Derelict building on the remote island of Canna.

The weather clouds in on Canna

Sunrise as the ferry leaves Mallaig

View of Knoydart from the ferry

Mountains of Knoydart

House on Mallaig hills

Derelict church amongst the hills of the West Coast

Knoydart - only accessible by boat or a 16 mile walk over tough terrain from Mallaig.

Overlooking the Mallaig lighthouse

The track over the hills of Mallaig and Knoydart beyond.

colourful building in Mallaig harbour
Ben Nevis range as a backdrop to the hamlet of Corpach just approaching Fort William

Locking horns - stags photographed from the window of a fast moving train.

 more stags photographed from a moving train on the West Highland line.

West Highland scenery
a wee bit o' hill and glen - West Highland scenery
Mallaig Harbour

Fishing boats in Mallaig harbour

Statue on Mallaig Harbour
West Highland landscape
rainbows end - Mallaig
'O Flower of Scotland
When we will we see your like again
that was fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again'
( from part of  Flower of Scotland - Scottish  (unofficial ) national anthem)
Back to reality and work after a great break but with good things to start the new year. The publication of my manager's latest book on Cassiobury: The Ancient Seat of the Earls of Essex, has sold really well so far.( Amazon £20 )  and has sold out in local shops in Watford. Commission from the book is being donated to charity.
one of my photos of Cassiobury Park in the book.

My photo of the Lone Cedar, the iconic image of the park
And it doesn't stop there. Paul's working on yet another book on the social history of Hyde Park, due out in Spring, in which I've contributed to again with many of my latest  photographs. Here are some from my Hyde Park project.

Hyde Park
Keeper of the shoes - watching over the footwear during a Shia Muslim prayer meeting - Hyde Park

 a resting roller skater in Hyde Park
Roller coaster ride at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Coot - Hyde Park
Dog Days! Hyde Park  
Bird Feeder - Hyde Park
Hungry Swan - Hyde Park
Roller skating  - Hyde Park
Canada Geese flying towards the Serpentine in Hyde Park
 a family day out in Hyde Park
Hyde Park Entrance
Fun at the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
The age of the Selfie  - Hyde Park
...everywhere you look !  Hyde Park
Hyde Park royalty
Horse Guards practise their parade - Hyde Park
Peek a boo!  Muslim prayers -  Hyde Park
The Serpentine - Hyde Park
An exciting time ahead; more books being published and I'm really excited as I've started my talks again about my life as a former photojournalist and will be kept busy with bookings throughout the year.
Happy New Year and Good Health.
(C) copyright to Deborah Anne Brady 2015