A Mixed Bag This Week

A bit of a mixed bag this week for the challenge. It’s strange how we all interpret a theme differently but this is how I see security. Weston-super-Mare has some fantastically wide and long beaches but it has one major failing. The tide goes out such a long distance and after the sand ends horrible thick cloying mud is exposed, the low tide mark in Weston Bay is about 1 mile (1.6 km) from the seafront. Trust me you don’t want to walk into it. you sink quickly and can immediately be up to your knees. Now here’s the worrying part. The tide that went out so far comes back in at a really fast speed and it’s unforgiving. If you’re stuck in the mud, and each year people do, you’d better hope the Rescue Team get to you in time, because Weston-super-Mare has one of the highest tidal rises in the world as much as 48ft (14.5m).

So for people’s own security and safety there are signs all along the beach warning of the dangers of sinking mud, and yet they are often ignored.

Danger Sinking Mud

Still in Weston-super-Mare. Because of those fast, incoming tides it is all too easy to get caught out. Take a look at the photograph below. On the causeway between Knightstone Island and WSM the tide often surges over the top. Now Knightstone really isn’t an island anymore. There is a perfectly good road which loops round the sea-front and is not much longer than the causeway. So there’s no need to put yourself in danger by walking across when the tide is coming in. Remember, it’s a fast tide that rises a considerable height. Look at the little dog on the lead. it’s been turned around by the waves. At this point she was halfway across and fortunately she made it safely……..

Washed Away

……and here’s the same causeway on a wild and stormy night.

Stormy Night

Further along the coast is Uphill Beach. You can walk from WSM to Uphill and it’s a really nice walk with sand dunes and of course long sandy beaches. Here they have a similar problem with mud, but there’s also an additional problem on the beach – boy racers. You can drive on Uphill beach and often the idiots will come on and start tearing up and down at a fair old speed. Supposedly there is a speed limit of 15mph but they don’t pay attention to that. So there are signs warning beach goers about the mud and speeding cars.. The local farmer makes a small amount of money each year towing cars out of the mud before the tide comes in. I’ve even towed a family car out that got stuck in soft sand.

Uphill Beach

I took this photograph a long time ago and it’s an old lighthouse at Burnham-on-Sea. further along the coast from WSM. Since I took this the steps have been repaired but it’s a long time since I’ve been to Burnham- so I can’t really say if the lighthouse is still in good repair.

The Tower

Although they have weapons, I think these guards are more for show than anything else. This is a popular tourist spot – Prague Castle.

On Guard

Anyway that’s it for this week and like I said a bit of a mixed bag which hopefully convey some meaning around security.

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

Margaretakirken – artishorseshit
By Tram, Escalator and Ferry- Hong Konging it – psychologistmimi
phoetryartwrasana Catalyst
This is Another Story A Special Necklace
Hot Dogs and Marmalade New Use for an iPod
This, that and the other thing Weekly Photo Challenge- Security…the One
Half a photograph Security
Weekly Photo Challenge- Security – nancy merrill photography
Weekly Photo Challenge. Security. – The Digital Teacup
Photography Journal Blog Weekly Photo Challenge- Security

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons

Goodness me! I’m early. For weeks I have been completing the challenge post late on a Friday afternoon but this week I finally have some time to get on with it. So here goes. Spring is my favourite time of the year, more so than summer so let’s start with a nice Spring photograph.

Field of Daffodils

Daffodils are grown around here in abundance. The first time I saw this and many other fields like this I thought they were for St David’s day. He’s the patron saint of Wales and it’s traditional for many Welsh people to wear one or both of the National symbols of Wales to celebrate St. David: the daffodil (a generic Welsh symbol) or the leek (Saint David’s personal symbol) on this day. But when I looked into it I found out the daffodils are grown to be used in Medical Research and modern uses include extracting galantamine from the bulbs to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Still in spring mode I’m now going to take you to the North Cornwall Coastal Path, 141 miles (227 km) of rugged walks many of which are along cliffs. The views are stunning and throw in the start of sunset. what more could you ask for.

Spring Flowers

Staying on the coast but back in North Wales. We have some great cliff walks as well but in my neck of the woods it more flat beaches and sand dunes. Great for summer and we are in the right position that during summer our sunsets are out to sea.

Sunset at Prestatyn Beach

Ever since i moved to North Wales we have had an annual air show during the summer. This year it could be in doubt due to new “elfin safety” regulations which have been imposed on air shows held in the UK.

Red Arrows

Autumn is probably my second favourite season. As the colours start to turn in the trees we get amazing reds and oranges to photograph. It looks so peaceful in the photograph below but earlier this year that river burst it’s banks and flooded that cottage causing a lot of damage.

Cottage in Llanwrst by the side of the Afon Conwy - Photograph ny Mike Hardisty.jpg

Further up-stream the river flows quite slowly giving some great reflections of the autumn colours that we can see in the trees.

Autumn Colours

Winter in the Ogwen Valley, well in this case Nant Ffrancon just below the Ogwen Valley. You can always guarantee to get some snow here, which forces the ponies down from the upper levels to near the roadside. If you are lucky enough to see them you can usually approach slowly. Don’t startle them, approach side on, that’s where a horse or pony sees best. A horse has a sort of blind spot right in front of it’s nose.

Wild Ponies

OK! Ogwen valley this time and a frozen Llyn Ogwen with Tryfan in the background. An easy spot to photograph as the main road runs along side the lake and there’s a car-park about 50 metres behind me. That’s if you can get it in, as it can often be full, especially at weekends.

Llyn Ogwen

Well that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the photographs, and as usual, here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge;

Some Photoblog Seasons
by marion A little touch of spring
There is a season – turn, turn, turn – TRAVEL WORDS
He Feeds The Birds This is Winter Where We Live
The Shady Tree WPC- Seasons
The Photographer Smiled… Tree on ice
Frozen Leaf – ChadLynn Photography
HIP Photos Seasons
Michelle Lunato Photography Season. Time to Love
Sara Zancotti Seasons

Loch Lomond…and the Drovers Inn

The Drovers Inn at Loch Lomond is situated at  Inverarnan, by Ardlui. It’s a travel institution, world famous and a must for anyone visiting Loch Lomond or walking the West Highland Way. The  Inn was built in 1705 and was used by the Highland drovers who would drive their cattle down the side of Loch Lomond to the markets. The decor and furniture, in deference to the past, look as though they have not been changed or altered for a couple of hundred years.

As you enter the reception hall you are faced by a full grown, stuffed grizzly bear, an assortment of other animals and the assured feeling that this place is going to stay in your consciousness for a long time to come…and it does.

I can still remember walking into the bar and being served by an Australian in a full kilt, sporran, long white socks and tackety boots.

Yep! an Australian, in fact most of the staff on that day where Aussies. It just seemed so funny, in the heart of Rob Roy country and I’m being served by an Australian.

Still I suppose there is a connection (Drovers Inn = Sheep = Aussies). Have to say the food was excellent as was the beer that day……and no Fosters either.

After a good meal I decided to take a walk down to the river behind the Drovers Inn. To get there you have to climb a wooden fence but the photo opportunity is quite good and it’s a nice peaceful walk

In parts the river is quite deep, probably about 4-5 feet and the water was icy cold, however I could walk along the bank quite safely as there was a well defined path.

 

Within Scotland’s first national park, Loch Lomond is the UK’s largest freshwater expanse and one of its most picturesque. The Park extends into the Trossachs where you’ll find wild glens, sparkling lochs and the pretty towns of Callander and Aberfoyle, which are useful bases for walkers to this area. As a child I would visit Loch Lomond a lot with my father and have walked up Ben Lomond several times.

Ben Lomond, or in Scottish Gaelic: Beinn Laomainn,(‘Beacon Mountain) is  974 metres (3,196 ft) high. It has a distinctive shape and is situated on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, lying within the Ben Lomond National Memorial Park and the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, property of the National Trust for Scotland.

Its accessibility from Glasgow and elsewhere in central Scotland, together with the relative ease of ascent from Rowardennan, makes it one of the most popular of all the Munros. On a clear day, it is visible from the higher grounds of Glasgow and eastwards across the low-lying central valley of Scotland; this may have led to it being named ‘Beacon Mountain’, as with the equally far-seen Lomond Hills in Fife. Ben Lomond summit can also be seen from Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Britain, over 70 miles (110 km) away. The West Highland Way runs along the western base of the mountain, by the loch. Ben Lomond’s popularity in Scotland has resulted in several namesakes in the former British colonies of Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The mountain is mentioned directly in the popular folk song The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond or in Scottish Gaelic, Loch Laomainn) is a freshwater Scottish loch. It is the largest loch/lake in Great Britain, by surface area, and contains many islands, including Inchmurrin, the largest fresh water island in the British Isles. It is a popular leisure destination and is featured in the song “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond”.

The main arterial route along the loch is the A82 road which runs the length of its western shore. For a long time this was a notorious bottleneck, with the route clogged with tourists during the summer months. It was upgraded in the 1980s and 1990s, although the stretch north of Tarbet remains unimproved. It is the A82 that you need to take to reach the Drovers Inn.

Loch Lomond is cold most of the year but on a hot day a bit of a paddle on the shore-side is always welcome……..

…especially when you are a “hot-dog” with a thick coat.

On my travels along the shores of Loch Lomond I found this house situated just of the “Old Luss Road”. It was set in beautiful parkland but totally destroyed by fire and only the shell of the main building survives

Should you venture here be very careful. The insides are extremely dangerous and I wouldn’t trust walking on any surface inside the building, especially as they have been ravaged by fire

Walking through the grounds of this old house I came across some interesting out-buildings but once again I would be very careful. At one point I almost fell down an open drain/sewer. (842-617772)

There were several buildings like this dotted around the main house, all in the same state of disrepair. I did try and find out what had happened but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information available.

Continuing back down to the lochside you can find Lomond Shores which opened its doors to the public in 2002. It is on the southern most tip of Loch Lomond, reached by taking the Balloch cut off on the A82. It is a shopping, food and visual complex, complete with a Jenners of Edinburgh store and a Thornton’s amongst other retailers. An aquariam has taken over the impressive Dumkinnon Tower building which resembles an ancient fort. There are a selection of restaurants and coffee shops at the Loch Lomond Shores Complex with views of the loch and nearby Ben Lomond. Apart from a number of big events that are advertised on the Loch Lomond Shores website, every second Sunday there is a Farmers Market along the promenade of the Loch Lomond Shores Complex and this is always very popular.

No visit to Loch Lomond would be complete without going to see the “Maid of the Loch”. 

The Maid is the last paddle steamer built in Britain and the last in a long line of paddle steamers on the loch, dating back to 1818. In 2004, she officially became an historic ship, being placed on the UK “Designated Vessels List” which recognizes vessels of “substantial heritage merit with regional and local significance”. Built by A&J Inglis of Pointhouse, Glasgow. She is by far the largest steamer to ever sail on the loch, so was erected at their yard on the Clyde, dismantled, and transported to Loch Lomond. She was re-assembled on the slipway at Balloch, launched on 5th March 1953, and entered service on 25th May that same year (also Queen Elizabeth II Coronation year and the year the Royal Yacht Britannia was launched.)

I’d like to leave you with a final look at Loch Lomond taken just as the sun was beginning to set on a reaonably still evening when I was bitten to glory by the infamous “Scottish Midgies”. C’mon guys I’m Scottish, you’re not supposed to be biting me……. 

All HDR images created with SNS-HDR Pro