Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Crosshill

September 22, 2016

From my childhood home in Ifield in Sussex to a village called Crosshill in Ayrshire, Scotland is  a road journey of 435 miles which the Automobile Association estimate would take seven and a quarter hours of continuous driving. Yet my childhood home was called Crosshill and was named after this village. My home was one of a pair of semi-detached homes. The other was called Straiton and that is named after the neighbouring village to Crosshill.

When returning home from a recent holiday in Scotland there was an opportunity to visit Crosshill in Ayrshire and see just what my old home had been named after.

Like many a Scottish village it is quite an attractive place.

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Here we have some of the main street and just opposite here there is a Post Office and store where I was allowed to copy an old photo they had hanging up.image004This photo, to judge by the car, dates from my childhood era.

We also had it pointed out to us where we could see more photos from the past.

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The square had a war memorial and of course, it still does.

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This is King Street in 1913 – a dozen or so years after my home was built.image010A similar view now.

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And this was my childhood home – the right half of the pair. The left half is Straiton.

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Magpie Mine

September 20, 2016

Magpie Mine is a former lead mine near Sheldon in the Peak District of Derbyshire. We came on it rather by chance when avoiding heavy traffic in the Bakewell area. This was back in October 2008.

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This is one of the best preserved mines in Derbyshire – some restoration has been carried out. It almost looks Cornish.

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Apparently there are guided tours but with no one about we took an unguided one.

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It was beginning to look quite stormy.

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In fact it was distinctly gloomy. But cameras can fight the gloom and make it look pretty cheerful.

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There were remnants of the old mine everywhere.

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Here we have a winder, a stack and the cottage at the mine.

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A view through an arch in the old mine building.

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Another winder.

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Magpie Mine in its setting.

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But just what is this?

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The Shout

September 19, 2016

When we holidayed in Scotland we called in at Tighnabruaich each evening because I could get internet access there and could send and receive messages. Our chosen spot was by the lifeboat station which meant we were there when the lifeboat was called out. It’s an inshore type. It was darkening as dusk turned to twilight.

I was sitting in the car when I became aware that the lifeboat was being hauled out.

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It was pushed into the water on a cradle behind a special tractor.

image006Once in the water the engine was started.

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The lifeboat set off.

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As it set up its wake it nearly created the need for another rescue.

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That floating pontoon really did the rock and roll but the photographer out on it somehow managed not to fall into the briny.

We saw the boat return, rather more sedately, when we were back at our holiday home in Kames.

The next day we visited the shop at the lifeboat station and learned what had happened. A boat described as a dinghy had suffered engine failure off the island of Inchmarnock. The sailor had installed his reserve engine which didn’t start. As he was drifting and without power he called for help and was safely rescued. He had called at the lifeboat station earlier that next day and, we were told, put a good contribution in the box

How lucky we are to have volunteers willing to ride out and effect rescues

 

The Peak District

September 17, 2016

I like the Peak District so it was with pleasure that I turned my railway poster calendar to September and found a picture of this Derbyshire (mostly) area.

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This poster, for the old London, Midland and Scottish Railway was first published in 1923 with art work by R S Wyatt

It features a viaduct with a train in LMS red passing over it.

I suspect this represents the viaduct at Monsal Head – now a walking/cycling trail. I snapped a photo of it in 2008 when I was in the area.

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I note from what I wrote at the time that I was unwilling to pay to park near there so was unable to get a good photo but I can certainly find photos of elsewhere on the Monsal Trail.

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The Monsal Trail is clearly a former railway – once part of the third way between London and Scotland.

On the Waverley

September 16, 2016

The paddle steamer Waverley has featured before on this blog for I have seen this lovely ship in various locations. However, at the end of July in 2016 we stayed in a location that was close to Waverley sailing routes. And, what’s more they were in Waverley’s Clyde area homeland for this venerable vessel had been built to take Glaswegians ‘doon the watter’ to places where they could enjoy sun sea and air. Our plan was to catch the boat at Dunoon for a tour of Loch Long.

Annoyingly, for me, it was not possible to keep tickets. I did take a photograph, though.

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And so it was that we joined a queue of at least 250 people all boarding at Dunoon. It looked a lot, but somehow once on they seemed to thin out. It didn’t feel crowded.

But first let’s see the wonderful paddle steamer arrive.

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On board it was really rather elegant. There was a café with Lloyd Loom furniture.

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There was plenty of space on the open decks.

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But for me it was the engine room that made it.

At the control panel.

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The engine itself.

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You can click here to see and hear the engine at work.

Or click here for a second film of the engine.

The scenery was as lovely as you’d expect. With a loch side castle at Carrick on Loch Goil as an end point.

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Then back to Dunoon where we left this delightful boat to sail off – it ought to be into a sunset, but the weather wasn’t that kind.

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Cotswold Summer

September 12, 2016

A couple of days ago I wrote about going to lesser known places. Bourton on the Water, in the Cotswolds, isn’t one of them. It’s a trippers honeypot and throngs with people. We were there for a visit in connection with a granddaughter back in August. It was a very hot day.

We met up with granddaughter at the model village. I was never well placed for photographing my people but I could take some of the village.

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This group were posing for a photo taken by someone else. They were nothing to do with me, but were very cheerful and friendly.

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It was out in the full sized village that the crowds became clear to us.

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The world was thick with people trying to keep cool. And this photo has captured the village sign.

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It isn’t my first choice to be in crowds like these were, but it is an experience and it is lovely to see happy people all around.

Kilchattan

September 10, 2016

Kilchattan

Regular readers may have gathered that I rather like going to lesser known places and lesser visited places. Kilchattan is close to the south east end of the Isle of Bute. It has probably fallen off the bulk tourist trail these days. It felt a homely sort of a place. What caught the eye straight away was a marine weather vane.

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Now I found that absolutely charming. That’s a Clyde puffer used as a vane. It looks as though we had a North wind, but it was gentle and certainly not particularly chilling. And a bit later a latter day equivalent of the puffer passed, on its way up into the Clyde.

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The vane was by a small jetty with gentle grassland reaching down to the shoreline.

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Here’s a part of the coastal village – pastoral and very pleasing is how I judge it.

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Despite the rural loveliness, the folks at Kilchattan clearly thought international.

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Kilchattan Bay – popular with visitors for 7000 (yes, seven thousand) years.

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The train journey to Weymouth

September 8, 2016

No train journey, for us, starts without a road journey first. We drove to Westbury to catch the Weymouth train which left more or less on 9.30.

The fare is bargain basement in terms of cost for us oldies. On this line if you show your bus pass at the ticket office then you get a third off. It comes out at £11 for a return ticket.

The train was quite full but we found a pair of seats at a table and the couple already there were friendly.

A lot more people got on at Frome, more again at Bruton and yet more at Castle Cary. People were now standing in the gangway and sitting on the floor at carriage ends. This was about the time Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader, had a journey involving some floor sitting.

At Yeovil a huge crowd got on. There was not an inch of space anywhere. It really was sardine conditions. The standing passengers were jammed in. The train guard or conductor had great difficulty getting space for himself having ensured all was safe. I’d love to have taken a photo but I had put my bag on the luggage rack and there was no space for me to stand in a position to retrieve it. The flask of coffee we’d planned to drink, similarly, was up there in the rack and unreachable.

Worse was to come for some folks. After Yeovil there are three small stations which are request stops. Waiting passengers have to hail the train, rather like hailing a bus. Each of the stations at Thornford, Yetminster and Chetnole had waiting passengers. At each station the train stopped and the guard (or conductor) emerged on to the platform to inform the waiting people they could not get on the train. Chetnole, a real wayside place, had just a family of four, with kids clutching buckets and spades for the seaside. We could see the eyes of one little lad well up with tears when told he couldn’t go. The next train followed an hour afterwards.

I have to say the good humour on the train was commendable. It wasn’t a comfortable journey for the standees, in particular but they remained jovial. My sympathies were with our train guard. He was unable to walk up and down the train and as many of the stations are unmanned many will have made the journey without a ticket. And how awful to have to tell people they couldn’t board. He managed it all with aplomb. The simple truth was that the train – a nice enough train – just didn’t have the capacity needed.

Our return journey was not as crowded but people were still standing in the corridor and sitting on the floor in carriage ends. This time I kept my camera. I don’t have a good photo because I had to hold the camera at arm’s length and the train was rocking and rolling a bit.

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For this journey, I’ll criticise the train as well as the Great Western company for not providing enough seats. This was one of the horrid class 155 sprinters. They seat 5 across and have a narrow gangway. The seats are virtually all facing the same way – not in groups round a table. There is insufficient legroom for me and I’m not that big. I have to sit in a gangway seat so my knees and feet can be twisted around into the gangway. In my opinion these trains are not suited to lengthy journeys. It’s about an hour and a half from Weymouth to Westbury and this train was going on to Gloucester. They are not air conditioned and whilst OK when moving, for fresh air came in through open windows, when stationary they soon overheat when overcrowded.

These are surely not conditions for passengers which the so called Great Western company can be proud of. I was OK but I do wonder what arrangements were made to compensate people not able to even board the train they hoped to get. And will the guards/conductors get a bonus for having to cope with near impossible conditions and doing it with a smile? They deserve it.

Summer at Weymouth

September 7, 2016

My wife’s birthday corresponded with one of the warm weather days in August. We took the train down to Weymouth to enjoy a seaside day.

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The place was heaving with people. Weymouth looked like the photos of summer beaches that newspapers used to publish back in the 1950s.

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Now if you are one of the travelling folk who go to remote places you might hate this sight. I prefer quiet and peaceful myself, but here we had thousands of people just enjoying sun, sea and sand. And, hopefully, some of them bought things and put some money into Weymouth’s coffers.

It looks a merry, happy throng.

Weymouth seems to have traditional entertainments. There is a Punch and Jud

That’s a grand puppet theatre.

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I used to love swingboats and there they were on Weymouth beach.

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There’s a helter-skelter.

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And of course there are donkey rides seen here with a new attraction beyond – the Jurassic Skyline.

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There’s even a simple beach crazy golf.

Actually, these attractions were not doing a roaring trade as we passed. But then maybe many folks were having lunch.

It was definitely an experience and tomorrow I’ll describe rail journeys which, for many were not such a good experience.

 

The Bute Sheep

September 5, 2016

Now how could anyone resist this gorgeous beast we saw when walking on the west coast of the Isle of Bute in Scotland? We were to the north of Ettrick Bay.

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Actually, how could anyone resist the whole scene? Yes, the ram is a singularly handsome brute and he was one of several. But the green and the trees were a delight as well. But it had to be worth a bit of patience to get a closer view of one of the rams.

After a few not so good attempts I finally snapped this one.

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The horns are spectacular although they may make things hard for the ram. Where are his eyes? They are hidden behind his horns. I love the nonchalant way he has one stalk of ‘grass’ in his mouth. It’s a bit like a traditional cartoon of a straw sucking country bumpkin. I think he’s a Scottish blackface. I thought it was worth going to Bute just to see him.