For its final fling in December, Jude’s Bench Series is “anything goes”. Last month, we escaped the Glasgow weather for a week in Bermuda and did lots of bench-spotting so I’m piling them all in at once.
I love the top picture so much that I’m currently using it as my Twitter and Facebook avatar. It’s from the City of Hamilton, as are the two below of Fort Hamilton and the waterfront.
City of Hamilton Waterfront
Outside Fort Scaur, John took a picture of me admiring the view in reasonable comfort. I snapped the one next to me to show that I’d definitely chosen the right bench.
Fort Scaur itself had a bench next to a very big gun!
This bench and cross are at Heydon Chapel, with another gorgeous view.
More broken benches at Parson’s Cove:
A stone bench at Crow Lane Park:
Contemplating the sea on the North Shore:
And, finally, Whale Bay where I loved the contrast of the emerald grass, the turquoise sea and the bench dividing the two.
There’ll be more on Bermuda in the New Year, but this is my final post of 2015. In the meantime, Season’s Greetings to you all however, whatever, and wherever you will be celebrating in the next couple of weeks. See you in 2016!
I had neither camera nor my photography expert with me when I went to see the Sensational Alex Harvey‘s bench in the Winter Gardens at Glasgow’s People’s Palace, so please forgive the iPad pictures. This is for Jude’s Bench Series – her November theme is benches with messages.
Alex gets two messages. First, the inscription on the back:
There’s also a plaque with his dates of birth and death, and a bust in the garden behind the bench.
Alex Harvey 1935-1982
Alex Harvey bust
Finally, before leaving the Gardens, I spotted this from George and Irene. Have a nice day!
After a family funeral in Inverness this summer, we made a very brief tour of the battlefield at Culloden. It suited our sombre mood. The bench above, with its Gaelic inscription, is dedicated as follows to Gordon Thom:
Around the bench were memorials to the fallen, on both sides.
This is Leanach Cottage. A cannon ball is said to have been recovered from its turf wall more than a century ago.
I’m linking this post to Jude’s Bench Series which, for November, is looking for benches with a message.
This month, Jude’s Bench Series is looking for benches with a message, of which we spotted several while on holiday. This one, for example, is at Inverewe, though I defy you to read the inscription from the picture. Even in close up, it’s hard to decipher. Don’t ask me about the Gaelic, but I think the English says “The clear, fresh air in a place so peaceful invites us anew to the shores of Loch Ewe”.
The next one is near Smoo Cave. Much easier to read! At Broch of Gurness, on Orkney, we came across this lovely memorial to Dr Olaf Cuthbert: “I leave few footprints on the sand for stormy seas to wash away. I take with me the breadth of sky and seas of unimaginable blue”.
Bench for Dr Olaf Cuthbert
I leave few footprints on the sand….
Finally, another memorial, this time to Ronnie Johnson, fisherman of Eshaness in Shetland.
In memory of Ronnie Johnson
I have one more bench from Shetland, but I’ll keep that for next time.
A sunny Sunday in September found us walking at Balloch Castle Country Park and Whinney Hill Wood. Jude’s Bench Series this month is looking for occupied benches and you’ll find several of those here, and I’m also linking to Jo’s Monday Walks. Check both blogs for a virtual exploration of the world, its walks and its benches.
Balloch Castle is an early 19th-century country house at the southern tip of Loch Lomond. It now looks rather neglected (see the weeds growing out of the clock-tower above) but its estate has fared better – it has been a country park since 1980 and part of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park since 2002. As we walked along, we saw the float plane from Glasgow landing in the loch and a fine display of fungi.
Float plane on Loch Lomond
Once past the castle, we struck off up a pathway to Whinney Hill Wood in search of a viewpoint over Loch Lomond. On the way, we came across a single-person bench – or is that just a seat? We were intrigued – only one person could have a rest at a time? Even stranger, we found another two at separate points en route. Why not just put them together so that people can be sociable? Anyway, here’s the first one both occupied and unoccupied.
Eventually, we reached the viewpoint:
However, the only way you could actually see the loch was from the handily placed bench. Now, Jude’s specification says occupied benches, which this certainly is, but the small print mentions seated, so will I get away with it? I was snapping John taking the view when he turned the camera on me.
Photographing Loch Lomond
After descending back into the park, we walked alongside the loch which I think gave better views than the viewpoint anyway.
The castle came back into sight from the other side …
… and we explored its walled garden. Oh no! An unoccupied bench!
Finally, we watched the Astina emerging from the River Leven to take its passengers for a sail on the Loch.
Having failed dismally to find anything for Jude’s colourful benches challenge last month, I knew I’d have better luck with September’s – metal benches. The High Viewpoint at Inverewe Gardens in Wester Ross has two fairly nondescript specimens – but the view makes up for their lack of attractiveness!
The photograph below wasn’t taken for the bench at all, but for the mural behind it. That’s the wall of the ticket office at Dirleton Castle – if you zoom in, you can read the notice at the right hand side:
The children of Dirleton Primary School’s 100 year wall painting of the village and castle.
On a cold day in May, our destination was Cairnpapple Hill in West Lothian – but first, as you know, lunch is essential. We happened upon this lovely little place, the Cupcake Café Bar, near Torpichen – we were very good and didn’t have a cake, but the lunch was delicious.
In the village itself, we made a further stop at Torpichen Preceptory, a former base of the powerful Knights Hospitallers and a seat of government for William Wallace in 1298.
Then it was on to Cairnpapple Hill. I can’t imagine why I have lived in Scotland for nearly 30 years and never visited this significant site. It’s just a short climb from the road to the once-sacred hilltop where people first raised monuments 5500 years ago. Today you can see a Neolithic henge, the site of a great timber circle and a Bronze Age cist grave (now protected by a modern, domed chamber which you climb into by ladder). The views stretch from one coast to the other – partly obliterated by approaching storms.
Bronze Age cist grave
Sunny but cold
Both Torpichen and Cairnpapple are managed by Historic Scotland where you can find out more about them.
We had intended to continue walking, but the weather prompted us to go a bit further by car, stopping at the Scottish Korean War Memorial – there was a memorial here already, apparently, but the current one (2013) is designed to be a permanent structure. It was sunny again when we arrived so we climbed the hill behind the monument, Witchcraig. On the hilltop is a Refuge Stone marking an old boundary where those on the run could seek sanctuary – it’s connected to Torpichen – and the Witchcraig Wall, an enclosure with 43 special stones built into it, collected from across Central Scotland. (See also the interesting three-way bench attached. Is this an exciting variation on the kissing-seat?)
Scottish Korean War Memorial
Scottish Korean War Memorial
Once again, you can see a rain storm approaching, and this time it caught us as we descended. Witchcraig is not a high hill, but we were drenched by the time we got back to the car. However, after driving just a little further, we decided to chance another short walk as it was dry again. (This happens in Scotland – it can have four seasons in one day, as I keep telling people.) Cockleroy Hill is small but perfectly formed for varied views – we could see Linlithgow Palace, the Forth Bridges, the refineries at Grangemouth and the mound at Cairnpapple.
Striding above Grangemouth
After that, it was time to head home. I’m linking this post to Jo’s Monday Walks (three short walks for the price of one) and Jude’s Bench Series, which for July is benches with unusual details. Click both links to see what other people have come up with.
The tumbling bridge and fallow field; Once deeply scarred by soot and steel; Now nature has crept back to heal
These lovely words run along the back of this unusual bench which sits alongside the River Earn near Crieff. (The path goes through a beautiful avenue of trees, parallel to an old railway embankment.) I’ve chosen them as my first entry in the 3 Day Quote Challenge. What is that, I hear you cry? Quite simple!
Post a quote for three consecutive days (one down, two to go).
Thank the person who nominated you. With pleasure! Thanks to La Sabrosona of my spanglish familia – laugh and cry, as I do, with her tales of a Mexican / Canadian family bilingual in Spanish and English.
Pass the challenge on to three more people. Hmm, as has been my recent practice, I’ll skip this bit and just say you are all nominated if you have quotes you want to share.
I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of the walk, the River Earn and Laggan Hill circuit. It starts and finishes at Glenturret Distillery, with its statue to the famous mouser, Towser. (As a bonus, the café here has recently been upgraded and serves an excellent lunch.)
We found more benches by the river (this one has an inscription about salmon leaping), and a sort of fairy house in a tree trunk!
Finally, the views from Laggan Hill are lovely:
Views from Laggan Hill
Views from Laggan Hill
I do believe I can enter this post in two more challenges! Jo’s Monday Walks and Jude’s Bench Series, which in July is looking for benches with unusual details. Bingo! Click on both links to see what other bloggers have been up to this week.
For Jo’s Monday Walk this week, I’m going to take you round Dunbar in East Lothian, affectionately known as Sunny Dunny (which it was). And look! Just below the Leisure Centre where we parked are some lovely benches overlooking Victoria Harbour. I hoped I could kill two birds with one stone and also enter Jude’s Bench Series. I had it in my head that she was looking for benches by the sea in May, but when I check more carefully it specifically says “at the beach”. No beach in view here, just the harbour! Hmm, maybe I’ll get away with it……
Anyway, click on the links above to find out more about both challenges and what other people have been writing about.
We didn’t linger on the benches, but headed uphill onto the High Street to start our walk there. Dunbar is famous for being the birthplace (in 1838) of John Muir who later emigrated to the USA and was instrumental in setting up the National Parks system. His house is still there and is now an excellent museum. Across the road is the Town House Museum and a statue of John Muir as a boy.
John Muir birthplace
John Muir statue
Town House Museum
After perusing the shops and cafes of the High Street, we headed downhill again, past the Volunteer Arms (does a good pub lunch) to Cromwell Harbour, which dates from the 16th century, and the Battery which was built in 1781 to defend the town from privateers.
Cromwell Harbour Monument
Next, we headed back over to Victoria Harbour which was built in the 1840s by blasting away some of the rocks the castle was built on. There’s not much left of the castle now, but it makes a nice home for a colony of kittiwakes.
Victoria Harbour and castle
We also discovered that Dunbar was home to the inventor of the ship’s propeller, Robert Wilson, though he didn’t get credit for it apparently.
Finally, it was time to climb back up to the car park, looking back at the castle and admiring the statue of girl and swan before we left.