Friday, 15 August 2014

Journey's End

Lewis Castle has commanding views across the waterfront at Stornoway
Stornoway is the capital of the Outer Hebrides on the east coast of Lewis. The town's true beginnings are now lost in the mists of time, but it is known that it was founded by Vikings in the early C9 under the norse name Stjórnavágr. You feel as if you are well on your way to the top of the world, next stop north across the ocean being the Faroe Islands, Iceland, then Greenland.
Harbour reflections

A bronze statue of a herring seller on Stornoway waterfront  
The island women will vote "YES" to independence. I respect their choice but personally, I am hoping the majority vote is "NO" - it would feel like a bereavement in the UK family. Scotland is a part of my life, it is where we lived for several years, and where my eldest son and youngest granddaughter were both born. Now, however, that I have travelled to these far distant islands, I do appreciate just how remote from London they are. Indeed, they are also a very long way from Edinburgh as this journey back reveals.
But what's this notice in the window upstairs? - it seems not all islanders agree - "UK OK better together - A stronger Scotland, a United Kingdom"
Gaelic street names
Colourful fishing nets drying in the sun
The ferry has arrived, and
the end of our eight island adventure. So it's farewell to this beautiful archipelago of islands formed in the Precambrian period some three billion years ago
The journey takes almost three hours back to Ullapool on the Scottish mainland
On the return journey we saw dolphins, porpoises, guillemots, cormorants and a huge variety of seabirds flying overhead - some people also spotted cute little puffins
An overnight stay near the pretty packhorse bridge in the Cairngorms, a familiar spot if you follow this blog, and then a final journey down through Perthshire
 a walk along the riverbank, then over the River Tummel back into Pitlochry
More than 5000 Atlantic salmon swim up this river each year where they negotiate a salmon ladder installed by the Scottish Hydro Electric scheme to enable them to spawn higher up the river
Salmon Ladder
next stop Edinburgh, and a quick plane ride home 

54 comments:

  1. Lovely images to finish your trip to the island, Rosemary. Stornoway appears to be sunny and bright, with those yellow striped sails adding cheer. Because of its name I always envisage it as 'stormy'. Your harbour reflections shot is a triumph, quite like 'Impression: Sunrise', but better! The packhorse bridge is so pretty, but also so interesting, as the arch looks too steep to climb over. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. I loved it.

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    1. The packhorse bridge was built to enable the Highlanders to cross the river with coffins to shorten the distance in carrying them to the church. However, can you imagine negotiating that steep little bridge with a coffin?

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  2. Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures of your journey. That Gealic I have seen in Ireland, didn't understand a bit of it. Must be like dutch for foreign people here...

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    1. An ancient celtic language, it is surprising to an outsider how many people do still talk Gaelic, shared as you mention, by the Irish too.

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  3. What a sweet place you visited. I do like the reflection photos. Lovely scenery and I do love that arched bridge, have seen it before on your blog.

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    1. Thank you Margaret - I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing Stornoway, and the arched bridge once again.

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  4. The reflections in your 4th picture are just amazing, it looks more like a painting than a photograph it is so beautiful. I love the packhorse bridge as well, it is an amazing shape! Just wonderful! xx

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    1. Amy, my artistic son said exactly the same thing about the reflections in the water. It was perhaps because it was such a calm day with brilliant sunlight. When it is sunny in the Hebrides it is very sunny.

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  5. I have thoroughly enjoyed your Hebridian posts, I think it will be a difficult choice for the people of Scotland to make next month.

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    1. If they chose YES, then it is going to make a huge difference to us all - there will be lots of knock on effects that could impact on us all.

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  6. What has surprised me about Stornoway is seeing all the trees.. such a contrast to other parts of the Hebrides? It looks as if it should be a lot further south. Oh I shall just have to go, no doubt about it.

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    1. I had assumed that it might be because trees do not grow on the Hebrides very well, but the great forest around Stornoway dispels that myth.
      The forest was planted in the 19th century by Sir James and Lady Matheson, and it features a very mixed variety of trees including Monkey Puzzle Trees, Cedar of Lebanon, and many native Scottish trees species such as Beech, Birch, Alder and Elm.

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  7. What a beautiful place! I just love it! Your pictures are stunning and it´s always a pleasure to follow you on your trips Rosemary...
    Have a lovely weekend and take care,
    Titti

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    1. Thank you Titti - so pleased that you enjoyed seeing this remote area of Scotland - a trip that will linger in our memories - Hope the weekend is happy for you too♡

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  8. Great serie about the Hebrides. Love the statue of the herring seller and the little puffing, but the colourful fishing nets and the harbour reflections in the water make this a sparkling post.

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    1. Thank you - I think that the colours are intense because of the very bright clear sunlight and the air being perfectly calm.

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  9. Every shot is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. I appreciate your generous comment Valerie - thank you

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  10. Another beautiful post, Rosemary.
    I smiled at the name Pitlochry. My youngest sister is in Scotland this week, from Montreal. On the street in Pitlochry she saw a boy with bright red hair - not a rarity, there was something familiar. She asked 'are you Innes A_? It was our young cousin from Maui, in Scotland for the World's in Glasgow, and on a group day-trip. I think that our mutual great-grandfather, Red Alec, would have been happy and may have had a hand in the meeting!

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    1. Scotland, as you will know, is home to the most 'redheads' in Europe, and has the highest proportion, 13% of the population, according to Wiki.
      That was a happy meeting for your sister - Pitlochry is a delightful little town where you can pick up all the tackle to go hunting, shooting and fishing and buy some tartan too.

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  11. I have thoroughly enjoyed taking this trip with you - having never been any further north than Yorkshire (except once on a school trip to the Trossachs) it has been a beautiful experience. I love the photos of the reflections on the water - almost like an abstract painting. I can understand why you love the islands so much. Each post has been a delight.

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    1. I am pleased that you have enjoyed seeing our journey through the Outer Hebrides - there is something special about the colours in Scotland - I love to see the varying shades of blue that the mountains show depending on time of day and weather conditions from navy blue to palest blue.

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  12. You have travelled far in Scotland Rosemary.
    I have often wondered, what those far away Islands look like.
    I have enjoyed following you to these remote areas of Scotland.
    The sea looks so peaceful.
    Many years ago, my dear BIL used to go fishing up to those islands. He loved it and returned for some years.
    I can imagine eating the most freshest of fish up there. Salmon at the top of the menu.
    The scenery is stunning.
    love the puffin.what a beautiful bird.
    The bright colored fish nets and the reflections of the yachts masts on the water. A perfect painting!!!
    Enjoy your next stops.. look forward to reading about your travels.
    happy weekend Val

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    1. Dear Val - This remote corner of the world is very scenic and quiet. A very peaceful and lovely place in which to recharge the batteries.
      Hope all is well with you.

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  13. Dear Rosemary,
    just coming back from a (stormy and rainy) holiday on the island Sylt (beautiful evenn in storm and rain...) Thank you for your perfect photos!

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    1. Hello Britta - I am not familiar with the island of Sylt - I have looked on the map and see that it is quite near to Denmark and looks as if it is what we call a sand spit! - a landform found just off coasts which are predominately sand. Glad you had a lovely time, and hope you have some photos to show.

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  14. Oh I have enjoyed this post, reminding me of all our lovely holidays in Scotland years ago. That puffin image is stunning.

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    1. Thank you Suzie - so pleased that this brought back memories of your own holidays in Scotland - once visited the beautiful scenery in Scotland gets under your skin.

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  15. Dear Rosemary,

    I'll be following along in September to see how the Scottish vote goes. I agree with you that it would be a shame to see a break in the unity. Interestingly, there are puffins in Nova Scotia as well as Scotland. I looked for them when I traveled up there, but had to settle for a fridge magnet instead.

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    1. Dear Mark - The Puffins come to Scotland and England to breed. They like high rocky cliffs with grassy mounds on top so that they can burrow down like rabbits to make their nests. They are comical little birds and much loved. They arrive on our shores during April, and are just heading off back to sea again now until their return next year.

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    2. Are you saying that the puffins migrate from Nova Scotia to Scotland?

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    3. No, Puffins are sea birds and only come inland to mate and breed, the ones from our country head off until next Spring to the Bay of Biscay near Spain. I don't know where the ones from Nova Scotia head off to, but somewhere out at sea where they ride the waves, fishing, swimming and flying. They brave all types of rough weather out at sea, often with dire consequences, until the next breeding season.

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  16. amazing pictures and impressions ♥

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    1. Thank you for visiting Honey and for your kind comment.

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  17. You've been on some wonderful trips this year, Rosemary, but I sense this recent one was very special. Thank you, as always, for sharing so many beautiful photos and for the interesting information.

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    1. Dear Linda - I think that this visit has given me a different perspective on our country and I do hope that Scotland stays within the family - now I would like to see the Shetlands Islands.

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  18. I have only been on the Scottish mainland, and now I see there are so many other places to put on my list. Very well done, thank you!

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    1. Visting the Scottish Isles is a very unique experience, something once done, never forgotten.

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  19. Dear Rosemary,

    Absolutely fantastic pictures and I can't get enough of scrolling up and down looking at them. We've so often talked about going to Scotland and now after been seeing your lovely pictures I'm even more sure that a trip to Scotland is a must. So beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing Rosemary.

    I would also want to thank you for your sweet comments on my blog. They warm my heart and I'm so glad you found your way to my blog so I could find my way to your lovely blog.

    Take care!

    Charlie
    xx

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    1. Dear Charlie - Thank you for your very kind comment and visit.
      I do hope that you can make the journey to Scotland at sometime in the future. It is quite a unique place to visit with its own particular colouring on the mountain - it must be something to do with the very clear atmosphere that makes them such wonderful shades of blue along with the swathes of heather when in flower.

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  20. Beautiful photographs and you were obviously blessed with marvellous weather.
    I am hoping that Scotland and England will remain united. My mother was a Scot and I have Scottish cousins, I don't wish us to be in different countries!

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    1. Thank you for your visit Rosemary - since our return, and having watched the weather maps, I think we were extremely fortunate - we had no need for any jackets or umbrellas during our trip.
      I am sure that Scotland will remain united with us, anyway it is surely in their best interests to do so.

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  21. Hello, Rosemary, I’m back from Obon holiday. I like seaside towns or fishing villages where I can hear the sound of waves and feel salty air: I think the atmosphere is almost the same to the Japanese counterparts but the colorful nets and the architectures tell me it is a Scottish island. I also like waterfront reflections, your reflections photos are superb. Perhaps this trip to the isles of Scotland is the best of my favorites of your travels. In the previous post, the decaying dry-stone wall and wooden door appealed to me aesthetically. I can’t pin down why it is so but there’s something similar in Scotland and Japan, like the beauty of rustic simplicity.

    Yoko

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    1. Hello Yoko - Our trip to the Scottish Outer Hebrides Islands was a very memorable trip for us both. It has helped to put our country into a more rounded perspective now that we have been there and experience how life is in this remote region.

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  22. Super serie pictures. Love the boats and the colored picture.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Thank you and glad that you enjoyed seeing them.

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  23. Lovely images, but I really love this funny bird !

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    1. thank you for your visit - it is understandable that he is known as the clown of the bird world.

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  24. What an interesting post! In Canada, the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition in our federal parliament is a mansion named "Stornoway." Never knew what it was named for until now! It makes sense though. Scottish ex-pats figured prominently in the early history of Canada.

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    1. Welcome and thank you for your comment Debra - I am sure that you are right about the mansion named Stornoway - I saw a TV programme about Cape Breton recently and every place name was Scottish.

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  25. You were wonderfully blessed with your weather, Rosemary. The west coast of Scotland is truly breath-taking in that clear, bright light. I think the country is very divided over the independence issue and whichever way the vote goes, the consequences will be long-lasting.

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    1. I think that you are right Perpetua, we were lucky with the weather - no umbrellas or coats for the whole period that we were there. Subsequently I have seen a photo of the packhorse on TV with the river absolutely gushing through it following a deluge in that area.
      In my heart of hearts I think that they will stick with us - fingers crossed.

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  26. I thought I commented on this post, Rosemary and yet it seems I didn't. My brother and his wife were in Scotland all of last week. I'll be seeing him soon and hopefully he'll have some interesting stories. I know he enjoys Scotch whiskey, so Scotland had plenty to offer him I'm sure. :) But they're not picture takers, so I doubt I'll see anything of what they saw. Luckily for me, I was fortunate enough to travel to Scotland once many years ago. I have very vivid memories of a wonderful trip.Thanks for this post, m'dear. I too hope that Scotland doesn't vote for independence. But then, I don't know that much about it so I'm just speaking from my heart.

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    1. I looked behind the scenes Yvette but no comment was lurking!
      Hope your brother and his wife have enjoyed Scotland.
      It is a heart thing with me too Yvettte - I want us all to stay united.

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