Falling off the edge of the world…

waiting for ferry, portavadie


I have had a loooong 12 hour working day, involving a trip to Campbeltown to chair some conferences. I took the first ferry over Loch Fyne from Portavadie to Tarbet, and had time to stop and take a few photos.

Campbeltown is a wonderful strange place- right out on the far western extremities of Kintyre. Go too far and you call of the edge of the world (or I suppose, end up in Ireland.) I walked around the town to clear my head between meetings and marveled at the fact that all the shops closed at lunchtime- presumably so the shop keepers could go shopping. It is like a place in its own micro-time zone. In a good way.

A storm was on the way, and I missed the ferry on the way back by about 2 minutes, which meant I either waited for an hour (with the risk that the ferries would be off) or drove home the long way, via Lochgilphead and Inveraray. I reluctantly did the hard miles.

It was good to be home- but my, how beautiful is the place in which I live and work.

Humpback rescue, Loch Fyne…

There was a fantastic story in our local paper today, about some fishermen out diving for Scallops in Loch Fyne. They were a couple of miles NE of Tarbet, when they spotted what they thought was a big tree in the water, surrounded by buoys.

When they approached, the ‘tree’ blew water from it’s blow hole. It was a humpbacked whale- one of the most beautiful and mysterious of all the whales. This creature, normally at home in the deepest ocean, had come into the Loch and somehow become entangled in the fleet of lobster creels. Creels are usually laid out in a string of 8 or 10, with marker buoys.

Humpbacked whales travel on average 16000 miles each year. Who knows where this one has spent the winter. The males produce a complex song each year- specific to each pod of whales. They compete to extemporise and develop the song, for reasons that are unclear- possibly for mating purposes. Over the singing season the song will develop because of all these changes. Then, the seas will be silent again, until the next year, when the pod will start again exactly where they left off the year previously.

Humpbacked whales can be well over 50 feet long, so who knows what courage it took for one of these scallop divers (Chris Denovan) to decide to get in the water with it? They knew that the poor creature was close to exhaustion, and they decided that they could not leave it to suffer.

Chris managed to cut it free from the creels, and ‘after two hours of building up courage I went back to cut the tangled ropes and buoys from it’s fluke’. 

Well done Chris- what a fantastic story.

I discovered some footage on you tube;

Here it is, swimming away. May it sing for many seasons yet;

Textures, Loch Fyne…

I have driven to Lochgilphead two days in a row- compensated of course by the lovely weather.

Lovely for photographers that is- with towering clouds and light changes panning over the mountains.

Most of the time, I have to force myself to keep my eyes on the road- I had the usual couple of near misses today. The combination of tourists, log lorries, motorbikes and builders vans is usually a dangerous one on our winding roads…

But I did pull over at the edge of Loch Fyne to take a phone call- and was seduced by these colours and textures-

A bit of respite from the storms- Bruce Cockburn…

It has been so wet and wild here all week. Storms and very heavy rain.

I had a wild drive to Lochgilphead today- roads awash, wipers on high speed. The Royal Navy sheltering in Loch Fyne- grey on grey.

In these dark days and long nights, we tend to close down and retire to the fireside with our thoughts. It can be so oppressive.

What we need is something beautiful to light up the soul. So here is a bit more of my favourite musician/poet, singing of a longing for something beyond…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “respite from the storms- Bruce Cockbu…“, posted with vodpod


Michaela’s favourite view…

A gorgeous autumn day today- and I took a drive round to Lochgilphead to meet with some colleagues. Lovely.

As ever, the camera traveled with me, and I took this shot along Loch Fyne, into the afternoon sun.

It is Michaela’s favourite view, and I always struggle to do it justice, as the vistas are so broad and wide, ringed in the far distance by the hills of Kintyre.

But I am enjoying the wide angle of the standard 18-55 mm lens on my camera- partnered with a polarising filter, that teases out some extra texture from clouds and colours, given the right angle to the light. But this one was into the sun, and I kind of like it…

Hope Michaela does too.

lochfyne from strachur, 1

And with a rough nod to the ‘two thirds rule’, here is a shot with the horizon in the other place…

loch fyne from strachur 2