Friday, August 31, 2007

Reflections in Oil

Reflections in Oil, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Stornoway is a funny little town. A place I have been visiting for 35 of my 48 years, and the harbour is always where I am drawn.

But it's always oily. Great for photographs, but not so great for the couple of seals who are often to be seen swimming between the piers and the grounds of Lews Castle.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Reflected rays

Reflected rays, originally uploaded by ccgd.

I was struck by the "yellowness" of Easter Ross and the Black Isle when flying back from Stornoway yesterday. My objective of taking a series of aerial "harvest time" snaps was thwarted by a) being moved from my chosen seat [2A] on the Loganair Saab to 4A [right over the engine] for "trim" reasons and b) by vicious little rain squall as we flew over the Firth, causing a very grey evening with no visibility and one of the more interesting cross wind landings in Dalcross that I have experienced for a long time.

However driving home in the early evening, I was struck by the light and clouds over the South side of the Black Isle, and decided to take the short detour via Balbair point, just to catch the light, and see a cruise ship depart from another angle.

This snap is the result.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Blue Bells

Blue Bells, originally uploaded by ccgd.

A Summer morning over Cromarty East Church.

Blue sky at 57 Degrees North - the colours are just great.......

Monday, August 27, 2007

Curtain of Sun Rays

Curtain of Sun Rays, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Another small cruise liner shot, but this time the morning sun is leaking through late summer clouds.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Waiting for the Pilot

Waiting for the Pilot, originally uploaded by ccgd.

A small Cruise liner waits for the pilot boat at the entrance to the Firth, as the sun sits behind the clouds.

The rain of the past few days can be seen as snaking lines of lighter water, the only visible remains of burn running over Cromarty Beach.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sunset and harr

Sunset and harr, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Harr gathers over Easter Ross, as the sun turns the Ardross Hills orange.

Mornings have been very misty over the past few days, which has been frustrating for people like myself keen to photograph the stream of cruise liners that have been in out of the firth all week. Three in one day yesterday, albeit wee ones.

Never managed a single photo of them though....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

East Kirk Sky

East Kirk Sky, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Living just a couple of doors from the East Kirk and walking past it almost every day, means that I am privileged to see the building in all seasons and weathers.

Dusk and Dawn - in any season - are my favorites, but just occasionally a summer mid-day, with strong blues and greens give us a picture such as this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wings and waves

Wings and waves, originally uploaded by ccgd.

I'm continually amazed at the number of folk who feed seagulls in Cromarty, mainly visitors staying in holiday cottages in Shore Street.

When I ask them if they would feed rats and mice outside the houses where they live, they get quite upset.

I wonder why.....

Monday, August 20, 2007

Iceland roofs

Iceland roofs, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Reykjavik houses in June, when I visited Iceland for the first time. I'm going back in a few weeks, and I must admit I was seriously impressed with this little country in the middle of the North Atlantic.

Less population than Highland Region, the last place in the Northern Hemisphere to be populated by humans, and an island that has known grinding poverty within less than half a century.

But now? With an economy built on cheap energy and a adventurous and entrepreneurial population (they call themselves the Italians of the Scandinavian world) it's a model for many places, not least Scotland and the Highlands and Islands.

However it does come at a price - literally - Beer is a bum clenching £8 a pint.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

New Glasgow

New Glasgow, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Looking upstream from the Bells Bridge, the new face of Glasgow and the Clyde can be clearly seen.

I'd been at at a meeting at BBC Scotland's new HQ.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lifeboat gloaming

Lifeboat gloaming, originally uploaded by ccgd.

The Invergordon Lifeboat - RNLB Douglas Aikman Smith - powers past Cromarty Beach.

It was a Monday night. Not a usual time for the lifeboat to be out, so it must have been a shout.

I wonder if they were searching fro that lost vessel from Burghead?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pete Howson Painting - 1979

Pete Howson Painting - 1979, originally uploaded by ccgd.

The sad and early death of Steven Campbell - at only 53 - and my recent trips back to the Glasgow School of Art have made me look at this painting on my study wall with nostalgia and some poignancy.

I remember Campbell's strong, almost brooding presence at the GSA, smoking French cigarettes and drinking as thick a coffee as the Vic could provide, always surrounded by his group of admirers. I never knew him, and he would have known me from Adam, but was fairly close to a couple of contempries in the new Glasgow Boys, Wisniewski and Howsen.

I knew Adrain Wisniewski fairly well, as he was a Architect student in the early years, and we hung around in the same crowd. I was active in student politics and "represented" him in an appeal to transfer from Architecutre to the Fine Art Department. It worked, and he got his transfer, and the rest is, as they say history.

The above - not very good - photo of a very early painting by another of the New Galsgow boys who is now a fairly famous UK contemporary artist, Peter Howson. His paintings grace a fair number of modern art galleries, and his later works are very collectable and fashionable (Madonna has several for example) This one may in fact be one the earliest of his paintings around.

I studied at Planning School within the Glasgow School of Art from 1977-81. From 1977-79 I lived at the John D Kelly Halls of Residence in Garnethill, and was friendly with a chap called Pete Howson, who lived in the room next door to mine at that time. In June 1979, when we broke up for the summer, Pete was clearing out a stack of his paintings, completed over the winter of 1978-79, putting them in a skip. I had admired one his paintings that had been kicking around his room for a few months - a powerful scene from his army days -which was a large painting in acrylics on chipboard. Since I liked it, Pete offered it to me, and I have had it in my possession ever since (Not wonderfully looked after in the early days I'm afraid, as it was moved from house to house, and flat to flat - in a Reliant Robin I seem to recall).

The painting now is now screwed to the wall of my study in Cromarty, Ross-shire, since Ruth and I moved back the Highlands in 1985. It has been "publicly" displayed in the past 25 years, in a local exhibition of art from Cromarty people's walls in about 1990. I have has no contact with Pete since I left the Art School in 1981, and I'd be very surprised if he even remembered who I was. However, I always admired his work, and followed his career with interest, but I suspect that neither he nor his agents are aware that such a painting from his student days exists.

Stevens death, and that of my brother Kai a couple of months ago, do however remind you of your one mortality, and what is left behind when you depart this existance. For some at least, great art is what they will always be remembered for.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

At your convenience

At your convenience, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Boat of Garten Station, Strathspey Railway.

Monday, August 13, 2007

When there were rigs....

Cromarty and the Cromarty Firth, originally uploaded by ccgd.

A winter sunset over the town of Cromarty, and a firth full of Rigs. Ben Wyvis in the background

December 27th 2003

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A godburst

A godburst, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Over the Cromarty Firth

Pity about the power lines though

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A reflected Rose

A reflected Rose, originally uploaded by ccgd.

An unusual view of the Cromarty Rose, the UK's smallest car ferry

Friday, August 10, 2007

Snail on stone

snail on stone, originally uploaded by ccgd.

A sail crawls up the D of the word sounds on Cromarty's emigration stone.

The evening sun turns the Caithness flag a strange blue tint. Rather nice though.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Bunting, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Still up after the Regatta.

and some blue sky over Ross-shire.............

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Little and Large

Little and Large, originally uploaded by ccgd.

The Grand Princess and the Cromarty Rose.

A 100,000 tonne ship versus a 20 tonne ferry.

Still not sure about the Cromarty Rose's new paintjob though.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Hiroshima 1945 Ground Zero

Hiroshima 1945 Ground Zero, originally uploaded by ccgd.

62 years ago today.

Taken by the ships photographer of aircraft Carrier HMS Vengeance – my Fathers Ship – after delivering Royal Indian Air force Spitfires to Japan in late 1945.

After service in the North Atlantic, the Med and Indian ocean, HMS Vengeance was at sea on the 6th August 1945, steaming to start offensive operations against Japanese Forces in Formosa. It was part of the British Pacific Fleet, scheduled to provide close air support to Allied Forces invading Japan on the 1st November 1945.

The bomb stopped that, and HMS Vengeance was diverted to help liberate Hong Kong.

Was dropping the bomb neccessary, and am I here because it was dropped (and therefore my Dad came home, and had me) or was Japan on the brink of collapse and the loss of hundreds of thousands of civilian lives a total waste?

Do you know - I don't know. I do not think that we will ever know.

But I do know that if the bomb had not been dropped hundreds of thousands of different people could have died, perhaps more than at Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Just in different ways.

Have a look at


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Flow patterns

Flow patterns, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Water, stones and sand.

What a combination......

Cromarty beach.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I spent 4 years looking at this view

I spent 4 years looking at this view, originally uploaded by ccgd.

30 years ago, this gable of the Macintosh building was the view from my studio in the Planning Department of the Art School. I'm not sure that I appreciated it very much.

Youth - its wasted on the young.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Telegraph road

Telegraph road, originally uploaded by ccgd.

A midwinter shot from the Cromarty - Rosemarkie road, at Glenurquhart.

Almost has a Mid West of America feel of space, distance and sky.