Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mark and Magnus - Scotland Squad 2008

Well the letters came through on Friday, and Mark and Magnus have made their respective Scotland Cycling Squads for 2008. Mark continuing in the Youth Squad, and Magnus making the big step to the next level, the Scotland under 19 Team.

Here they are out MTB training at Golspie, on a glorious late Summer day in the Highlands, though Magnus will be much more on the track and road than his MTB for the next wee while.

A busy next 12 months - as always!

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Stern, originally uploaded by ccgd.

A rather more minamilist view of a trwler on the stocks in Keflavik, Iceland. I may have slightly over processed this shot, but I do like the dramatic colours, and contrasts.

Home for the weekend, after a couple of days in Glasgow, firstly at the IA centre Gala Dinner (for other unforseen circumstances I managed to miss the rest of the annual congress much to my annoyance, and then all day Friday in the Scottish Government's Glasgow office - with the great and the good of the Scottish IT world - trying to thrash out the bones of a new joint Public/Private sector policy approach for encouraging firms to transform themselves through the adoption of ICT.

Glad to be home though....

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Piggy back

Piggy back, originally uploaded by ccgd.

The Secdo 706 being loaded onto the Mighty Servant 1, about 10 days ago. It has now gone, along with the other Secdo rig which was down at the Service Base, so the Firth is strangley empty again.

I must admit I like seeing the Firth busy with Rigs and Vessels, as I - and I may be a minority of one - feel that large man-made movable structures enhance and give a scale to the landscape and scenery. I'm talking about locations such as the Cromarty Firth and the Clyde where people tend to live and work.

I'm also pretty relaxed about wind turbines....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Through a Golf Window

Through a Golf Window, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Iceland has some long straight roads, and lots of very big trucks. But there are many more roads that are not straight, nor blacktopped.

I had just driven over about 30 Km of gravel roads, which was a strange and quite scary thing to do. I had a fairly new VW Golf (last time I was in Iceland in June they gave me a little Japanese 4WD, which I wondered about, not having to drive off-road. Now I know why), and I must say that I was glad it was a rental.

Driving at speed on unsurfaced roads is a new experience for me. After a few miles you start to experience a mild sort of Top Gear euphoria, as it becomes clear that - yes - you are driving at speed on a road that's just gravel, and there are no engineered safety features at all. Then you hit a blind summit, and its scary. then you meet another car (driven by a local who is doing 90kph and completely unaware of your existence), and its scary.

Then you drift into a hairpin bent and start to slide on the loose gravel at the side of the road,

That's scary. Very Scary. You are then quite glad to to drive onto the nice straight blacktop, but pull in when you see a very large truck in your rear view mirror.

It's all still a bit scary.

Friday, September 21, 2007

This morning

This morning, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Looking east through the Sutors of Cromarty. I'm home now for a couple of weeks, before trips to Boston, Lapland and then Denmark. I think I need to sort out the 10's of gigs of photos I have taken recently, as well as say hallo to the family and perhaps pay a few bills....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Wedge of a mountain.

Wedge, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Just back from Iceland, where I took a series of snaps of this strange looking mountain in the West of the Country. Although the region was remote, I was able to access the Internet from pretty much wherever I was, thanks to free wi-fi systems in most buildings I was in.

The remoteness of the region I was in, and the issues facing the folk who live there were brought in sharp relieve by a little online spat on the Flickr Scotland forum, relating to perceptions of the Highland and Islands.

I was tired, I was Grumpy. I was full of the cold. I let go both barrels.....

"A large part of my working life - and home life when the lad is cycling or older boys need to be taken to and fro Uni - is spent on the A9 or the train travelling to meetings in Edinburgh or Glasgow, or Mountain Biking events further south.

Work wise my biggest bugbear is meetings organised for a 10:00 am start - which means that I have to stay overnight the previous day. 10:30 is almost as bad, as it means I have to get the 6:50 train, leaving home at 5:30 - so up at 4:45. All for a meeting that lasts an hour and a half.............

These days I just say no - and if they want to meet with me, its at a time and place that suits me.

Some large multi-agency events I arrive at 11:15, when the 7:55 GNER gets in, even though the they insist on an 11:00 starts, and when the chair always asks - train late? - I reply, no you started early.

When I offer to meet them half way, they say, mmmm not sure that I can get to Stirling in time for a 10:30 start. Perth for 11:00 - Mmmm difficult.

Half way of course is south of Dalwhinnie, but I'll settle for Pitlochry, but try getting a Weegie to cope with the concept that working life exists north of Perth.

The really funny thing is of course when they do decide to make an expedition north, it always involves them in extensive travel, with at least one overnight stay (if not two - and this is when my team organises the meeting around the train that arrives in Inverness at 11:45 and leaves at 14:40) and lots of excitement in venturing furth of the central belt - from people who think nothing of buzzing up and down to London, Brussels or Paris in a 12 hour working day.

Me grumpy! Aye right - and I'm just talking about Inverness, which is not exactly the back of beyond. Image my colleagues in Wick, Kirkwall or Stornoway.........

Did you also know that Milan is nearer London that Lerwick, and that Edinburgh is as far from Lerwick, as London from Edinburgh?

Anyway rant over, as I'm sitting here in a hotel room in Reykjavik, watching the sun go down, and thinking that Scotland does not know about distance and remoteness compared to Iceland.

I've just been interviewed on the Icelandic 6:00 TV news asking what Iceland can learn from Scotland. My immediate instinct to say - not much - would not have made good TV, so I said what that they expected to hear.

But when it comes to distance and civic perception of space, rurality and what a county is and what cities represent?

The answer would have to be - Aye - not much.........."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ship yard

Ship yard, originally uploaded by ccgd.

I must admit that I like boats, and have a fascination with places where things of metal are made and fixed. This is Keflavik, near the airport in Iceland, and I delighted to find that this ship repair Yard was full of fishing vessels in various stages of "perchiness" and was completely deserted. It was a Sunday Morning of course, but the absence of chain wire fencing, and barking dogs was a very pleasant change for a photographer bent on capturing images of Rusty metal and decaying ships.

I froze waiting for the light to be just right though - Iceland in September with a north wind is bloody cold. Lots of fresh snow on the hills, but when the sun came out I captured these colours.

I visited a Library of Water yesterday, and just delivered a two lecture on rural regional development. If you watch the Icelandic news tonight you will see being interviewed about what Iceland can learn from Scotland. My initial reaction of "not much" would not have made for good TV, so I wittered. In fact I wittered for Scotland.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Icelandic sunrise

Icelandic sunrise, originally uploaded by ccgd.

I took photo just a few mins ago, looking out from the Hotel I'm staying in rural Western Iceland, and I'm now blogging it from my breakfast Table, through their free, open wireless Network. (Smoked lamb and local cheese breakfast in case you are wondering).

This hotel is a modern, family run, fairly upmarket establishment. Very nice, and I'd be hard pressed to think of a direct equivalent in Ross-shire, as it would almost certainly be Victorian in nature.

That mountain looks just like Ben Loyal in Sutherland, quite spooky.

A town a harbour and a volcano - Iceland

The volcano that almost destroyed the town of Vestmannaejyar back in the 70's can be clealry seen to the north east of the town. Otherwise it's a town, a harbour and an airport.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cromarty Rose and the Sedco 714

Cromarty Rose and the Sedco 714, originally uploaded by ccgd.

The Secdo rig 714, looking strangely truncated with her top works removed is loaded onto a transporter vessel for a voyage to the Black Sea. She is having a major upgrade in the Ukraine.

I was perplexed as to why she would come to Scotland for "stripping down" before going to a shipyard in the Black Sea. Then I realised that she would have to pass under Bridges in Istanbul. Doooh

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The badlands of Iceland

The badlands of Iceland, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Stuck in the Hilton at Gatwick, on a Saturday night, and all the boys are away, so if I was at home Ruth and I would have the house to ourselves... sigh. Full of the cold - well man flu to be exact, and have to be up at 5:00 am to catch an early flight to Iceland.

Still Iceland is a seriously cool little micro country.

Here is a photo I took earlier........

Friday, September 14, 2007

Caught in a beam of light

Caught in a beam of light, originally uploaded by ccgd.

This morning at around 7:00

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sunrise and Clouds, the South Sutor Cromarty

An old shot of the sunrise over the South Sutor, from back in 2003 I think.

Mornings the past week have been dull and misty, which is a pity, as you can get some great sunrises at this time of year.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Engrossed, originally uploaded by ccgd.

The last run of the Elite Mens Downhill at the Mountain Bike World Cup. One face from 10,000 spectators.

I do not often blog more than one photo a day, but the atmosphere and sheer scale of the world cup justifies a small selection.

Ruaraidh Cunningham

Ruaraidh Cunningham, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Junior Gold Medal winner.


Motoring, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Nissan Nissan

Nissan Nissan, originally uploaded by ccgd.

The final Day of the Fort William MTB World cup - the downhill.

Yes I was there - Day 7 of a very long trip around the UK.

I took inordinate number of snaps - most blurred and out of focus. I did, however, keep getting drawn back to this enormous TV screen that dominated the lower part of the course,

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Perthshire evening

Perthshire evening, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Snapped from the open window of the afternoon GNER 125 Kings Cross to Inverness train (the Highland Chieftain).

It was taking me home, at the end of Day 5 of a week long trip around the UK. Spent the day in Fife with folk from all over Scotland brain storming the structure of a proposed centre for Creativity, Innovation and Design.

Great late summer colours.

However, just having a cup of coffee before travelling south down the A9, taking Charlie back to Uni for his last year.

Oh well.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Light Ship - Dundee

Light Ship - Dundee, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Day 4 of the trip around the UK, and now in Dundee. My hotel room in the Apex Hotel looks out over the Carr Light Ship and the Unicorn Frigate.

Nice blue skies though.

Fife tomorrow, then home, but then back south almost immediately.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

London City Airport

London City Airport, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Just about to board a flight to Dundee. A Scotair Flight, operated by Air France, or was it the other way around.....

Just spend the day discussing rural innovation policy at NESTA in central London. Then took a cab to city airport, on the same day as a Tube strike.

Not a good move.

Day 3 of a week long trip around the UK. I'm getting tired now.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Stuart and the minister

Stuart and the minister, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Dr Stuart Gosgrove, NESTA trust member for Scotland, and C4's director of Nations and Regions, summing up at the end of the NESTA Creative industries event in Scotland. The Minister for Culture, Linda Fabiani waits to add her contribution. In the Scottish Parliament.

Day 1 of week long trip around the UK.

Monday, September 03, 2007

On the watch hill

On the watch hill, originally uploaded by ccgd.

The lads at the top of the Watch Hill, Coldbackie, Sutherland, oh ages ago - I think 2003. This was taken with a little 2Meg Camera, but I love the clouds, and the grumpy teenage looks of the the boys.

I am amazed that I have never posted this before, and in fact just found it lurking on my hard drive when trying - futily - to organise and back up my vast collections of photos.

Oh and that is Orkney (the hills of Hoy) in the background. That's why it is called Cnoc an Fhreiceadain (the Hill of Watching)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

BF 500

BF 500, originally uploaded by ccgd.

n Cromarty Harbour.

The Osprey - 9.95m Stern Trawler, built in MacDuff. (I wonder if being under 10M gives it a specific advantage in legislative terms.)

Very compact looking vessel, almost a "pocket" Fishing Boat.