Monday, November 26, 2007

Fearn Control Tower

Fearn Control Tower, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Magnus posing in the WW2 Control tower at Fearn "Drome" aka HMS Owl. Just a few miles from where we live in Cromarty, this is WW2 airfield is slowly crumbling away.

This building could only have been built in the utilitarian 1940's. A quite special look and feel.

My Dad was based here for a while in 1944, as his squadron "worked up" for their war against the Japanese in the Pacific. A minor crash in a Barracuda Bomber prevented him from flying the next day in an operation which killed five of his pals in a training accident.

Pacific Quay

Pacific Quay, originally uploaded by ccgd.

The new Beeb HQ reflected in the Clyde.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The residents of Cromarty

The residents of Cromarty, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Taken on 2nd June 2007 as part of the 'Sea Cromarty Sparkle' summer festival. A total of 386 Cromarty residents turned out to be photographed by Clare Arron. This picture has now been enlarged and framed and is to be hung at its permanent resting place on the wall outside Cromarty Library from the end of November 2007, complete with key naming everyone shown.

In case you are interested I'm bottom right - starting to clap - Ruth, Hamish and Charlie are mid picture, just left. Magnus was away that weekend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Heathrow sunburst

Heathrow sunburst, originally uploaded by ccgd.

A week last Sunday, taxiing across Heathrow, flying back to the Highlands via Edinburgh.

It was a long taxi from Terminal 1, and as always I had a window seat, and camera at the ready. Then I saw this.

I think JD Ratter would have been proud, despite the planes......

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Red sky in the morning

Red sky in the morning, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Sailors warning............

Saturday - looking through the Sutors.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Winter Blues

Winter Blues, originally uploaded by ccgd.

They say the start of winter is depressing, all those gray sky's. Not here in Cromarty........

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Saab 340's farewell to Inverness Airport

Leaving Inverness in the Gloaming

Photography titles as Pipe tunes.

There is a Flickr group in there somewhere.

And Loganair's days as a BA Franchise are limited, with then reverting back to Loganair from next year. I wonder if we will get the old Red livery back?

Monday, November 12, 2007


Flying, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Extracts from a travellers log – next volume…..

Well Glasgow won the Commonwealth games bid for 2014. Outstanding, just brilliant.

I was in Boston when the news came through, in fact on the T from downtown to MIT, when my phone rang. Now phones do not ring on Subway trains in Europe in my experience, so it took a minute to work out it was mine. It was also first thing in the morning Boston time, so although I knew that the choice would be announced on the Friday, I was not expecting it until later in the day. Sophisticated international traveller that I am I had simply forgotten about the time.

Hitting the green button, I heard Ruth say, “Glasgow’s won”, and I must admit that my heart gave more than a little jump. I was on the T with my colleague Donal, a Dubliner whose adopted home has been Glasgow for the past 18 years. I blurted out – Glasgow’s won! - and we both gave that strange little dance that men in their 40’s do when hearing good news on the sporting front, accompanied with broad smiles. All this on a crowded T – in Boston – so we got a few strange looks (all except for a young lassie a couple of seats away, who broke out into a wide grin when she overheard the news – and then flashed a shy but genuine smile in our direction. She must have had some connections with Scotland).

Well for those of you who follow bits about me and my family through this blog, will know that Glasgow winning the 2014 games bid mean a bit more than pleasure at Scotland Hosting a major sporting event, or a professional interest in the regeneration of Glasgow’s east end (both very important issues I must stress). No, its because we have in our Magnus one of Scotland’s three hundred 15 and 16 year olds who “are in the system” in other words who are part of the nations sporting talent teams and youth squads, all being trained and developed to provide the athletes who will represent Scotland in 2014.

All a bit humbling really, and one never knows what will happen with individuals over the next 6-7 years, especially ones own family. But I do know that when the opening ceremony takes place in Parkhead in 2014, some of the athletes marching behind the Saltire will be kids that Ruth and I have known and cheered through Scottish Cycling’s talent teams and development squads, and for that we will be immensely proud for them, knowing the work, dedication and effort that will have gone in to helping them get there.

Oh the photo – it’s Magnus at the final of the Scottish Track Championships earlier this year, where he won the silver medal in the 2k pursuit (loosing out on the gold by a tenth of a second) and he and his pal Patrick who won, smashing the Scottish record in the process). The P&J used it in an article about young athletes from the North of Scotland who are working towards the 2014 games. Never got paid for it though…….

Do I care? Not a bit, just chuffed as ……..

One interesting postscript – Have just spent the night at a Heathrow hotel, and for once – and because it was a Sunday so no early flights home – had time to read all the “National” (ie English) Broadsheets. The Times, the Telegraph (it’s OK – I washed my hands afterwards), the Observer etc. Not a mention of Glasgow and the Games, not a single mention. In the news pages, in the sports pages, in the review sections, not a single mention. Now travelling through England-shire on a regular basis does highlight the fact that the issues – and articles – you see in the “Scottish” editions of the English papers, are conspicuous by their absence sooth o the border, but I wonder what a trawl through the relevant newspapers archives of the early 90’s when Manchester won the Commie games would show.

Just a thought, or am I just being “unhelpful”…….

Saturday, November 10, 2007

dawn takeoff - logan airport

dawn takeoff - logan airport, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Extract from travelling log, posted from a Marriott hotel in London, Saturday the 10th:-

“I’m typing this sitting at the back of a Delta airlines 737 stuck at Boston’s Logan airport, very late on a Friday night. Its now 8:40, we were supposed to take off for JFK at 8:00, but the Captain is telling us that its another hour before New York ATC will let us even start our engines. Yesterday morning I stood at the quayside of Boston Harbour, across the water, taking this shot of early morning flights leaving a Logan airport bathed in this early morning gloaming. I bet they all left on time.

So a hassle, but not the end of the world, as I have Saturday Morning flight back to the UK, arriving at Heathrow Saturday evening, so another night in an airport Hotel, and then home. So just another late arrival at a anonymous hotel and then an other early start. Hopefully then home for a few weeks, as nothing is planned – apart from a short trip to Copenhagen – until Christmas.

Flying within the USA is a bit weird, in fact this trip is the first time that I’ve done it. Airports are bigger than Europe, and a lot less crowded, but packed with all sorts of US bars, restaurants and “places to eat and drink”. Service is quick and efficient, but quite different from the other side of the pond, in a strange indefinable sort of way. Better than Gatwick or Heathrow – in fact much better.

Being stuck on a Delta flight is fascinating. The flight attendants are all – well – quite matronly, and all have lots of big big blond hair. (they are Atlanta based I think, so think Dolly Parton, in fact lots of Dolly Parton’s…..). They are a strange mixture of chatty informality, and hectoring strictness, sometimes at the same time. Their average age (and body mass index) is a bit higher than you would find in Europe.

The pilot (an elderly gentleman, with a touch of Col Saunders in his looks and manners) is quite vexed about the delay, and is wandering about the aircraft with a cell phone clamped to his ear, alternatively chatting to the passengers, and chasing the air traffic staff at JFK. Not something you would see on a BA flight, where its all ex RAF stiff upper lip.

We got there in the end to a very wet and misty JFK, albeit 90 mins late. The glamour of jet travel.”

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pete Clunas and the Purple Rain

Pete Clunas and the purple rain, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Aplogies to the artist now known again as Prince.

Lots of serious fun on Saturday Night.

More pics and comment to follow.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Turbine view

Turbine view, originally uploaded by ccgd.

As part of my wider trip to Finland, visited a windfarm on the Baltic coast. We got to look inside the towers, and play around at the base of this remarkably quiet two meg device.

So having spent a tiresome day travelling back from Finland, some random rambles.

This photo is the right way up

Edinburgh Airport have their Christmas decorations up already. Scary.

My trip was booked through BA, but I did not travel on a single BA plane (Loganair, FlyBe and Finair if you are interested)

Manchester airport is being renovated. I got lost. Well that’s my excuse anyway.

Newspapers in Finland have a business model that most UK editors would give their right arm for – people subscribe – ie they pay in advance (yearly!) to have their papers delivered to their door. In the case of the …. Paper which I visited last week when in Finland they get their paper delivered at 6:00 in the morning. If you subscribe it costs 65 cents (about 40p) if you buy at the newsstand it costs 2 Euros….. Great business if you can get it.

One of the more subtle things about the all persuasive consecutiveness of modern travel is you are no longer removed from the news and politics of where you live – if you want. With on-line editions of the Scottish papers, and google news services it finally means that us poor saps can read Scottish papers on-line, rather than the day old editions of the grandly titled UK papers (all printed in London).

Why is it that the only papers you get in Airport lounges are the Telegraph, the FT and the Daily Mail? An occasional Times, and an even more occasional Guardian.

However it does mean that we can read the remarkable anti-Scottish bile (and downright lies) that is being “written” by London based journalists in these “quality” journals. Quite staggering. And these are from pro-unionist papers…….