Friday, November 28, 2008

Contrails and the Pisa Tower

Contrails and the Pisa Tower, originally uploaded by ccgd.

I'm sitting in Gatwick airport, looking out over a very gray and wet airport. A real change in the weather from the north, from which I flew down this morning. I was in Aviemore last night, and when I left the hotel at the ungodly hour of 5:20 there was a light dusting of snow and a deep frost.

We sat on the ground for about an hour as the plane was de-iced, by a couple of Highland Airways lads in what looked like a transit van with a cherry picker on the roof. Careful, meticulous but slow.

I'm on my way to Pisa, to speak at an italian local government conference on regional development. I was there a couple of years ago - on a similar engagement - and took the chance to snap the famous tower, framed by jet contrails.

I never had time to climb it, but the tilt is fascinating, as is the engineering that made it safe.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say:-

"On February 27, 1964, the government of Italy requested aid in preventing the tower from toppling. It was however considered important to retain the current tilt, due to the vital role that this element played in promoting the tourism industry of Pisa.[2] A multinational task force of engineers, mathematicians and historians was assigned and met on the Azores islands to discuss stabilization methods. After over two decades of work on the subject, the tower was closed to the public in January 1990. While the tower was closed, the bells were removed to relieve some weight and cables were cinched around the third level and anchored several hundred meters away. Apartments and houses in the path of the tower were vacated for safety. After a decade of corrective reconstruction and stabilization efforts, the tower was reopened to the public on December 15, 2001. Many methods were proposed to stabilize the tower, including the addition of 800 metric tons of lead counterweights to the raised end of the base. The final solution to correcting the lean was to remove 38 m3 of soil from underneath the raised end. The tower has been declared stable for at least another 300 years."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A rather subtle morning

a rather subtle morning, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Sunrises between the Sutors never cease to surprise.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Winter cattle

Winter cattle, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Sunset at the top of the South Sutor.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Jacky jacket and topsides

The Jacky jacket and topsides, originally uploaded by ccgd.

A complete North sea oil installation in simple package. How things have changed since the boom days of the 1970's.

Build in the Netherlands, this is the mono-tower and topsides for a modest unmanned platform, near to - and tied back to - the Beatrice field in the Inner Moray Firth.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gordons lane

Gordons lane, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Fishertoun Cromarty - TV aerials and overhead lines cloned out.

Not a bad effect. IMHO

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Project planning

Project planning, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Restoration work is under way at the Cromarty East Kirk. The project team have asked if I can record some of the day to day activities of the work.

So here we are.

I'll post a lot more shots of the work over the next weeks and months,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vertical elements in the landscape

Vertical elements in the landscape, originally uploaded by ccgd.

One from the archives, but a few people googling the title made me re-discover this photo.

Sunrise - September 2005, looking over Fishertoun.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Alexander Bakie Mowat - 1890 -1916 Dog Tag 1

The Dog Tag of Alexander Bakie Mowat - My GG Uncle - Killed in June 1916 France. A native of Caithness, Scotland emigrated to Canada and in 1914 joined the the 16th Canadian Regiment - made up of Canadian Highlanders.

A cousin of mine has his medals, and I must get a photo of them. As with large familes of that time, he was only 8 years older than my Grand Father, who served in the Royal Flying Corps in WW1.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

At night

at night, originally uploaded by ccgd.

The Stena Carron at night. Taken last week when she was tied up bunkering at the Nigg Oil Terminal, taking on 14,000 tonnes of fuel.

Yes 14,000 tonnes - but she is a thirsty beast, having six Wärtsilä 32 16-cylinder diesel engines. The engines have a combined power of over 40MW. That's a lot of lights.

The Stena Drill Max is the world's largest drill ship, with a displacement of 97,000 tonnes, an overall length of 228m and breadth of 42m, it is capable of drilling to a depth of 11,000m. It was built by Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd in Korea, and has been designed to operate in harsh environments such as the Norwegian and Barents Seas.

I understand that she is mobilising in the Firth ready to operate West of Shetland.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

All in All, quite blue

all in all quite blue, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Sunday afternoon on the beach - winter colours....

Some one said that this photo is like looking at the edge of the world - I can see why.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Spires and birds

spires and birds, originally uploaded by ccgd.

A very gothic feel to this shot of Cromaty's West kirk, complete with resident seagulls.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Ben

The Ben, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Ben Wyvis - the mountain which dominates Easter Ross - covered in the first snows of winter.

From Resolis.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fighting the waves

Fighting the waves, originally uploaded by ccgd.

A late October storm hits Cromarty Harbour - a strong westerly and a very strong ebbing tide cause these moored trawlers to buck and fight against their mooring ropes.