Thursday, December 31, 2009


Ropes, originally uploaded by ccgd.

And a very Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A frozen Peedie Lass

A frozen Peedie Lass, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Day 10 of the big freeze in the Highlands.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blue ice

Blue ice, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Hanging from the roof.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Target practice

Target practice, originally uploaded by ccgd.

There is just something about a blank window that invites snow balls.

Shore Street's last empty house. 30 years ago Cromarty was full of derelict houses like this one.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A medley of rigs

A medley of rigs, originally uploaded by ccgd.

One Jack up, two flotels, and five semi-sub drillers, as far as I can see.

Oh and the haar rolling in at sunset.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ghosts of houses past

Ghosts of houses past, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Shore street walls, long gone buildings.

Spooky in the snow.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The last resting place of the Sailing Ship Onega

The SS Onega was a Dundee based brig (a two masted square rigged sailing vessel) on passage from Montreal in Canada back to Dundee in December 1862. She was owned by George Armitstead & Co, bought by them in 1852, when she was two years old. Her tonnage was rated at 229, making her the largest brig in the companies fleet, although she would have been only about twice the size of a modern fishing vessel.

The SS Onega was sailing along the North Coast on the 20th December when it was hit by a violent storm. The ships master decided to try to sit out the storm in the quiet waters behind Eilean Roan. However he misjudged the waves that build up in the shallow waters of the Kyle when the wind is in the North East, and the vessel dragged her anchor. She dragged right into the shallows off Coldbackie Beach, where the huge waves pounded her to a wreck. The shallow waters of the Kyle can raise significant waves in a very short time.

The vessels lifeboats were carried away and overturned, and despite attempts to launch boats from Coldbackie and Scullomie all the crew were drowned. The bodies were washed up on the coast from Coldbackie Beach around to Eilean Roan. Three were recovered in a small cove on the South East of the island, which was then known as Port na Coinnle - Bay of the Candles, from the phosphorescence in the water draining from the clothes and lifejackets of the dead crew. All the crew were buried in Tongue, and a song, well known as The Stately Onega was composed locally at the time of the wreck. It tells of the vessels voyage, the shipwreck and the great efforts of the local people to rescue the drowning crew. It was popular at ceilidhs up to the 1970s.

All that remains of the Onega is buried on Coldbackie beach, and consists of wrought iron ribs, which can be seen at low tides hard against the tip of a rock on the east side of Coldbackie beach. The rock must have halted the vessels progress up the beach. Occasional metal ribs could be found on the beach, wedged between rocks, up to the 1980s. They fascinated me as a child in the 60s and 70s and indeed I pulled a muscle in my back recovering one around 1984! The wreck was completely covered in sand from about 1970 (when the Kyle of Tongue causeway was built and Coldbackie beach grew significantly) until the late 1990s, when the beach lost a lot of sand. For a time the complete outline of the wreck was visible, although now only the one or two ribs in this photo can be seen.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

And have you stood out on Coldbackie

The sun sets over Coldbackie

"So have you stood out on Coldbackie
At the time the sun goes down
Or up on the king of campsites
In the hills about Brae Tongue
That's when music filled your evenings
It's all so different now, this world
For you were the summer walkers
And the fishers of the pearl."

Runrig - The Summer Walkers

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Castle walls

Castle walls, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Corgarff Castle in the spring Sunshine - May 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas sale

Christmas sale, originally uploaded by ccgd.

If you are in Cromarty over the next week, pop into the Old Brewery Arts centre, where a Christmas exhibition of local artists work is being held.

Here is my corner, in the cafe.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My trees

My trees, originally uploaded by ccgd.

No snow, no shadows, just sheep.

South Sutor Cromarty.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Brussels layers

Brussels layers, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Just back from a grey and wintry trip to Brussels. Its the first time I've been there for a couple of years, a bit of a contrast to the later part of the 90's when I seemed to be there on a bi-monthly basis.

I was running EU projects at the time.

Brussels in winter has a particular smell, a mixture of dampness, tobacco, traffic, and the metro, all overlain with a faint whiff of woodsmoke, from the Italian restaurants clustered around the EU office complexes.

This snap is from the Square de Luxembourg - layers of posters on the last derelict building, now under renovation. I actually took it on my last trip there in 2007, but I like the textures.