The Magic of Scotland

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The Lonely House (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

I confess I’m a bit of a mess.  Since returning from Scotland it seems my sense of direction has grown faulty.  The processing of photos has come to a close and now I’m left with Not Having Pictures Of Scotland To Process.  Thousands of images of this magical kingdom sitting on my computer waiting for me to do something with them.  Thousands have been culled to hundreds and yet I sit.  What next?

 

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The Cuillen (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

The admission here is simple:  processing these photos was a chance to tour Scotland again.  A similar rush of AHA! and OH YEAH! and OH MY! as I remembered stops and places and experiences.  Frankly, I wasn’t ready to return and believe my soul is still wandering about in the Highlands.  It certainly doesn’t seem to be within me right now.  “That’s my soul up there.” (Sting)

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Inukshuks at The Cuillen (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Words are failing me, the urge to blog escapes me, my mind wanders – its corners collecting dust until I can find my way again.  Have you ever experienced anything like this?  And, if so, what did you do to jumpstart your creative back in the Real World?  I’m at a loss in more ways than one.

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Enchantment (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Quite simply, I’m obsessed with Scotland.  Its history and lovely people, the sights and smells, the food and drink, the Highlands and the wild, wild north.  Once in everyone’s life one should have a similar experience, falling in love with a country.  I’ve visited other countries and loved them all, but Scotland grabbed my soul and won’t let go.  Nor do I want it to.

Isle of Mull

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Low Tide (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

We took a ferry from Oban to Craignure, Isle of Mull.

It was another dreich day, meaning grey and rainy.

Dreich is pronounced “dreek.”

One of the first words we learned there and one we used often.

For often it was dreich.

Gloriously dreich!

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Moss and Seaweed (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

We loaded onto the coach, which drove us all the way across the Isle of Mull to Fionnphort.

There we caught another ferry to the Isle of Iona.

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Rainy Day in Mull (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

Our coach driver was on a tight timetable.  Ferry to ferry transfers – four in one day.

Additionally, portage of 26 souls through a very long route on Mull that is mostly one lane with pass-bys for oncoming traffic.

If I saw a coach coming off in the distance I would let it pass by, too.

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Farming Scotland Style (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

We passed mountains and glens, lochs with lobster/fish/oyster farming.

I was glad my skills had been honed in Death Valley doing through-the-window shots.

I did this a lot in Scotland.

If I may be frank, they’re my favorite images because they remind me of the beautiful countryside.

I can FEEL Scotland with each viewing.

Remember the feeling, the happiness, the warmth despite the dreich.

Or maybe because of it.

 

Impressions of Scotland

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Fionnphort (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Fionnphort on the Isle of Mull.  We crossed the Sound of Iona by ferry, leaving here for the Isle of Iona.

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Hill of the Angels (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Isle of Iona, Scotland.  St. Columba liked to pray on this hill while the sun set into the sea.  The story goes that a young monk followed St. Columba one evening, curious as to what he was doing on said hill.  The young monk watched “angels of light” ascending and descending upon St. Columba so the hill became known as the Hill of the Angels.  Lots of supernatural activity has been attributed to this site, accounting for a lot of both Christian and Pagan celebrations according to the Iona website.

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Window and rock (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Walking around inside the Iona Abbey, ferns growing wild upon its inner walls, breathing Celtic air, enjoying the scent of ancient stones there was this window and rock.  This abbey was founded by St. Columba in 563AD.

563AD.

Let that sink in.  I’ll wait.

 

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Black face sheep (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

There are several kinds of sheep that wander freely (or not) around Scotland and its islands.  The black face sheep is the most resilient and hardy, so we were informed.

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Baile Mor (C) by Debi Bradford

Of course, I had to take some photos of the beach.  Here we found nice sea glass and some pottery.  Rocks may or may not have been brought home.

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Somewhere in Mull (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

No idea where but I do know we were somewhere on the Isle of Mull racing back to catch another ferry to the mainland.  I got quite good at taking photographs from a moving vehicle.

I’ve lots to share so hold on tight.

I’ll be back.

 

Hurricane Arthur

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First Light (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

I am not sure what’s happening with WP but this is my third try at posting this morning.  Bear with me.  Or bare with me.  Your choice.  I returned home two days ago just in time to prepare the house for Hurricane Arthur.  As of this moment Arthur seems to prefer staying out in the ocean which is just fine by me.  As with such things it forced me to clean up some areas outside that were woefully needing cleaning.  I’m prepared and happy as a clam to stay inside and catch up on photo processing.  Scotland awaits, but first….a hurricane morning.

 

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Golden Arthur Sunrise (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

There was sunshine earlier, but a band of rain coming up from the south chased me home fairly quickly.  The tide was going out affording me good hunting, and good luck as I found two fossilized shark’s teeth and a few unidentified fossils.  My favorite things to find on the beach, hands down!

 

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The Lone Jogger (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

Storm skies turn a luscious blue grey, throwing a cool color cast on everything.  I love that.  When Hurricane Sandy roared through the same thing happened.  Lots of moisture in the air.  My lens kept fogging up on the outside – I had to wipe it constantly.  Man, this camera is sooooo good.  It’s been through Death Valley, Scotland and two hurricanes without missing a beat.  LOVE my camera.

 

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Whichy Waves (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

So I’ve returned which isn’t any big news.  However, I’ve really missed reading posts and missed chatting with everyone and I’m sooo happy to be home.  Today, I’m working on Scotland while the rains and winds bluster around outside.  Rainy days are a favorite – a gift of time to do mindful things and fun things – photo processing, reading, cuddling up.   I’ll be back soon with more of Scotland but in the meantime enjoy Hurricane Arthur.

 

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Parting Shot (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Inverarary

ImageVital Spark (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

Inverarary, Scotland, is a truly charming village located in western Scotland on Loch Fyne.  We were here a very short time, slogging through narrow, picturesque streets through a steady, gentle rainfall.  Inverarary means “Mouth of the aray” in Scottish-Gaelic.  We did not have time for a tour, but the Inverarary Maritime Heritage Museum is located here, based beside the iron sailing ship Arctic Penguin and the Vital Spark.  All the buildings were painted white with black trim.  I managed to get a few shots that I like.  Please enjoy.

 

ImageStone Bridge to Inverarary (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

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White Washed (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

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Loch Fyne (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

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Window and Bluebells (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Loch Lomond and the Trassachs National Park

ImageLoch Lomond (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

Our first conscious event (meaning after jet lag left our weary bodies!) in Scotland took us to Loch Lomond, deep in the Trassachs National Park.  We loaded onto a little boat that took us on a peaceful, circular route around the banks of this freshwater loch.  Loch Lomond is considered the boundary between the lowlands of Central Scotland and highlands.  We sipped coffee laced with Scottish whiskey and enjoyed the stories shared through speakers by the captain as we stood on the upper deck in the misty rain.

 

ImageMisty Peaks (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

The story I enjoyed most was about the popular song, “The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.”  Everyone knows this particular lyric, “you take the high road and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be in Scotland before ya.”  The song was published in 1841 but its author is unknown.  The poet Andrew Lang wrote a poem based on the lyrics later in 1876.  The poem, and likely song, reference the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebellion and the subsequent hanging of his supporters.

 

ImageThe Caretaker’s Cabin (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

“The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”

“By yon bonnie banks an’ by yon bonnie braes

Whaur the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond

Whaur me an’ my true love will ne’er meet again

On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomon’.

Chorus:

O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and Ah’ll tak’ the low road

And Ah’ll be in Scotlan’ afore ye

Fir me an’ my true love will ne’er meet again

On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomon’.

 

‘Twas there that we perted in yon shady glen

On the steep, steep sides o’ Ben Lomon’

Whaur in (soft) purple hue, the hielan hills we view

An’ the moon comin’ oot in the gloamin’.

(Chorus)

The wee birdies sing an’ the wild flouers spring

An’ in sunshine the waters are sleeping

But the broken heart it kens, nae second spring again

Tho’ the waeful may cease frae their greeting.”

 

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Banks of Loch Lomond (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

There are several interpretations of the lyrics but the one given to us by our guide matches this version: “Attributing the song to a Jacobite Highlander captured after the 1745 rising. The Hanoverian British victors were known to play cruel games on the captured Jacobites, and would supposedly find a pair of either brothers or friends and tell them one could live and the other would be executed, and it was up to the pair to decide. Thus the interpretation here is that the song is sung by the brother or friend who chose or was chosen to die. He is therefore telling his friend that they will both go back to Scotland, but he will go on the ‘low road’ or that of the dead, and be home first. Another supporting feature of this is that he states he will never meet his love again in the temporal world, on Loch Lomond. Some believe that this version is written entirely to a lover who lived near the loch.”  (Wikipedia)    

 

ImageIsland on the Loch (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

This experience was so delightful that I couldn’t imagine Scotland getting any better.  But it did.  Oh, it did. 

I’m back

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Orkney Island Stones (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

I’ve returned from the land of Ents, fairies and elves.

I understand there are also trolls, mermaids and various monsters of great legend in its mountains and lochs.

Ancient cobblestones beneath my feet

I toured castles and cathedrals,

a 5,000+ year settlement,

circles of standing stone,

falconry and sheep herding,

rode ferries to isles,

and back again,

sipped decadent Orkney ales

and touched peat from a bog.

Nearly 4,000 photos must be culled through,

named,

and most importantly,

identified!

Scotland is nothing short of magical.

I love Scotland.

I knew I would.

 Scotland is an incredibly GREEN country and its people are warm and friendly.

Time to get back to work but

I’m BACK!

I’ll Be Back

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I must away to immediately see about a family issue.

Afterward, I head overseas on an Adventure!

Blogging may or may not occur,

depending upon my skill level with remote devices

and available WiFi.

However, when I return the end of May/first of June

you will be inundated with images

from Scotland

and countless stories of me and my bestie

on our Grand Adventure!

You’ve been warned.

In the meantime please enjoy this,

my favorite beach image,

or one of them, anyway.

Breathe it in.

I’ll be back.

Empathy

ImageSkirts of Angels (C) 2005 by Debi Bradford

 

“Religion is for people who are afraid to go to hell. 

Spirituality is for people who have already been there.”

Bonnie Raitt

 

I love Bonnie Raitt; her music, her spirit, her Life wisdom, her strength.  Her words resonate with me this morning.  Everyone has something going on in their lives.  Cancer, mental anguish, physical challenges, family difficulties, terrible work environment, something.  One affliction may be more awful than another but unless you are RIGHT THERE IN THEIR SPACE, one cannot judge, one cannot pooh-pooh their condition. 

Enter empathy.  My goal in Life, daily, is to be empathetic.  Listen to the other person.  Open my heart.  LISTEN and actually hear them.  Imagine myself in their place.  Do not add to their angst but flow with them like water in a rocky brook. 

Not just people but also the animals, Earth’s creatures, and the Earth herself.  Be empathetic to the trees and water.  FEEL the Earth.  Literally lie down on her surface and caress her grasses, grab hands full of soil and smell it, cup water in your hands and let it spill back to its source.  Release creatures from your homes – do not automatically kill a snake or spider for they, too, have their purpose on this Earth.  Be empathetic.  Be more than yourself.  This is my goal. 

There are people here in the blogging world who have so much knowledge.  I am forever grateful for this place, this space, within which I learn so much.  Thank you all for sharing so much of yourselves here. 

 

About the photo:  2005 at Wheeler Lake, North Alabama.  A wide spot along the Tennessee River where I lived at that time.   I had just gotten my new Canon 20D and was busy exploring the world of digital photography.  My home office overlooked the river.  Always an early riser I was up well before dawn.  I couldn’t see anything for the fog but once the sun came out and began to burn it off I witnessed swirls of cotton candy lift up off the water and dance into the sky.  Naturally, I went out to try my hand at capturing what I was seeing but couldn’t imagine the images turning out like they did.  I believe something else guided my hand that day for this, my favorite image of the day, defines my Spirituality.  This is my  Column of Light.

Metamorphosis

ImageFirst Light

This post is for Lorrie Bowden.

She lives on a more southerly eastern coast.

Yesterday’s Morning Is Broken post brought about many conversations and insights.

She and I agreed to take a morning sunrise photo today and compare.

Just for grins.

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Phase 2

This morning I woke to rain.

Discouraged, I rose anyway and checked the forecast.

Rain was moving out.

This gave me time for coffee,

and quality time with my dog.

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Phase 3

 The ocean was calm, like a lake.

The first thing I saw was a small fishing boat scurrying across the horizon.

Reminded me of bass boats pre-dawn on the lake during bass tournaments.

Not a common sighting on the ocean.

The next thing I noticed were the gnats.

Calm winds = biting gnats.

I know this and have dressed for the occasion.

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Golden Light

Although I agreed to this fun exercise I didn’t forget yesterday’s epiphany.

Few photos were taken.

Much walking and meditation occurred

in between swatting biting gnats that dangled in my hair.

The metamorphosis was grand.

Cool, grey morning blossomed into a golden, bright sunrise.

Late in coming and glorious.

Good morning