A Wedding, A Poorly Nipper & Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire

We went to Fareham in Hampshire for very special wedding, today 08.08.17, my fathers.  My father who is ninety, married his girlfriend of thirty-four years, his new wife is seventy-two.  The day was beautiful, even though we had some rain, it didn’t matter, the day just shone.  I just wanted to make a note of this special day……so I do not miss their first anniversary, I’m terrible at dates 🙂   Also my oldest dog Nipper is in the vets, we had to rush him there three days ago as he was really very poorly and we found out he has very bad diabetes.  The vets have had to try and level his blood, which we think they have done, although he is still very poorly, he is starting to respond, so fingers cross he will pull though.  Anyway we will continue with the real reason for this post…… Newark Castle in Nottinghamshire.  We visited last year 2016, we had passed Newark several times over the years, but this time we managed to stop.

Newark Castle and Gardens are lovely, formal gardens bordered by the remaining walls of Newark Castle which was partly destroyed in 1646 at the end of the English Civil War. The Castle has stood proudly on the banks of the River Trent for nearly 900 years.

A little history….

The castle’s foundations date back to Saxon times but it was developed as a castle by the Bishop of Lincoln in 1123. Known as the Gateway to the North, the castle endured numerous sieges during the Baronial and English Civil war before it was partially destroyed in 1646.  From the riverside the bulk of Newark Castle looks extremely impressive, looming above the water like a forbidding barrier. It is only when you approach from the town that you realise how ‘one-sided’ the structure is. For on the town side, there are almost no remaining walls, though the towers are still impressive.  



I also took a mixture of black & white, as the castle grounds are used for weddings and we counted three while we were there.  Although the weather was very cloudy, it was still warm day.



Balloch Castle Country Park, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Its not often that you get to see a castle being restored, but we did last year 2016.  We had a couple of hours to spare in and around Dumbarton in Scotland, before meeting family, so of course we went off to explore a little.  I had seen a sign for Balloch Castle Country Park, well there must be a castle, so we followed the sign post, and the road went on and on.  Husband started to get a bit twitchy as the road was eating into the little time that we had, and then suddenly there was the entrance.  Couldn’t see any castle from the car park, lots of parkland and beautiful shrubs, but there was no sign for a castle, so maybe there wasn’t one.  Husband went off down a path and I went down another, a shout from husband had me scurrying down his path.  There was the castle, not quite what I was expecting, but non the less quite interesting.

A little history…. The Castle designed by Robert Lugar in 1809 is listed category B, however it is a pioneer of its type and an important house of its date. There are also Stables and two lodges. The site of the 13th century castle is a scheduled ancient monument.

Balloch was for several hundred years the stronghold of the Lennox family. The remains of their old castle, a mound surrounded by a moat, are still to be seen in the south-west of the Park and are scheduled as an ancient monument. In 1390 the Lennoxes moved to the island of Inchmurrin for greater safety but Balloch remained in their ownership until 1652 when the 4th Duke of Lennox sold it to Sir John Colquhoun of Luss. In 1800 the estate was acquired by John Buchanan of Ardoch who commissioned the architect Robert Lugar to build the new Gothic-style castle on the present site. John Buchanan started the laying out of the present landscape, planting unusual trees and shrubs, and his work was continued from 1830 by the next owner, Gibson Stott. Between 1845-1851, the estate was sold again, to Mr A.J. Dennistoun Brown who died in 1890. Glasgow City Corporation bought the 815 acre estate from his Trustees in 1915 in order to improve opportunities for visitors. In 1975, the Park was leased to Dunbarton District Council for a period of thirty years at a nominal rent and in 1980 it was registered as a Country Park

I think a return visit is required, one, to see how the restoration is coming along, two, to see the ancient castle remains and three, to explore the wonderful parkland. 


Carraig Fhada Lighthouse, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay, Scotland

Carraig Fhada LightHouse is quite an unusual shaped lighthouse near Port Ellen on the Isle of Islay, Scotland.  We had gone to find an ancient burial ground, and came away with some images of a rather unique lighthouse.  The lighthouse was commissioned in 1832 by Walter Frederick Campbell the Laird of Islay, in memory of his wife, Lady Eleanor Campbell, who died in the same year 1832, aged 36.  This is a very characteristic lighthouse with two square towers connected to each other and standing 17 meters high.  The light was established in 1832 and the engineers were David Hamilton and son.  The light flashes every 3 seconds, with white, red, and green sectors.

There is an inscription on a plaque above the door reads as follows:

Ye who mid storms and tempests stray in
dangers midnight hour.
Behold where shines this friendly ray and
hail its guardian tower.

Tis but faint emblem of her light my fond
and faithful guide.
Whose sweet example meekin bright led
through this worlds eventful tide my happy course aright.

And still my guiding star she lives in realms
of bliss above.
Still to my heart blest influence gives and
prompts to deeds of love.

Tis she that bids me on the steep kindle this
beacons flame.
To light the wanderer o`er the deep who safe
shall bless her name.

The lighthouse was taken over by the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1924 and converted to operate on propane gas in 1963. The nearby keeper’s cottage, no longer needed since the light was automated, is now a private residence.



Ardrishaig Lighthouse, Loch Fyne, Scotland

I am having a grand sort out of photos, I think we all do it each year and in doing so, I have come across some lighthouses that I have failed to post about, which is quite nice, as I have a thing about them now.   My all time favourites are the Stevenson Lighthouses, but the others have started to creep in, and now it’s any lighthouse.  When we are in Scotland, we like to drive along Loch Fyne and I have taken quite a few photos of Ardrishaig Lighthouse which is located at the eastern entrance to the Crinan Canal on the Loch.

The lighthouse appears to date from the early 1900s and is at least the second to stand on this site, but details are not forth coming, so I have no idea who built the lighthouse.

A little history of the Canal……..The Crinan Canal, 14.5 km (9 miles) long, connects the village of Crinan on the Sound of Jura with Ardrishaig on Loch Gilp.  Crossing the base of the long Kintyre peninsula, it provides small craft with a shortcut between the Hebrides and the Clyde, eliminating a long trip around the Mull of Kintyre. Opened in 1801, the historic canal has a depth of only 3 m (10 ft) but no height restriction.

Photos taken in 2016.

Dunollie Lighthouse, Oban, Scotland

I thought I had posted this lighthouse, but its seems to have slipped the net, which is strange as its a Stevenson Lighthouse.  Located just off the Corran Esplanade in Dunollie, on the north side of Oban, this small lighthouse is a directional light guiding ships into Oban Harbour from the Firth of Lorn.  The lighthouse was built in 1892 by David A Stevenson.

Photo taken in May 2015

Sager Bhuidhe Lighthouse, Port Appin, Scotland

When we were on the Isle of Lismore, 2015, I took a photo of the lighthouse that is just off the coast of  Port Appin.  Sadly, it is for the want, of a better word, a reproduction, the original lantern of the lighthouse is in Port Appin village ( I have yet to take a photo)  

Sgeir Bhuidhe – translating to “Yellow Skerry” in English – is a small rocky outcrop, just off of the coast of Port Appin; a small village, located just off of the A828, between Loch Creran and North Connel, across from Lismore Island.

Sgier Bhuide’s first lighthouse was built in 1903, to a design by David Alan Stevenson, and was powered by Acetylene

In 2002, The Northern Lighthouse Board dismantled the lighthouse and replaced it with a new light, which resembles a traditional lighthouse, although originally the board intended to replace it with a simpler low maintenance structure, consisting of a metal framework with white aluminium panels, much like many of Scotland’s newer lights, but it was felt that the lighthouse was a significant part of Port Appin’s heritage.