Occupations

Happiness Is……

Happiness is…… for my Father-in-law, being on a foot plate of a steam engine.  I’m not joking, he had the biggest grin on his face from the start to the finish, he loved every minute.  It was Christmas 2016 and we always visit the train station at Sheringham, on the North Norfolk coast, to see if there are any steam trains in.  Luck was with us, and I think I had a big grin on my face, while I photographed him, 

 

Snakes Alive

This is not my normal type of photo, but it is, the day that I came to like a snake.  We were at a country fair somewhere in the county of Rutland in June 2016, and there was the normal type of things like tractors and sheep dogs etc, but there was also the snake man, no ….not really…. but thats what I called him.  We walked into a tent and there was the snake coiled around the keepers neck, I have no idea what type of snake it was  but the colours were beautiful…. I was seeing the snake through the lens of a camera in my mind, it was beautiful.  I knew I wanted to catch the snakes forked tongue darting out, but it was so quick, but then I got my photo (the last photo on the post)……look at the pattern on the scales, it looks like a row of pointy teeth, just like the real thing.  I was just really pleased that the photos came out ok, of course if I had come across the snake in the long grass….it was have been a totally different story.  I also thought it was a good one for my Occupation Category, Wildlife Keeper.

Window View

Last year, 2016, we went to Minehead in West Somerset and travelled on the train to Washford Station, this was so we could visit Cleeve Abbey.  The Abbey is beautiful and was on my bucket list to visit.  We thought it would be a lovely idea to incorporate the visit, with a trip on the steam train.  Unfortunately the train going was pulled by a diesel engine, but coming back we did have a steam engine.  I took some photos through the front window of the diesel train and just liked they way they are framed, a little different from the normal ones I take.

Duntulm Castle, Skye, Scotland

Duntulm Castle with spectacular views of the Outer Hebrides, you can understand the reason they built it there, and no, not just for the view, although I would have done.  The castle, with sheer cliffs on three sides, stands ruined on the north coast of Trotternish, on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, near the hamlet of Duntulm.  We were on our round the ‘Island Road Trip’, a week ago on holiday and I suddenly noticed the ruins, not sure how I missed them in pervious years…..most probably busy looking at the view.  We didn’t have time to stop, as we had a ferry to catch and we still had a long way to go, so the photos were taken out of the car window….. again.

 

A little history…..Duntulm is believed to have been first fortified in the Iron Age, and the site continues to be associated with the name Dùn Dhaibhidh or “David’s Fort”.  Later in life it was fortified by the Norse, and subsequently by their successors, the MacLeods of Skye. It would have been while it was under the MacLeod’s tenure that James V visited the castle in 1540, where he was impressed by its strength and the quality of the hospitality on offer.  In the 17th century it was the seat of the chiefs of Clan MacDonald of Sleat.  The MacDonalds abandoned the castle in about 1730 in favour of nearby Monkstadt House and then Armadale Castle in Sleat.  We did visit Armadale Castle, which has a lovely garden, and I will post about it later.  

 A little haunting for you…. a nursemaid accidentally dropped the baby son of the clan chief from a castle window above the cliffs.  The ghost of the nursemaid, killed in retribution, is still said to wander the ruins. She is apparently kept company by the ghost of Hugh MacDonald, who plotted against the rightful clan chief in the 1600s, and who was starved to death in the dungeon at Duntulm.   

There were quite substantial ruins left in the 1880, a large keep several stories high, which would have looked quite impressive on the cliff top.  But, as with many of theses castle ruins, the stone work was removed for building projects and other parts eroded away, or just fell into the sea.  

May 2017