Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Largs: Fireworks November 2011

I really don't know why I didn't post these photos last year - it took this year's firework displays to remind me that I had them at all ! I wasn't able to go to Largs for the event this November so here are my photos from 2011, showing the crowds and the Pencil Monument illuminated by the fireworks. It really was a great event and very enjoyable.

Some of my photos appeared in the local paper, which was nice!

 Although I now live in Kilmarnock I'd like to attend another November 5th celebration in Largs because it's such a lovely location and the event is organised so well.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Troon Harbour

This area comprises a yachting marina (one of the main centres for sailing in the Firth of Clyde), the P&O ferry port to Northern Ireland, and it is also used for fishing. It makes an interesting place to visit if you're in the town. I had a stroll around there the other day to take these photos.

The harbour has been in use since the 17th century. It was then greatly enlarged and improved in 1812 when the railway was installed. Pity the poor horses that pulled the coal wagons along the rails from Kilmarnock to Troon!

Sailors will find around 300 moorings here, plenty of marina facilities, with electricity and water on the pontoons; showers, toilets and laundry facilities nearby. You can buy fuel including calor gas. There are many other services offered and this (rather expensive in my opinion) restaurant alongside the marina. (My husband and I went back to eat at our favourite Bradfords in the town centre - by far the best value for money!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dunure Castle

I visited this wonderful old ruin a week ago and enjoyed seeing it very much - actually it reminded me very much of Dundonald Castle where I went in August. Both also have modern metal steps set inside the castle walls where you can climb up to higher levels.

It has apparently been in ruins for 300 years but was once the main home of the Kennedy family (the Earls of Cassillis).

Mary Queen of Scots is said to have stayed here for three days in 1563 as guest of the 4th Earl, Gilbert Kennedy.

By the 1700 the castle was becoming a ruin and large numbers of stones were taken to construct other buildings. It started to become a tourist attraction in the 1800s and, in more recent years, has been protected and made safe for visitors. There are several information boards around the castle which tell you about its history. There is no charge to go inside.

There is a large conical dovecot close by which may date from the 15th century. It is thought to have held around 200 nesting boxes and would have supplied the residents of the castle with eggs.

The castle is a short walk from Dunure Harbour, easy to see on its rocky outcrop overlooking the Clyde, and well worth a visit.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Glasgow: World Pipe Band Championships 2012

I went to The World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow (Glasgow Green, to be precise) on August 11th 2012 and what a fantastic day out it was!! It was a hot summer's day and I enjoyed wandering about in the sunshine taking photos. Here are just a few of my personal favourites below:

I was amazed to see women tossing the caber - how times have changed!!
Above: a girl from Cullybackey in Northern Ireland
Above: Wallacestone and District Pipe Band from Scotland
Above: A piper from the Manorcunningham Pipe Band, Northern Ireland
I still haven't been able to find out the bands below but I'm still trying - I'd be grateful if someone would tell me if they happen to know!
Below: it was so crowded around the main arena that I couldn't get anywhere near it. However, there was a large screen showing all the action, and of course, it was possible to hear the bands anyway!
 Below: Arena 4 with the lovely People's Palace behind. There was a small craft fair inside, plus the usual cafe which I've been to before, but it was swelteringly hot on Saturday - no air conditioning - so I didn't spend long in there. I noticed that some of the staff had dripping faces so it must have been hell to work there in such heat.
 The atmosphere at the Championships was marvellous and I'd love to go again in future. (I still can't quite believe that I'm actually living in Scotland once more and can go to these wonderful events!)

Please see the official website here 
and also this short video on YouTube - click here

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A. J. Cronin Plaque Unveiling!

What a wonderful evening it was on the 29th May this year when I attended the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate A. J. Cronin! It was unveiled by his biographer, Alan Davies, in Dumbarton Library where Cronin did the research for his first novel, "Hatter's Castle".
Dumbarton Library

Afterwards, Alan Davies gave a really excellent talk to a crowded room full of interested members of the public, and then answered questions for quite a while. If anyone reading this has even the slightest interest in Cronin, then please read Alan's recent book, "A J Cronin: The Man Who Created Dr Finlay’," as it really is a wealth of fascinating information and the only one of its kind.

Although Cronin was born in Cardross, he retained a life-long affection for Dumbarton. He once said, “Although I have travelled the world over I must say in all sincerity that my heart belongs to Dumbarton”. 

Cronin's biographer, Alan Davies, is in the middle. Gill Graham, the section head of 
West Dunbartonshire Libraries and Museums, is on the left. 
(I'm sorry I don't know the name of the gentleman on the right)

My husband, Geoffrey, standing beside a portrait of Cronin by Stephen Conroy

I am so delighted that this has happened at last and hope that other plaques may follow, especially in Cardross itself of course.

Please see my previous blog here for information about the new biography of A J Cronin

You can read a short excerpt here

Please click here for information about the artist Stephen Conroy

This news video clip from last year is very interesting (you can also hear Alan Davies speaking)  - click here

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cardross: Geilston Gardens

I visited these lovely National Trust gardens a few days ago and they greatly surpassed expectation. All the flower beds are well kept and there was a profusion of huge colourful flowering plants, many heavily scented (the gorgeous yellow azaleas most of all). 

There are many paths through the formal part of the garden and some through a wooded area too beside the burn and bridge. Many of the trees are mature and quite magnificent, especially the enormous Wellingtonia on the front lawn.

There was no one manning the wooden kiosk beside the car park when I was there but an "honesty box" was on the wall by the door. There's also a tea/coffee machine just inside where you can make a brew!

The gardens are on the west of Cardross, 18 miles north-west of Glasgow. 

I'd like to go back there again before long as my time was limited the day I visited!

(See the website here)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ginger the Horse Sculpture

This beautiful sculpture, made of steel wire, by Andy Scott (how I love his work!), was unveiled in Greenock in February 2011. It stands 3.5 metres high and is a memorial to a much loved cart horse, which unfortunately drowned in 1889 in the old Albert Harbour.

The sight of the horse’s death and the distraught, weeping owner, who was clinging on to the neck of the dead animal on the quayside, was witnessed by a long queue of people waiting to emigrate to America on a steamship.

This lovely statue was installed by Riverside Inverclyde as part of the redevelopment of the whole area and can be seen at the piazza at the eastern end of Cathcart Street, at the junction with Dalrymple St. 

To see more of Andy Scott's wonderful sculptures, please click here