Flying To Perth

A bird crossing the River Tay in direction to Perth city.

Perth (Scottish Gaelic: Peairt) is a town and former city and royal burgh in central Scotland. Sitting on the banks of the River Tay, it is the administrative centre of Perth and Kinross council area and the historic county town of Perthshire. According to an estimate taken in 2008, Perth has a population of 44,820. Perth has been known as The Fair City, since the publication of the story, Fair Maid of Perth by the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott in 1828. During the medieval period, the town was also given two alternative names, St. John’s Toun or Saint Johnstoun by its Scots-speaking inhabitants in reference to the main church dedicated to St John The Baptist.

The name Perth derives from a Pictish-Gaelic word for wood or copse. There has been a settlement at Perth since prehistoric times, which was probably on a site where a river crossed a slightly raised mound on the west bank of the River Tay. The area surrounding the modern town has been known to have been occupied by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers since their arrival more than 8,000 years ago. Nearby Neolithic standing stones and circles also exist, dating from about 4000 BC, following the introduction of farming in the area.

The presence of Scone Abbey, home of the Stone of Destiny where the King of Scots was crowned, enhanced the early importance of the town. Perth became known as an effective ‘capital’ of Scotland, due to the frequent residence of the royal court. Royal Burgh status was soon given to the town by King William The Lion in the early 12th century. The town became one of the richest burghs in the country, doing trade with countries like France, the Low Countries and Baltic Countries for goods such as Spanish silk and French wine.

The Scottish Reformation also played a big role in the town with the sacking of the Houses of the Greyfriars and Blackfriars, after a sermon given by John Knox in the St John’s Kirk in 1559. The Act of settlement later brought about Jacobite uprisings. The town was occupied by Jacobite supporters on three occasions (1689, 1715 and 1745). The birth of Perth Academy in 1760, brought major industry to the town, such as Linen, leather, bleach and whisky. Given its location, Perth was perfectly placed to become a key transport centre with the coming of the railways. The first railway station in Perth was built in 1848.

Today, Perth serves as a popular retail centre for the surrounding area. This includes a main shopping centre along with a pedestrianised high street and many independent and specialist shops on offer. Following the decline of the Whisky, the economy of the town has now diversified towards insurance and banking. The Royal Bank of Scotland, Aviva and Scottish and Southern Energy are all now major employers in Perth.

Flying To Perth

Perth, Scotland (UK)

Panasonic DMC-FX9 @ 5.8 mm | f5.6, 1/800s, ISO 80.

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Midnight Sunset At Oban Harbour

Due to the high latitude of Scotland, during summers the nights are so short and the day is so long. In fact, I think that it is a eternal blue hour after sunset, the darkness does not go to the sky.

After visiting the Isle Of Skye, we came back to the Highlands, taking a ferri in Armadale, and we finished spending our night in a hotel near Oban – the harbour in the picture.

Midnight Sunset At Oban Harbour

Oban Harbour, Scotland (UK)

Panasonic DMC-FX9 @ 5.8 mm | f2.8, 1/4s, ISO 80.

Towards Storr

The Storr is a rocky hill on the Trotternish peninsula of the Isle of Skye. The hill presents a steep rocky eastern face overlooking the Sound of Raasay, contrasting with gentler grassy slopes to the west.

The area in front of the cliffs of the Storr is known as the Sanctuary. This has a number of weirdly shaped rock pinnacles, the remnants of ancient landslips. One of the most famous of these is known as the Old Man of Storr.

The A855 road, just north of Loch Leathan, directs our way to the Storr lighted by the transient light when the clouds are opened.

Amm, I forgot to describe that in this picture there is an adition to the typical elements of the Scottish scenery – the grey tones in the sky and the green grass – a couple of sheeps on the right foreground ;-).

Towards Storr

Trotternish, Isle Of Skye, Scotland (UK)

Panasonic DMC-FX9 @ 5.8 mm | f5.6, 1/320s, ISO 80.

Eilean Donan Castle Panorama

I was in Scotland 5 years ago and I have recovered two photos from the most famous castle and merged them in a panorama. I hope that you enjoy the image as I have done remembering my 7-days road-trip there …

Eilean Donan (Scottish Gaelic Eilean Donnáin), is a small island in Loch Duich in the western Highlands of Scotland. It is connected to the mainland by a footbridge and lies about half a mile from the village of Dornie. Eilean Donan (which means simply “island of Donnán”) is named after Donnán of Eigg, a Celtic saint martyred in the Dark Ages. The island is dominated by a picturesque castle. The castle is located near Kyle of Lochalsh, one of the accesses to the Isle of Skye, that you know it is my favourite place from the Highlands.

The original castle was built in the early 13th century as a defence against the Vikings.By the late 13th century it had become a stronghold of the Mackenzies of Kintail (later the Earls of Seaforth). In 1511, the Macraes, as protectors of the Mackenzies, became the hereditary Constables of the Castle.

In 1539 Iain Dubh Matheson, chief of the Clan Matheson died whilst defending the Castle on Eilean Donan island against the Clan MacDonald of Sleat on behalf of the Clan Macrae and Clan Mackenzie.

In April 1719 the castle was occupied by Spanish troops attempting to start another Jacobite Rising. The castle was recaptured, and then demolished, by three Royal Navy frigates on 10–13 May 1719. The Spanish troops were defeated a month later at the Battle of Glen Shiel.

The castle was restored in the years between 1919 and 1932 by Lt. Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap. The restoration included the construction of an arched bridge to give easier access to the castle. In 1983 The Conchra Charitable Trust was formed by the Macrae family to care for the Castle. A curious distinction is that it has one of only two left-handed spiral staircases in a castle in Great Britain, as the reigning king at the time of building held a sword with his left hand. One strange feature of the castle today is the grey field gun from the Great War, positioned outside the building by a war memorial and fountain dedicated to the men of the Macrae clan who died in the war.

Eilean Donan is the home of the Clan Macrae. In 2001, the island had a population of just one person ;-).

The Castle has appeared in a lot of films such as Highlander (1986),Entrapment (1999), The World Is Not Enough (1999),Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), Made of Honor (2007) and in the television series The New Avengers (1976) and Oliver’s Travels (1995) …

Eilean Donan Castle Panorama

Dornie, Scotland (UK)

Panasonic DMC-FX9 | f5.6, 1/320s, ISO 80.

Boats At Portree Harbour

The Isle of Skye and its surrounding environment are from my point of view, the best scenery in Scotland. If you have only the opportunity to be a few days here, you should go to the Eilean Donan Castle and to cross the channel until this isle. I know that I didn’t see the overall isle, just a few sites but it is amazing to visit the Kilt Rock Fall, the Storr, the Dunvegan Castle, … and other ones that I didn’t see like Elgol, Cullin Hills …

The main town in the island is Portree. The current name comes from the Scottish Gaelic ‘Port Rìgh’, that can be translated as ‘king’s harbour’, possibly from a visit by King James V of Scotland in 1540. The older name appears to have been Port Ruighe(adh), ‘slope harbour’.

In the picture, a tipical panorama from the harbour, with the green mountains on the background in contrast with a silver gray sky and the usual transient light.

Boats At Portree Harbour

Portree Harbour, Isle of Skye, Scotland (UK)

Panasonic DMC-FX9 | f5.6, 1/500s, ISO 80.

St. Andrews View

From the top of St. Rule’s Tower, it can be seen this admirable panorama of the St Andrews town, the sea and the surrounding countryside. This tower is located in the Cathedral grounds but predates it, and it was probably itself part of the Cathedral up to the early 12th century. The name of the tower comes from a legend that credits that St. Rule (also known as St. Regulus), brought the relics of St. Andrew to the area from their original location at Patras in Greece. It was beautifully built in grey sandstone ashlar, and immensely tall, it is a land-and sea-mark seen from many miles away. Its prominence doubtless meant to guide pilgrims to the place of the Apostle’s relics.

The ruins of the St. Andrew’s Cathedral are located in the foreground. The cathedral was of the Bishops (later Archbishops) of St. Andrews from its foundation in 1158 until it fell into disuse after the Reformation. The ruins indicate the great size of the building at 350 feet (over 100 metres) long. They are surrounded by a cementery with so much tombs that can be view along the view.

Near the shoreline, at the East wall, they are the ruins of the St. Andrews Castle and the West Sands beach.

St. Andrews View From The Top Of St. Rule's Tower
St Andrews, Fife, Scotland (UK)

Panasonic DMC-FX9 | f2.8, 1/320s, ISO 80.