Somewhere in the Scottish Highlands.

Landscapes in Passing

Charlene general 6 Comments

June 2016, United Kingdom & Ireland.

Back in June, my Mum and I spent 2 weeks on a bus tour in the UK and Ireland. Quite by chance, we were in “town” when Brexit happened, with 38 other people and our tour guide: a British resident who is a Canadian of South African descent.

This isn’t about walls though. This is about windows.

charlene-winfred-england-5184

Heading away from Stonehenge, England.

It was a mad tour. Having never been on anything like this, I think I’ve only just recovered from the shock of sight seeing (something I generally loathe) on steroids.

I’ve been a nomad for close to 4 years now, and in that time have moved around very slowly, often staying several weeks in a particular spot. I take a long interest in most new things, and that generally requires more than 15 minutes to appreciate where I am, before being whisked away to another historical site, slapped with a random list of 5 facts and herded on.

A busking bagpiper in Ireland. Yes, Ireland.

A busking bagpiper in Ireland. Yes, Ireland.

You can probably guess it wasn’t my dream holiday.

It was more National Lampoon’s Vacation really, replete with the classic Grand Canyon scene experience.

I would have laughed a lot more at the madness if I wasn’t so busy being a grouch. I worked every night in those 2 weeks, to meet a deadline that coincided with the end of the tour. 12 hours being dragged around Today’s 15 Big Things, lengthy dinners, then having to gather my remaining unfried brain cells (all 2 of them) to power through 3 hours of work was… not the most productive thing I’ve ever done.

Also, I’m not really the sight seeing type. Have I mentioned that?

Road to nowhere, although I think were were either headed towards, or in the Scottish Highlands.

Road to nowhere, although I think were were either headed towards, or in the Scottish Highlands.

A bus tour seemed the best compromise for our mother-daughter holiday though. Mum likes to sight see, do things, have lots of input. I mostly like to wander around aimlessly, and do nothing in one place for a long time.

Mother and daughter are polar opposites in travel.

So this had lots of activity and input for Mum, and lots of downtime for me on a comfy tour bus (hours of driving everyday), with built in opportunities to shoot for someone fairly practiced in making pictures on public transport.

Clouds like fire. Somewhere in Scotland.

Clouds like fire. Somewhere in Scotland.

And we certainly did get to whizz by some gorgeous scenery, the kind I’ve never seen before. Got a feel for some remarkable towns and cities all through the United Kingdom and Ireland. If i had more than ten minutes to think about it, I might have told you I loved Dublin, Waterford, or York. I can definitely tell you my jaw hit the floor when we entered Edinburgh, and is probably still trying to get into the Castle. I wish London (that street photographer’s mecca) had been more than a transit point, but given both Mum and I went bankrupt after buying a coffee each, maybe it was for the best.

So, when I win the lottery, I’m redoing the entire fortnight’s itinerary in a couple of years. With time to meander, down every single little street. Stare at breathtaking views for hours on end and just take it all in.

Ah, the lotto dream.

Edinburgh, Scotland. Ok I cheated with this one, because we were on foot, during what was actually a completely free day.

Edinburgh, Scotland. Ok I cheated with this one, because we were on foot, during what was actually a completely free day.

Stratford-Upon-Avon, aka the home of Shakespeare. We spent 2 hours in this pretty little town, mostly hunting down lunch.

Stratford-Upon-Avon, aka the home of Shakespeare. We spent 2 hours in this pretty little town, mostly hunting down lunch.

The first glimpse of Ireland, after 3-ish hours crossing the Irish sea on the ferry.

The first glimpse of Ireland, after 3-ish hours crossing the Irish sea on the ferry.

Tram stop outside the National Leprechaun Museum, an most delightful place.

Tram stop outside the National Leprechaun Museum, an most delightful place.

Aerial. On the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland.

Aerial. On the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland.

I think this was a scene from somewhere along the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. Your guess is as good as mine.

I think this was a scene from somewhere along the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. Your guess is as good as mine.

A loch. Not Ness. Scotland.

A loch. Not Ness. Scotland.

A glen in the Scottish Highlands. If you look carefully in the lower left corner, you can see a 3-pixel high person on the trail. The Highlands, or what 5 minutes of them I registered, were remarkable beyond any words I have.

A glen in the Scottish Highlands. If you look carefully in the lower left corner, you can see a 3-pixel high person on the trail. The Highlands, or what 5 minutes of them I registered, were remarkable beyond any words I have.

Got 15 minutes to snap a picture of Caerphilly Castle, one of the great medieval castles in Wales. Caerphilly was the castle that revolutionized military fortification planning back in the 1200s. Heaps more nerdy info here (good stuff, I promise): http://www.castlewales.com/caerphil.html

Got 15 minutes to snap a picture of Caerphilly Castle, one of the great medieval castles in Wales. Caerphilly was the castle that set the standard for military fortification back in the 1200s. Heaps more nerdy info here (good stuff, I promise).

Belfast, Nothern Ireland. The only time you're going to hear me say this: we drove around the city with a local guide on the mic. Ken gave us an intense, rending account of the city and the history of the Troubles.

Belfast, Nothern Ireland. The only time you’re going to hear me say this: we drove around the city with a local guide on the mic. Ken gave us an intense, rending account of the city and the history of the Troubles. It was an incredible 2 hours.

One more of Edinburgh, only because all that layering of the old part of town was dumbfoundingly grand. I could stand at this corner for days and never tire of that geometry.

One more of Edinburgh, only because all that layering of the old part of town was dumbfoundingly grand. I could stand at this corner for days and never tire of that geometry.

Bill, a tour mate, reflected. I have absolutely no idea where we were when this picture was made.

Bill, a tour mate, reflected. I have absolutely no idea where we were when this picture was made.

After a few days of watching me taking pictures on the bus, Mum started to get into it too.

After a few days of watching me taking pictures on the bus, Mum started to get into it too.

Comments 6

  1. Well, whatever the trip was during, here it’s delightful: wonderfully madcap with stunning images, and somehow the fact you barely know where so many were taken enhances them, makes them more exotic or something. Anyhow, love, love, love this whole post.

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  2. Wow! Just incredible pictures. The mood in colors, reflections, and shapes – fantastic. Not just a “this is what it looked like”, but what it felt like. Outstanding. And I enjoyed the article too. 😉 Sorry if that’s overboard, but this is a really great post from top to bottom.
    I hope we can always see through windows instead of stare at walls.
    Thanks for sharing.

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      Sean,

      I never object to that kind of overboard 😉 But thank you. Walls are inevitable, I think, but here’s to more windows, and doors.

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