Monday, 28 February 2011

The Sperrins and Ancient Stones

The Sperrins in Ulster are ideal for walking as you can have flat, gentle undulating routes in the valleys and lower hills on prepared paths or the more exciting high walking on the high ridges that offer such spectacular views. The lower walks can be arranged so you come across fascinating megalithic monuments that are over two thousand years old.
One of the most incredible is here at Beaghmore where you’ll find nine circles mixed in with burial mounds and field boundaries that have been here since the Bronze Age and beyond.
Standing stones, dolmens and chamber tombs abound here and if you’re into history you will have a superb time. What is also good about the area is the back up information you can get about its history at purpose built centres, such as the an Creagán visitor center designed to reflect the Stone Age culture. It also has purpose built nature walks that take you deep into the boglands where you can explore plants, birds and animals.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

These gannets are flying overhead on the Saltee Islands of the southern Irish Coast. If you want to read a fascinating history just Google them and sit back and be amazed. They're privately owned by Prince Michael O'Niell who has a throne on the island. His father stylised himself King when he bought the islands in 1943  and it really is an incredible story.
The gannets haven't been here that long and this colony is a good example of how their population is exploding in Europe as the search for nesting places gets ever wider.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Pancake Day

Well Shrove Tuesday is nearly upon us, only another two weeks and already we have started planning for the races. here are last years winners with David from the blue Bell who sponsors the races. Apparantly everyone is practicing like mad to retain their trophies!! Have a great day now.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Zaragossa, Spain

Welcome to Zaragossa in northern Spain. I love this really interesting fountain and the globe with the land and sea in relief. Also the mixture of old and modern architecture is also interesting. It's an amazing city with a warren/maze of tiny streets with bars and tapas restaurants. Lots of Arabic influence and a section of the Roman walls still standing as well.  

Thursday, 24 February 2011

German or Italian or Austrian

Until 1919 the South Tyrol was part of Austria when it was ceded to Italy. Indeed you would be forgiven for thinking you were in the Tyrol itself as the churches all have that distinctive green onion dome and the tongue you hear spoken is German.
In fact the cuisine here is superb as it is mixture of Alpine and Mediterranean, during my visit I had some homemade spinach ravioli whilst Deborah tucked in to Kaiserschaam, a cross between a pancake and an omlette that had been cut into strips, covered with sugar and served with home made cranberry jam. Over 300,000 Italians use German or German related languages as their everyday speech, some have their own TV and Radio stations.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Landing on the Antarctic mainland

There are some times in life when you feel so chuffed with your self you can't help crowing about it. Here we are landing on the Antarctic Continent. It does feel good to know that you are one of very few people on the planet to have done that. Have a great day now wherever you are.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Glacier in Antarctic Sound.

Aren't glaciers incredible things? This one is in the Antarctic Sound. Enough said really. Take care now.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Ushuaia, Tierra de Fuego

I'm sure you're all thinking this is a riveting picture!! In fact this is Ushuaia the world's most southerly city in Teirra del Fuego. You can see the Andes really do come right down to the tip of South America. Take care now.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Deception Island Ash

This picture of tourists standing on the ash and beside parts of the old whaling station on Deception Island was taken on a summer's day. That's not a different island in the distance but the other side of the volcanic crater.  The island is listed as an active volcano! 

Friday, 18 February 2011

The Northumbrian Coble

This is a Northumbrian coble, the traditional fishing  bopat of the Northeast coast coming into Beadnell harbopur, Northumberland. To the beginner the very term coble can be confusing as it covers a range of sizes and patterns. They could be any size between 12 and 38 feet long with the average being about 30 foot with a beam of 8 feet although some were as long as 50 feet.

The coble is to be found roughly from The Firth of Forth as far south as Bridlington in Yorkshire.
However just as the accent changes as one travels through this area so does the coble (pronounced as in noble). In general the Northumberland sailing coble for example wasn't so wide as the cobles you find in the East Riding these days.

In Yorkshire too the word is pronounced "cobble" (as in hobble) and when I once interviewed Andrew Rutter who had sailed cobles out of Seahouses he told me “The sailing rig of the Yorkshire boats was regarded by the old Northumberland men, as vastly inferior to that of their boats, having four times the amount of rope to run before the sail was down!”

There are very few harbours on this coast so the keelless coble evolved to suit the often stormy surf conditions and to launch and land on the long flat bottomed beaches. This is due in no small way to the main features of the coble being a deep forefoot and a flat bottom towards the stern. This deep forefoot steadies the boat whilst the wave drives her up the slope on her drafts.

Have a great day wherever you are.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Spices in India?

Well I don't actually know what these are. They were on one of several stalls in Ahmedabad's main market area. I don't think they're spices so maybe they're some sort of incense powders? The stall holders didn't speak English and it's really getting to me that I didn't find out. Can anyone tell me? Have great day now.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Sheathbill on Ship's Jacuzzi

This sheathbill landed on the ship's Jacuzzi just offshore from Port Lecroy on the west coast of the Antarctic peninsula. As you can see they don't have webbed feet and are also notorious for hitching a ride on ships as they're not great flyers. They live in the penguin colonies and because they don't have webbed feet are very fast runners so they nip in the second the penguin is off the nest and grab the eggs or youg chicks.
This one was obviuosly enjoying the warmth of the jacuzzi as it conveniently posed for me for about twenty minutes. Take care now and enjoy your day.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Bedouin in Wadi Araba, Jordan

I have always been a bit upset over the way the people in the Middle East often treat their animals. That aside the reason why I took this picture was that this Bedouin in Wadi Araba, Jordan is only wearing one shoe! I don't know why but there you go. Enjoy your day now.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Deception Island

Deception Island has got to be one of the world's strangest and most evocotive places. Listed as an active volcano it lies in the southern end of the South Shetlands and as you can see steam rises from the Antarctic soil. Although this isn't soil but some nine inches of volcanic ash from the last eruption the 1970s. You can see the remains of the old whaling station in the background.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is one of those capitals that has a village feel to it, certainly in the centre with is old corrugated iron buildings, and stone Nordic architecture you get the feeling of an up market Norse fishing settlement. Th picture above is th eoldest building in the city.

The harbour was no more than a minutes walk from our hotel and the small lake where we managed to see glaucous gull. scaup, eider and whooper swan merely another three minutes!

Iceland’s has a trap in store for your body clock though. For a start you’re flying an hour ahead of our time but because of its latitude it doesn’t get and the dark until much later. In May we were sitting in a restaurant at midnight and it was still twilight. I asked our guide what it was like tin the winter. ”Not to bad” he replied ”It gets light at noon and dark again at half past two in the afternoon!’

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Sweet Shop, Kowloon

I just love the colours in this sweet shop in Kowloon. Plus our guide Winnie is wearing a red waistcoat whch also helps boost the picture and stops it being a bit pallid. Have a great day now.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Iceburgs in the Weddell Sea

You forget how much of an iceberg is actually under the water.  I took these from the deck in front of the observation lounge at about 5.30 in the morning. It had snowed during the night and the ship had a layer about two inches deep. The Argentinians on board were very excited and made snowmen! Have a great day now wherever you are.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Murals Sardinia

Another one of those amazing murals from Sardinia. Notice here how the artist has even painted in the shadow of the man. Have a great day wherever you are.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Tobago Cays and Tourism

I know we looked at the Tobago Cays quite recently but I just love them and hope they can survive. So here they are again. Back to Italy tomorrow as some of you have asked for more murals! Have a great day now.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Chinstraps, Half Moon Island - South Shetland Islands

These Chinstraps are on Half Moon Island in the South Shetland Islands. You can see the ground is tainted pink by their guano as their principle food is krill. Have a great day now wherever you are.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Albatross Across the Drake Passage.

Not quite in focus but this Wandering Albatross was such a sight I don't really mind.  It flew alongside the ship as we crossed the Drake Passage on our way to Antarctica. Some one once wrote " I have joined a higher cult of men becuase I have seen the albatross." I know exactly what he means. Have a great day now.

Sunday, 6 February 2011


What a truly awesome place. You can't even begin to explain it to someone and the photographs no matter how good they are simply do not do it justice.