Saturday, June 27, 2015

Favorite Photos of the Spring

     It has been a great spring for photography.  In Scotland and at home there have been some fun opportunities.  This post represents some of my favorites which haven't appeared in other posts.

Scenic Scotland
A burn flowing from the Glencoe mountains in the Scottish Highlands.
The road through a birch forest near Ballater, east of Aberdeen.

The rolling hills of Perthshire, central Scotland.

A thatch-roofed cottage on the Isle of Skye.


Our Scottish niece, Ailsa, on Speech Day (similar to graduation day).

This could be any shop in any country and the man sits waiting while the lady shops.  Doesn't he look like Smiler from the TV show "Last of the Summer Wine"?

The Throw.  A participant in the heavy-weight-over-the-head throw contest at the Newport Highland Games. The weight is 56 pounds and it's thrown one-hands over a 13 foot bar.

Japanese tourists on a rainy day in Edinburgh.

A rainy day in Elgin, Scotland.

The Birds and the Beasts

A peacock at Scone Palace, Scotland.

Dragon fly at The Oregon Gardens, Silverton, Oregon.

Discovered this Scottish robin sitting on the outside mirror of my car in the B&B parking lot.

Swallow Tail butterfly at the Oregon Gardens.

Saw this nasty critter one day on the lid of our recycle bin.  He's about an inch and half long and didn't look friendly.  Any ideas what he is?
Fruit and Veg Displays--I may not eat all I should, but I like the displays.

House of Briar in the Scottish Highlands.

A small shop in the Highlands near Banchory.

Gloagburn Farm near Perth.

It may not be fruit or veg, but this homemade bread bowl of beef stew was a great lunch at the Watermill in Blair Atholl.

A dahlia in our Canby back yard.

The next three are all from the Oregon Garden in Silverton.


Queen Anne's Lace (I think) and Latourelle waterfall.

Wahkeena Falls.  Both Latourelle and Wahkeena are in the Columbia River Gorge.
The Stones of Calanais (Callanish, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland).


Now comes your part:  Tell me which photos you particularly like.  I'm interested in which ones catch the most attention.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Fishing boat returns to harbour on Isle of Skye.

      Our recent trip to Scotland was filled with sightseeing, fun activities, family and more., but two parts of the trip will be highlighted in this post: the golf we played and the places we found to eat.  Besides those threads, I’ll end this post with a report on a Celtic festival Anne and I attended in Newport, Oregon.  First, though,…
THE GOLF.  On this trip we played 16 rounds on ten different courses, walked 72 miles, and had some wonderful experiences.  Some golf highlights (not in order of play) start with the round we played at Crail Balcomie Links on the East Neuk of the Kingdom of Fife on the east coast of Scotland about 10 miles from St Andrews.  
Crail Balcomie Links

Not only is the course a classic ancient (mid-1800s) course that is ranked in the Top 100 in the world, but the day was perfect for golf beside the sea—reasonably warm for this spring and with no wind.  After both of us scored well on the course, 
Rescue boat in Anstruther harbour.

Fishing boat leaves Anstruther harbour.

Pittenweem harbour.

we drove south along the sea and scored well with photos at two of the picturesque small ports of Fife.
At both Montrose Medal Course (along the east coast) 
Montrose Medal GC.

and Fortrose and Rosmarkie GC (on the Black Isle a little north of Inverness) 
Anne dressed for the cold, but sunny weather.

Fortrose and Rosemarkie GC on the Black Isle.

we fought cold winds in the 20-30 mile per hour range even though the skies were relatively clear.  The wind was down at Boat of Garten Golf and Tennis Club in the Highland village of Boat of Garten, 
The two of us at a great Highland course, Boat of Garten.

but the surrounding mountains of Cairngorm National Park showed a serious dusting of fresh snow.  I actually was down to short sleeves for a few holes at Boat, but playing through the shade of the trees convinced me it was still winter in Scotland and I put my jumper (sweater) back on. 
The find of the trip in terms of golf was the Isle of Harris GC on the Outer Hebridean island of Harris  This nine-hole course is set just above the sands of Scarista Beach with grand views of the North Atlantic ocean.  The course is quirky (in a good way) with blind shots and entertaining holes. 
Teeing off at the 1st on Isle of Harris GC.

One special condition of play at Isle of Harris GC is the almost constant wind which was in the 25-35 mph range the day I played (Anne walked and took notes and photos; too windy for her).  As I came down to the green at the first hole, a hole which plays down from the daylight-basement-style clubhouse to the green next to the beach, I couldn’t see the flag.  
Flag is down, but the beach is lovely at Isle of Harris.  

As I got closer I saw the flag laying on the green.  It had been blown out by the wind; in fact, the only hole that didn’t have its flag blown out was the ninth which is protected by dunes on three sides.  The round at Isle of Harris GC was a rustic adventure in golf the way it was 50 years ago.  Fantastic!
This trip we played several times at our course, St Fillans GC, where we are members, but two rounds stand out.  First, one Sunday towards the end of the trip we got to share our course with fellow Oregonians and friends Eric and Linda Mihata.  
Eric and Linda Mihata at St Fillans GC.

It was a joy to have them play the lovely Highland course we call our Scottish home course.  I think they, too, came away with a better idea of why we spend so much time in Scotland.  Second, on our last day in Crieff before coming home Anne and I got to be on our club’s team in a competition against rivals from Muthill GC.  
Gathering the teams before our match with Muthill GC.

It was a fun match which the St Fillans’ team won 4-2, even though Anne and I lost our match to Jim and Hazel from Muthill by three holes.  There was plenty of convivial conversation over the nice dinner put on by St Fillans manager Gordon Hibbert.  Indeed, a grand golfing trip!
THE FOOD REPORT.  Anne and I usually eat well on our trips, but there were some interesting notes on this trip.  Our dining adventures ranged from the classy to the rustic to the unexpected.  Representing the classy were two of our favorites in Scotland.  First is Yann’s in Crieff (next door to our B&B, Merlindale).  
A birthday dinner of small bites at Yann's.

We ate at Yann’s three times this trip—we took Jacky and Ailsa once, Eric and Linda once, and the special treat was Jacky’s birthday party at Yann’s. 
Jacky with her birthday cake and more small bites.

The birthday party was on a closed day for the restaurant so Yann let me do some photos in the kitchen as he worked preparing a special small bites menu for Jacky.  
Yann works in the small, but efficient restaurant kitchen.

I like to do a little cooking, but (Wow!) it was a thrill to see a real French chef at work. Next in the fine dining category is Anderson’s in Boat of Garten.  
Dinner at Anderson's in Boat of Garten.

We usually make this stop for our last meal when staying in our Aviemore timeshare.  Dinner is always excellent and the atmosphere outstanding. 
A lovely house in Boat of Garten. 

After dinner we walked through the neighborhood which was lovely in the early evening.  
Rustic fits two pubs to a tee.  When on the Isle of Skye we will often stop for lunch at the oldest pub on the island, The Stein Inn.  
Server at the Stein Inn, the oldest pub on the Isle of Skye.

Located on a finger peninsula right on the water, this is a lovely pub which serves good food.  It’s welcome relief from the storm which whenever we’re there seems to rage outside.  The other nice pub is the Cross Keys Inn in Kippen near Stirling in central Scotland.  This trip we took Eric and Linda there so they could get a taste of a Scottish pub.  

The warming fire at Cross Keys in Kippen.
While the food is always well-prepared, Anne and I found that hare isn’t our favorite meat (sort of has the consistency and flavor of liver)—we’ll know not to try it again.
We didn’t expect to find some of the best wood-fired pizza we’ve ever had when we went to the       Sutor Creek Cafe in Cromarty after golf at Fortrose.  
Sutor Creek Cafe with great pizzas.

After 2:00 PM the cafe only serves pizza, but let me tell you that’s all they need to serve.  Outrageously good!  It was also unexpected when we chose the an Lanntair Cafe in Stornaway, Isle of Lewis, for a dinner that we’d also find a local session (music) starting about the time we finished dinner. 
A pub session in Stornaway.

Music sessions are easy to find in Ireland, but we’ve only caught a few in Scotland and this one was the best.  The pub dinner wasn’t too bad either.  This trip seemed to be exceptionally good for eating, yet neither of us gained weight—at least not too much. 
THE NEWPORT HIGHLAND GAMES AND CELTIC FESTIVAL.  Anne and I attended the 5th Annual Newport Games last weekend as vendors—we displayed and sold books and photos, more photos than books.  It’s a great family event with clan booths, sellers of all things Scottish (and Irish and Welsh), ethnic food including the infamous haggis, herding dog demonstrations, Highland event competitions (including caber toss, weight for height, etc.), and music and dancing all the time.  Take a look at some photos from the event.
Our small table set up to sell books and photos at Newport.

A festival goer wearing a t-shirt from the Portland Highland Games.

Dancers on the outdoor stage.

That's a 53# weight he's throwing over a bar 13 foot high.

Jose Le Bihan from Portland sings songs of Celtic Brittany (France).

An impromptu ceili (Scottish dance) happens while Pipedance from Lincoln City plays.

Brother, a Celtic rock group from Ashland, was the headline group of the festival.

Round and round go the yarn spinners.

Maybe you can plan to join us for the 6th Annual Newport Games next year.

NEXT POST: Favorite photos from this spring.