Saturday, October 1, 2011

A weekend in Scotland part 1

Sometime in September: 2011: After what seemed ages we got to a Scotland after passing some beautiful scenery and finding that my SatNav didn’t actually “know” the road we were on. It then just shows the direction and straight line distance. At this point you hope that the road will re-join the route you are supposed to be on – it did, but in the other direction fortunately there was a roundabout where I was able to go return to the right direction.

We then found ourselves on another new road heading towards the Firth of the Forth Road Bridge. We were a little surprised because my Map Book shows it as a toll road, but it wasn’t when we crossed over. A looked on the Web shows that it stopped charging tolls back in February 2008 and the bridge snaps wires at ‘one a month’. When I was a lad we often used to holiday in Scotland and I have been over the bridge a few times, although we usually holidayed on the west coast.  This bridge was notable for the idea that it was being continuously painted, no sooner had the painters reached the end than they started again at the other end. Well no more – the current paint will not need renewing for 25 years.

Mind you our journey didn’t stop there, we carried onto Dundee after the Satnav re-routed us and then we heard over the radio that a road had been closed because of a car fire. The welcome we got was very warm, there is a common misconception that the Scots are dour folk – well not around here they are not.  This was the view that evening from our hotel window – it was quite windy and the sea was fairly rough.


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The picture was taken through window which is why it is a little blurry.

The next morning it was much calmer – this is the Tay Road Bridge in case you were wondering.

At this point the weather didn’t look too promising – in fact there were showers forecast and indeed that is what we got – sunny spells and showers through the day.

This is a view of the railway bridge over the Tay – scene of the Tay Bridge Disaster then on a stormy Dec night in 1879 the central navigational spans collapsed – “taking with them a train, 6 carriages and 75 souls to their fate”.

The Tay Road Bridge was opened in August 1966. There is a pedestrian amd cycle way down the middle and at the Dundee end (at least, we didn’t go to the other side) there is a cycle lift. NCN1 passes down the middle.

A close-up of the bridge. It looks well for a bridge that is 45 years old.

Also along the Quay was the RRS Discovery, used by Robert Sott and Ernest Shackleton on their first successful journey to Antarctica. (RRS – Royal Research Ship).  As is common there have been several vessels that have taken the name Discovery including the Space Shuttle Discovery. (The first – Discovery 1602 was on a voyage when the crew mutinied and left their captain Henry Hudson adrift.

A view of the Tay Road Bridge from underneath.

The quayside where a lot of change seems to be taking place including to the bridge ramps.

As is common there has been some gentrification of the docks area – with offices and apartments – ending up with a fantastic view over the estuary. The city accounts for 10% of the UK’s digital-entertainment industry apparently.

The bridge from the other side – of the bridge not the estuary.

More places to live along the Estuary.

You’ve guess it the Tay Road Bridge again.

The view across the estuary – as you can see the sunny spells are around.

There is still some shipping activity it seems – with a re-opened dock.

A commemoration of RRS Discovery – this is the shape of the keel of the ship – although scaled down I think.

Another view of the sculpture.

A board explaining the sculpture and with a map of the docks area.

This was not intended to be a picture of the bridge – again. It was actually trying to capture the blob of red (balloon) on a greyish scene. I am not sure where the other 98 were.

I’ve always liked this track.

99 Red Balloons

High-tech windows

An old lightship moored – it presumably did duty for the North Carr Rock.

Signs of a time gone by – the old docks were served by numerous rail tracks all converging on the main line.

I only wish we’d had more time to explore Dundee.

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