Saturday, November 17, 2012

Scottish Hols–Oban and Mull

Since coming back from my hols it seems that there are either more accidents or they are getting more coverage her in the Flatlands. Of course some of it might be to do with the change from British Summer Time.

In this case two cyclists were injured after a crash in Cambridge.  Apparently it was on Cromwell Road, a route I take back from the station sometimes. I can’t really imagine what the cause was on that road. Three deaths were also reported on the region’s roads in 48 hours, not cycling related, but a pretty sobering statistic. (Two involved HGVs though). A bus also crashed through railings of the Cambridge Park in Victoria Avenue – the bus has been inspected and had no fault though.

There have also been suggestions to ban young drivers from having passengers (for 9 months) from the Transport Secretary. Whilst the National Trust Chairman has said he would tear down 90% of Britain’s traffic lights.  That is an interesting statement from the Chairman of an organisation that can be rather controlling – well if the various fences and cattle grids along the Lodes way is anything to go by.

A that same time that there is talk of restricting young drivers a “car” has been developed that 16-year –olds can drive. It meets certain power and weight and speed restrictions and only takes two.

Also relevant is whilst I have been going on about Peak Oil (the point at which the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached) and how give the world macro-economic situation it is bound to go up in price there is talk of the US becoming the biggest oil producer and to being exporting (by 2030). Apparently the “boom” is based on the high price petroleum can reach which makes more exotic techniques for oil extraction viable (fracking). Which doesn’t suddenly make petrol cheap and plentiful – and there is concern based on the environmental impact.

Talking of which Kilimanjaro may soon be ice free – whilst some would argue this is not about manmade global warming there are changes afoot.

And whilst on ice – some beautiful picture of Iceland icebergs. Now on with my holiday pictures and talking about the sea…

When I was a boy we used to go up to Scotland  for our Summer Hols fairly often – maybe because we had relatives there.  We used to stay mainly on the Wet West Coast, although occasionally we would visit Edinburgh.  We did visit some of the islands though because that is where my grandparents came from (one of the islands).

Today's pictures feature a bit of Mull and a bit of Oban, although not in that order. We visited Oban and caught the ferry to Mull and back.  The weather was pretty reasonable considering and the seas were very smooth considering.

we did have our elevenses on boat and I believe it is important to support local business and although my wife thought it was a little early I felt duty bound to support the Isle of Mull Brewing Company  by trying one of their beers (Here is their FB page). This beer was named after a Sailor – Admiral Sir Percy Noble. It was a jolly nice beer.

Isle of Mull Brewing Company
Terror of Tobermory

As we approached Mull and Duart Castle I did wonder if the zoom on my camera had gone wrong – the castle was looking a wee bit smaller than I had remembered. But no the castle hadn’t shrunk nor had my camera gone wrong it was Black’s Memorial Lighthouse a mile south of the castle. (William Black was a novelist born in Glasgow in 1841.)

William Black’s Memorial Lighthouse, Mull

Don’t worry there is a picture of the castle later on. I took loads of pictures of the castle – but in the interests of preserving broadband bandwidth I have only included one in this post. The castle is the ancestral home of the Clan Maclean and was restored in 1910 after a turbulent history.

One of the best bits was being able to go up to the top of the castle and admire the fantastic views out across the sea.  Whilst we were there we saw a complete rainbow – fortunately although I took several pictures in sequence it didn’t stitch together very well using Photoshop Elements – see here is most of the rainbow.

The view form Duart Castel, Mull – A rainbow out to sea

This is Duart Castle seen as we were heading back to Oban on board the ferry once more.

Duart Castle, Mull

As we made our way back I took loads (and I mean loads of pictures) very few made it onto the post though – sorry. I should have included Lady’s Rock – because of the history – but visually I was drawn to this lighthouse.  This is Eilean Musdile an islet with a lighthouse to the southwest of Lismore in the Inner Hebrides. It was built by Robert Stevenson (a Scottish civil engineer) in 1833.

Lighthouse on Eilean Musdile, between Mull and Oban

As we headed back to Oban I rather liked this little island – which through the power of maps and satellite views and Wikipedia turns out to be Maiden island, it is 28m above sea level.

Maiden Island at the Mouth of Oban Bay

On the other side of the boat was the last large island before the mainland (Oban) – Kerrera. I don’t mean that wee thing in the middle of the  Sound of Kerrera. That doesn’t seem to have a name. This map of the Isle of Kerrera shows it as Heather Island. (From this website Kerrera ferry.)

Heather Island - Sound of Kerrera (Oban/Kerrera)

My brother and I, although we were young when we stayed in Oban, were allowed to explore on our own and we often used to visit this place – I know it as McCaig’s Folly – but it is known as McCaig’s Tower. It is a folly built on Battery Hill. It was built to both provide a lasting monument to John Stuart McCaig’s family and partly to provide work for the local stonemasons during the winter months. Unfortunately the aforementioned JS McCaig died before anything other than the outer wall was built. The planned museum, art gallery and central tower were never built.

McCaig’s Tower Oban

The strange thing is that since the last visit (as a younger, fitter and lighter person) the Tower has been moved further up the hill and the number of steps to it have also been increased. Well it felt like that after walking up to it.

McCaig’s Tower, Oban

There views from Batter Hill across Oban Bay ware amazing – this is the ferry on its way back to Mull. The ferry was called the MV Isle of Mull and run by Caledonian MacBrayne- commonly known as CalMac.  The monument in this picture is on Kerrera and is apparently the Hutchison Monument commemorating David Hutchison, one of the founders of CalMac.

Wikipedia shows the name as Hutchison – whereas the OS map is marked as Hutcheson’s Memorial – indeed it seems either that Wikipedia is slightly wrong – or he spelt his name two ways. This map of the Isle of Kerrera shows it as Hutcheson’s Monument.

This timeline of the history of CalMac shows the name as David Hutcheson – so perhaps a slight Wiki mistake?

MV Isle of Mull Heading to Mull with Hutcheson’s Monument on the isle of Kerrera

And finally – “celebs on bikes” – well Samantha Cameron and some picture links – some stunning landscapes, still-medieval Japan and an Exhibition of winning Press photography.

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