St Kilda – Island on the edge of the world.

Anyone who saunters through my blog will very soon find that I was, for over 28 years, an Army man, a soldier, a squaddie!

This involved living in all sorts of weird places, in peculiar circumstances, and doing all sorts of things that the average joe doesn’t get to experience.

One of the places I lived was on the remote island of Hirta, in the archipelago of St Kilda. In all I spent over 8 months there, normally on a rotational basis of 6 weeks on, 12 weeks off. You can read a little about it here, and here.

During my time there I don’t think that I ever experienced the superb 4 day block of good weather that Angus Mackie and his group of kayakers did for their trip that is shown here.

This post is not about me but it does show a place that is dear to my heart, and to anyone who has ever been lucky enough to experience it.

Just as anyone who has experienced a true desert will know  what “desert fever” feels like, those who’ve been to Kilda will be forever drawn back there, even if it is only in memories!

This expedition report is rather lengthy, and will be hastily skipped through by some, but for a few it will be of great interest. The link at the bottom will take you to a marvellous set of photos and videos. It takes a while to load as they are high resolution, and lots of interactive 360˚ shots. I hope you have time to enjoy them.

A link to a newly updated blog post of “A Superlative St Kilda Sea Kayaking Expedition with Skyak Adventures.”

St Kilda is a place of superlatives!

The remote island archipelago of St Kilda lies some 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides and not only is it a UNESCO World Heritage Site but it has the highest sea cliffs in the UK, the largest seabird colony in northern Europe and a quarter of the world’s gannet population.

It’s also an amazing place for sea kayaking…!!

 

I’m Angus Mackie, a professional forester and photographer, based just north of Inverness on the beautiful Black Isle.  I’m on the North Coast 500 and am well placed to discover most of the Highlands.  The iconic scenery of Glen Affric and the Cairngorms are close by whilst many of the wild and dramatic locations on the west coast are within easy reach.

Mountains, landscapes, coastlines….  As a landscape and panoramic photographer who specialises in 360° photography, I enjoy exploring Scotland and its wild and remote places and have discovered some of the best photography locations in the Highlands over the last 35 years of living up here.  With a broad and wide ranging knowledge of the Highlands, I still enjoy finding new locations and fresh perspectives for my photography.  The use of natural light to capture stunning scenery at spectacular locations is very much a key factor for my photography.

I’m a qualified Summer Mountain Leader, a Sea Kayak Leader and a UKCC Level 2 Sea Kayaking coach, with many years experience of leading and guiding.  I am also a longstanding member of Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team.

Copyright © 2018 Scotland360° and Angus Mackie.

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Twittering Tales #119 – 15 January 2019

It’s time again, for Kat Myrman’s wonderful challenge, to write a story, inspired by her picture prompt, in 280 characters or fewer.

Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution.

Check out all the fabulously creative entries here and, if you’ve never had a go, why not try a story of your own? You may surprise yourself!

campfire-1846142_1280Photo by Pexel @ Pixabay.com

At the native American theme park, the false fire glow, created by the LED’s, wasn’t very realistic and, on closer inspection, the pots were made of some sort of plastic. The smell of cooking was pretty authentic though. No doubt intended to lure us to the overpriced food outlets!

(280 characters)

50 Yards of Florence;

Join John on his tour of 50 yards of Florence. It is beautiful, and totally missed by all the crocodiles of tourist groups

Broadsides - A collection of bits and pieces

The medieval lanes and streets and alleys provide welcome breaks of shade from the heat and the sun, and occasionally from the crocodile lines of tourist groups faithfully following their guides.  But you tire easily for you are not so young now, the back hurts a bit, the legs ache,  the sun is hot, you need to pause, to sit down, recover a little and you look for a pavement bar or café. But they can be intimidating these Italian bars and cafés,  and you pass that one and avoid this one and then you come across a rough looking bar in a little rough looking space, a small scruffy square; there is graffiti on the walls and a few battered tables and chairs clustered outside the very ordinary and un-prepossessing door of the bar “Mingo”  There is a van, and a motor cycle lazily  parked across the small square…

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On Ilkley Moor Baht ‘at

It is imperative that you all join in with the marvellous rendition of “On Ilkley Moor baht ‘at”. I will know if you don’t!

Nan's Farm-Inside Out

Where have you been since I saw you, I saw you? On Ilkley Moor without a hat

This week I went up to the moor, Ilkley Moor, where the  far reaching views are particularly beautiful, especially on a bright and clear sunny autumn day such as this one.

View from the moor

In my teens I did some walking on the moor with a group from the youth club.

Also in my teens and with friends, I came up to the isolated Cow and Calf hotel that stands almost at the top. We came to the disco nights that mushroomed in the 60s. The discotheque was in the large basement and occasionally there were live bands, complete with psychedelic and strobe lighting.

IMG_4953Ilkley Moor is part of the larger Rombald’s Moor, and lies directly above the lovely spa town of Ilkley, the moor is also home to a series of fascinating ancient monuments.

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Heard on a bus

There’s a woman in a niqab, talking to her son in a non-English language.

On the seat in front of them: a white man, who turns around and tells the woman that she’s in the UK and should be speaking English.

On the seat in front of the white man, is an elderly white woman who points out: “We’re in Wales, and she’s speaking Welsh.”

 

Mae yna fenyw mewn niqab, yn siarad â’i mab mewn iaith nad yw’n Saesneg.

Ar y sedd o’u blaenau: dyn gwyn, sy’n troi o gwmpas ac yn dweud wrth y wraig ei bod hi yn y DU a dylai fod yn siarad Saesneg.

Ar y sedd o flaen y dyn gwyn, mae’n fenyw gwyn oedrannus sy’n nodi: “Rydym ni yng Nghymru, ac mae hi’n siarad Cymraeg.”

Elysian

This post by Chris Nicholas is well worth reading (right to the end!)

If you are someone who struggles to accept people who are different: try.
You just might learn something new, or even help to make the world a better or safer place.

Love is love. Human is human. And regardless of what some may wish to believe; we are equal. We are all valued. And we all connected.

The Renegade Press

Milk and honey have different colours, but they share the same house peacefully.

  • African proverb

One of the most defining moments of my admittedly short writing career came on December 20th, 2014 when I received my first death threat from a reader. The threat, received via email, was in response to an article I had written which drew comparisons between religious intolerance and a criminological model known as the Broken Windows Theory. Throughout the post, I suggested that the constant defamation of an ideology through misrepresentation and bigotry damages an individual’s perception of a subculture, and creates a rift in our society.

To illustrate my point, I spoke of the Islamic faith and the unjust insinuation that it is a religion defined by violence. I compared acts perpetuated by extremists as stones hurled through the windows of a beautiful monument in an attempt to damage its image and cheapen…

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