Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Smoo Cave, Durness, Scotland

Smoo Cave is a large combined sea cave and freshwater cave in Durness in Sutherland, Highland, Scotland. The cave was formed within Early Ordovician Dolostones of the Durness Limestone Group. Smoo Cave boundary formed between the light grey Sangomore Formation and dark grey, leopard Rock formation. The cave is unique that the first chamber has been formed by the action of the sea, whereas the inner chambers are freshwater passages, formed from rainwater dissolving the carbonate dolostones. The peaty waters of the Allt Smoo flow off the moors, tranquil until they vanish into the darkness of a gaping sinkhole. The Smoo cave estimated receives 40,000 visitors annually. 

The Smoo cave has formed a combination of erosion from the sea and an inland underground stream which has formed the innermost chambers. There are many superstitions associated with Smoo Cave, and for many centuries it was believed to be the residence of the Devil. This made it a convenient place for the local laird's henchman to dump the bodies of anyone who fell afoul of what passed for local justice at the time.

It is a dramatic location set into limestone cliffs, quite large 200 feet long, 130 feet wide, and 50 feet high at the entrance. Eroded pillars of rock which once supported these long-vanished earlier versions of Smoo Cave still remain. Moreover, the first chamber of the cave is more than 60m long and 40m wide. A wooden walkway leads from here into the second (scream provoking) chamber.

The cave boasts one of the largest entrances to any sea cave in Britain at 50 ft high and is floodlit inside. Smoo is a sea cave, but some part is karst formed inside limestones and dolomites. The karst features of Smoo cave are typical with impermeable and insoluble rocks surrounding it. Waters flowing on impermeable rock disappear in swallow holes as soon as they reach the border to the limestone. Then drain underground and reappear in karst springs and caves. Hence, a river is to be found inside, water from a burn which disappeared only a few meters away.

Legend has believed that the cave is a gateway to the Otherworld – or into the faery realm – and that it's guarded by spirits. Smoo Cave has seen a lot of activity over the course of human history, much of it is unpleasant. If you are daring enough then the ideal way to experience Smoo Cave would probably be alone at night, by the light of an oil lamp or flaming torch, and with an overactive imagination! CP

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Photographer Captures Brilliant Snow-Capped Mountains and Serene Lochs of the Scottish Highlands

Well, Forget the Alps! A Scottish photographer captures splendid snow-capped mountains and serene lochs of the Scottish Highlands from valley to peak. The Camillo Berenosh has spent many years in travelling, capture breath-taking untamed beauty of native country. The remarkable Scottish landscape is the passion of his new journey. When you see his series of pictures, you’d definitely forget your tension a while, incredible snow-topped peaks, deep green valleys and unharmed forests. The Edinburgh based photographer is exploring Scotland from high to low capturing incredible landscape along the way. Therefore, heading deep into nature Camillo presents the raw natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains and tranquil lochs through the seasons from icy and snow-capped to blooming with flowers.

He said; I often camped on summits, despite of harsh weather conditions, I didn’t afraid to wait for right time and condition to capture the photographs. I have bit a slower approach in terms of time to take perfect click, also enable me to a stronger connection with the landscape and flora and fauna of remote upland areas. I wanted to protect Scottish nature by doing this project, showing a greater appreciation of unrivalled grandeur of the hills, landscapes, forest and many anthropological threats they are facing these days. I also want to motivate other photographer to come Scotland to explore untouched places. I am sure, they’d be spellbound by diverse and staggeringly beautiful landscapes in the remoter parts of this country. I’ve spent several hours in the hills, with precise destinations often primarily being determined by where the weather forecast looked most favorable.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Standing Sotnes of Stenness, Scotland

The Standing Stones of Stenness is a Neolithic monument 5 miles northeast of Stromness on the mainland of Orkney, Scotland. The Standing Stones of Stenness are actually a circle of 12 stones with a diameter of 30m and comprises of 4 uprights. The circle is surrounded by a rock-cut ditch approximately 2m deep, 7m wide and 44m in diameter. The excavation has exposed a square setting of stones and bedding holes for further uprights, either stone or wooden. The circle was constructed somewhere 3000 BC, older than several Henge monuments in the British Isles. An 18th century antiquary, Dr. Robert Henry, describe the site was used once for the Temple of the Moon, and the Ring of Brodgar as the Temple of the Sun. The Neolithic quarried thousands of tons of fine-grained sandstone, trimmed it, properly shaped it, and then transported it quite a few miles to a grassy promontory with commanding views of the nearby countryside. Their workmanship was extremely immaculate.

The stones themselves are very impressive, but why the Standing Stones of Stenness were erected is still a mystery. The possible judgement is that, they were doing numerous activities, ceremonies, and celebrating the life with relationship between living and past communities. The remnants of domestic animals, such as sheep, cattle, and dog’s bones were found in the ditch. The Standing Stones of Stenness form part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage site in December 1999. The name comes from Old Norse meaning stone headland suggesting that this area had particular importance. The Standing Stones are lacks of encircling ditch and bank these days, but excavation has shown that this used to be a Henge monument. There are many stones still standing in the area, originally associated with Stennes Stones. However one famous stone Odin was destroyed in 1814, while collapsed the other stone that was part of the ring. The Stone of Odin was a sad loss, because it had a circular hole, through which local lovers plighted their troth by holding hands. The stone that had toppled was re-erected, discovered lying under the turf. This rather small and misshapen stone has been the subject of controversy ever since, but it remains standing today.

Moreover, the history showed, men, women, children and families approaching Stenness at certain time of year, carrying bales of bones, skeletons of corpses skulls, mandibles, long bones, skulls of totem animals, and herding a beast to be slaughtered for the feasting that would accompany the ceremonies. The stones are thin slabs, approximately 12 in thick with sharply angled tops. However, four, up to about 16 feet high, were initially elements of a stone circle of up to 12 stones, laid out in an ellipse about 105 feet diameter on a levelled platform of 144 feet diameter surrounded by a ditch. The ditch is cut into rock by 6.6 feet and is 23 feet wide, surrounded by an earth bank, with a single entrance causeway on the north side.

The Stones of Stenness are terrifically located with brilliant views over the surrounding countryside extending to the hills of Hoy. Therefore, the perfect time to pay the visit in summer, and try to very early morning or late in the day, to observe the majestic view of stones against the sunrise or sunset, and maybe even have them to yourself. The Stones of Stenness can be seen right by the roadside, among popular stopping spot for visitors. Hence, there are no restrictions, you can go right up to them and touch them; and see the ruins of some other Neolithic houses and central house, these are not as well advertised as those at Skara Brae, but are still captivating if you like to muse on their history.  Source: CP

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Devil’s Elbow, A Forgotten Notorious Double Hairpin Bend

A former stretch of road in Scotland that was so dangerous that it earned the nickname “The Devil’s Elbow” is an attraction for adventurous holidaymakers. The Devil's Elbow, is notorious double-hairpin bend often-quoted gradient of 33 percent is a myth. The modern road bypasses the hairpin bends, but the old road still exists and its route can be walked, or carefully cycled. Though the forgotten historic road overgrown with weeds and slowly disappearing, yet still heavy with the memories of its earlier life.

However, the once be scared double-hairpin bend near Glenshee, Perthshire, Braemar, and Aberdeenshire used to be part of Britain’s highest route, the A93, nonetheless was bypassed when the road was straightened out in the 1960s much to the relief of motorists. However, this road is often blocked by snow in the winter. The beauty of this road still exists, and entices hikers and cyclists, so officials are trying to bring in more tourists with a new rest stop and walking routes. The Devil’s Elbow is located a mile south of the 2,198ft Cairnwell Pass. 

However, once the double hairpin bend was Britain’s most challenging stretch of road, with warning signs push drivers to show “great caution”. In 1967, the Devil’s Elbow gets more famous, when Queen Elizabeth II is being driven to Balmoral by Prince Philip, as crowd’s wave from the roadside.  The British A93 is regularly used by classic car and motorbike fans and increasingly cyclists. Therefore, the newly planned construction will give a new life to this scenic route along eastern side of Cairngorms National Park. The tourists will motivate to get new experience and relish the breath taking landscapes of the Cairngorms. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

Wild Scotland

For my second aerial film, entitled ‘Wild Scotland’, I wanted to showcase some of the wilderness this magnificent country has to offer. From the Highlands and Islands on the west coast to John O’Groats and North Berwick on the east I’ve captured just a fraction of the stunning wilderness which Scotland has to offer.

I’ve spent the last few months travelling up and down the country capturing locations, carefully planning my schedule to take advantage of the best light, be that dawn or dusk. Along the way I’ve been lucky to pick up some unexpected shots such as deer near Ardnamurchan and a large group of seals in a bay near John O’ Groats at the very top of the British mainland. I was lucky to experience a prolonged spell of good weather so filming this was a much faster process than for my first aerial film; Beautiful Scotland.

Making this film involved a series of mini adventures. Hiking up Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill at 3am in the pitch dark, to film the spectacular serrated ridge of An Teallach, and hearing stags roaring in the valleys below is a memory that will stay with me for a very long time. Also filming Bass Rock near North Berwick, which is home is to the world’s largest single rock Gannet colony with some 40,000 pairs of birds, at first light was a real treat.
The film was mostly shot on the DJI Inspire 1 and for the more remote locations I used the DJI Phantom 3 which can be packed in a backpack really easily. 

Big shout out to Drew Gibson who has done another magnificent job colour grading this and also to Pete Smith ( who created the sound mix. Cheers also to Rob Waugh ( for feeding back throughout the edit and helping suggest locations.
Locations in order –

An Teallach
Ardnamurchan lighthouse
Bidein A’ Ghlas Thuill
Mangersta Sea Stacks, Isle of Harris
Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris
Callanish Standing stones, Isle of Lewis
Duncansby Bay (Seal shot)
Tantallon Caslte
Bass Rock
Duncansby sea stacks
Glen Etive
Castle Stalker
Forth Rail Bridge
Neist Point, Isle of Skye
Music again by the fantastic Tony Anderson – Eyes Wide Open

Wild Scotland from John Duncan on Vimeo.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Loch Torridon Scotland

Loch Torridon is also called Loch Thoirbheartan actually a sea loch on the west coast of Scotland in the Northwest Highlands. The stunning loch was created by glacial processes and it is approximately 15 miles long. The loch has two sections, Upper Loch Torridon to landward, east of Rubha na h-Airde Ghlaise, at which point it joins Loch Sheildaig; and the main western section of Loch Torridon proper. Loch a' Chracaich and Loch Beag are small inlets on the southern shores of the outer Loch, which joins the Inner Sound between the headlands of Rubha na Fearna to the south and Red Point to the north. The name Thoirbhearta has a similar root to Tarbert and indicates a place where boats were dragged overland.

Shieldaig Island has been owned by the National Trust for Scotland since 1970. It has coverage of Scots Pine, which may have grown from seeds taken from Speyside in the mid-19th century. Loch Torridon as seen from Torridon village, which lies at the head of the loch and is surrounded by the amazing Torridon Hills. Whereas, to the north are the villages of Redpoint, Diabaig, Wester Alligin and Alligin Shuas. However; on the south is Shieldaig. The view North West from the summit of A Ruadh-stac takes in Beinn Damh, Upper Loch Torridon and Beinn Alligin.

The loch is surrounded by numerous mountains to the north, including Liathach, Beinn Alligin and Beinn Eighe, all of which are over 3,000 feet in height. The Torridon Hills exhibit some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the British Isles, surpassed in grandeur perhaps only by the Cuillins of Skye. The rocks of which’re made are known as Torridonian sandstone, some of which’re crowned by white Cambrian quartzite. They’re in the midst of the oldest rocks in Britain, and sit on yet older rocks, Lewisian gneiss.

Loch Torridon is a vital prawn and shellfish fishery and is home to numerous salmon farms and industrial mussel production. Langoustines are fished by creels baited with herring or prawns, which are deployed on lines of up to 120 creels and left on the seabed for at least a day. Most of the catch is exported to Spain, but some is sold locally. The sustainable seafood certificate for Loch Torridon langoustines was suspended by the Marine Stewardship Council on 11 January 2011, due to increased fishing pressure in the area caused by creel-fishing boats that had not signed-up to the fishery's voluntary code of conduct.