Stone Skimming this way

We had the pleasure of visiting Easdale Island for the World Stone Skimming Championships on Sunday. Easdale is Scotland's smallest permanently-inhabited island in the Inner Hebrides, sitting just off the west coast 16 miles south of Oban. There are no cars on the island and access is by a short trip on a 12-seater ferry. This is a lot of fun, as you have to call the ferry by pushing two buttons in the waiting room. You might have a wait around noon as there's only one ferryman and he needs to get his lunch.


The Stone Skimming Championships are here because Easdale is one of the Slate Islands. Slate-mining was the main industry here, and now that it's diminished, the perfectly flat stones and disused quarries that cover the island make a perfect venue for stone skimming.

Easdale slates

We didn't see much of the competition because the weather was foul. Wobbling about on the edge of a quarry in a gale wasn't a very attractive prospect. So we went for a walk round the island instead, which was amazing. There are huge piles of slate everywhere and very little else. The Atlantic ocean pounds off the coast and it feels a bit like another planet. Very still and wild at the same time. I took loads of photos, being Flickrd here.

Made in the Shade at The Lighthouse

There are lots of crafty goings-on in Glasgow this (long) weekend. On Saturday Made in the Shade returns to The Lighthouse from 10.30-5. There's a fantastic line-up of local talent, plus a special appearance from Lady Luck Rules OK.

Granny Would Be Proud at the Argyll Hotel

Then on Sunday Granny Would Be Proud returns to The Argyll Hotel, for vintage and handmade crafty goodness.

Titan Crane, Clydebank

Today, I went up the Titan Crane in Clydebank. It's the oldest of 13 Titan cranes left in the world (5 of them are on the Clyde) and was built by Sir William Arrol, who was also responsible for the Forth Rail Bridge and Tower Bridge. It opened in 2007 as a tourist attraction and has proved popular as the Clyde is such a big part of the heritage around here.

Crane legs

It's good fun going up a crane. There's a lift, so it's no bother and provided you don't mind walking about on a bit of mesh at 150ft, the views are fantastic.

Emergency telephone

The views on the ground were also interesting, as the crane is the only remaining part of John Brown's shipyard. It had a role in building the Lusitania, Queen Mary and the QE2. The surrounding area is in different states of redevelopment. Beside the ticket office there a range of new Poundbury-esque developments but towards the crane there is only rubble and odd fragments of the shipyards. It feels very transitional.

The visitor centre at the crane is really nicely done. It tells you what you need to know, with lots of big wow engineering facts, but it's not dull or overdone. And the tickets are really nice. Good job all round. It closes for the winter on 5 October so if you fancy it, get along there.

Scotland: Building the future

The architecturally-inclined amongst you might appreciate Scotland: Building the Future: Essays on the architecture of the post-war era published by Historic Scotland.

The bad news is it's a 108-page PDF, but the good news is it's very good, with lots of fantastic photos and sketches of the toppermost modern architecture in Scotland. This is one of a series of great publications - Raising the Bar: An Introduction to Scotland's Historic Pubs and Spotlight on Scotland's Cinemas (also hefty PDFs) are very useful for anyone studying modern architecture, whether it be officially or unofficially.

Scarlet Ivy by Tim Irving

I've been picking some autumnal goodies for the featured items on Folksy. Scarlet Ivy, a photographic print by Tim Irving captures this season's colours perfectly.


noticings is a lovely new game, from the hands of Toms Taylor and Armitage. Notice something, take a picture, upload it to Flickr, geotag it and tag it with ‘noticings’ and you’re in the game.

Every day the noticings machine cranks into action and players are awarded points for their findings. The rules change as the game goes on, which makes it even more of a challenge. Playing to win is almost impossible, which makes just playing an absolute pleasure. Progress so far is on the Leader Board with updates and rules on the blog.

I've been playing this on and off for the past few weeks (mostly off). It's good to have a driver to go out and look at things, particularly in places you wouldn't normally go. Do join in. (Nice logo Ben.)

Fittie shack, Aberdeen

Off Kilter, Jonathan Meades' new series on BBC Four is a three-parter about Scottish architecture. Joy of joys. The first programme tonight was all about Aberdeen. I don't think I've seen an hour-long programme about Aberdeen before, never mind a good one. It sometimes feel like the further north everything gets, the quicker it's glossed over, and generally there's a lack of focus. Much as I love Coast, I wish they would slow down a bit.

So it was great to see a programme that really captured the feel of a place and went slowly enough for Meades to fit in a few trademark rambles. It was a pleasure to see Aberdeen in all its glory too. The shack above, from Footdee featured heavily, quite rightly. I can't wait to see where else he ends up.

Lambswool pencil scarf from Sara Carr on Folksy

I'm secretly glad at the sight of autumn. Can't wait to get my winter woollies on. So, added to the wishlist is this Lambswool pencil scarf by Sara Carr who has a Folksy shop full of fab woollens.

What I wore today by Gemma Correll

The What I wore today (drawings only) Flickr pool is an illustrated antidote to the rash of fashion blogs that show deeply fashionable people and their wardrobe remixes (What Katie Wore being a prime example). The whole pool is full of really fantastic drawings of normal people, their sad faces and their slouchy clothes. Hooray!

It was started only last week by fab Norwich-based illustrator Gemma Correll who is collecting her entries in a blog. There's a great interview with her on The Red Door Gallery blog - I like these sort of interviews that ask people about their influences and their workspaces and that sort of thing. I can really see Grandma Giles in these drawings but would never have made the connection without Gemma citing Giles as an influence.

Decisive Moments at the Snapshot Museum

The Snapshot Museum (as it suggests, a museum devoted to 'snaps' rather than professional photography) in Morecambe's Winter Gardens has a new exhibition opening this weekend. Decisive Moments - Photographs and true tales from ordinary life is a collaboration between the museum and Lancashire's old folks. The photos are accompanied by soundslides from the subjects, the oldest of whom is 94 years old.

It's such a great idea for a museum, in a fabulous venue so if you're in Morecambe do drop in.

Cassette Necklace by Hello Sunshine on Folksy

I've been working away at Folksy for a few weeks now and keep finding things to covet, so I thought I'd post them here. First up, here's a jolly cassette tape necklace from Hello Sunshine.

Recommended reading