They were a while ago now, but what I did on my summer holidays was go to Oban (a town on the west coast of Scotland) with the goal of getting to as many Scottish islands as possible. Getting to, and staying on the islands has been pretty challenging this year – getting to the big islands was pretty much out of the question, but there are lots of small ones that are easily reachable from Oban or nearby.
Number 1: Easdale Island
Easdale is one of my favourite places on Earth. Home to the World Stone Skimming Championships, it is relatively easy to get to, and can be walked round in a day, or an afternoon depending on how much you want to see.
It is one of the Slate Islands – a chain of small islands in the Inner Hebrides, and is pitted with deep pools made from disused slate quarries.
The island is car-free – residents have wheelbarrows instead.
The small 10-people ferry runs regularly from Ellanabeich, which is also a pretty wee place.
The crossing takes about 5 minutes, and it is not possible to book it (there’s usually no need).
For the last few months (actually, more like years) I’ve been sorting through 18 years of digital photos scattered over hard disks, HD cards and even floppy disks. I almost lost them all once, and after that I decided it was time to make something a bit more permanent, for my own records if nothing else.
So here is Beside The Seaside – book one in what will be a series of photobooks, self-published in very small editions. Featuring 60 full colour photos of the British seaside, it is a neat and sturdy A5 softcover book.
You too can have a copy, if you so desire. The price of £8 includes UK Postage and Packaging (Royal Mail second class). If you’d like the book signed or dedicated to someone please add a note during checkout.
I recently visited Clifton Cathedral in Bristol, or the Cathedral Church of SS Peter and Paul, to give it its Sunday name. [Wikipedia]
The Roman Catholic cathedral was designed by Ronald Weeks and a team from the Percy Thomas Partnership, and was completed in 1973. It is now Grade II Listed.
Hexagons and equilateral triangles are key to the design of the whole building.
It had just reopened for services again as restrictions were lifted.
“Originally intended to be executed in stone (it was thought that these would be damaged by later building work), the Stations were made by William Mitchell using Faircrete (a mixture of concrete, resin & nylon fibres). The artist was asked about what reaction people had to his work: ‘Well the work is a bit hairy I suppose, but then so was the experience of crucifixion.’” – from Wikipedia.
Even the bins are carefully designed. The walls show the shape of the timber used to cast the concrete.
Alan Dimmick is a Glaswegian photographer, best known for photographing Glasgow’s art scene. He is posting archive photos on Instagram at the moment, fascinating to me because many are taken around Hyndland/Partick/Anniesland where I grew up.
The Windsor Cafe on Clarence Drive was my first local cafe, a real treasure trove of sweets and ice cream. The owners, pictured here, were a Scots-Italian brother and sister, with infinite patience from what I remember.
Jonathan Treen is also posting archive photos of 1970s Glasgow on Twitter (@JonathanTreen) just now. Some of the locations are instantly recognisable, others changed beyond recognition.
I visited Irvine a couple of months ago, after winning a night out there in a raffle.
The fifth of Scotland’s new towns – the others are East Kilbride, Cumbernauld, Glenrothes and Livingston – it was added onto an existing (and very pretty in parts) historic town.
The vision for Irvine was spectacular space-age Brutalism. The reality doesn’t quite match the vision but there are some interesting things going on with bus lanes, and a strange predilection for tiny, irregular windows.