Saturday, 4 April 2020

Great Cumbrae, Arran and Millport. A Gallery: of photos, books, films.

                                               ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
As I've visited and written several posts on Millport/Great Cumbrae before, I thought I'd approach this one in a different manner. Keeping to a Minimalist style yet hopefully expressing volumes, at least to me, I will link each photo to an appropriate film or book I've seen or read... and enjoyed...found interesting... and also to various personal memories/ incidents in the past- a few might remember. An eclectic mix but all classics in their own way.
Anniesland Tower. Glasgow.            Believe Me. J.P. Delaney. Book.
Largs. Early Morning.         Far from the madding crowd. Thomas Hardy. Book. 2015 film.
Largs- Great Cumbrae/ Millport Ferry.         Passengers. 2016 film.
White Crocus.           Perfume. The Story of a Murderer. Patrick Suskind. Book. 2006 film.
Largs. A church gargoyle.           Werewolf. Matthew Pritchard. Book.
Minor back road. Journey over island to Millport. Always a little Further. Alastair Borthwick. Book.
Bute and Mount Stuart (house in photo) from Great Cumbrae. Tanker ship Ramona passing. Dear Frankie. 2004 film.
Raw winter's day over Bute and Arran.        Albatross. 2011 film.
A Rabbit. Wild Garlic Beds.          Jean de Florette. 1986 French Film.
Cathedral of the Isles.  Millport.         Breaking Silence. Linda Castillo. Book.
Cabbage palms and houses. Millport.      Love in a Cold Climate. Nancy Mitford. Book.
 Although predicted the night before to be a sunny day it was in reality, on arrival, a raw, grey one with a cold, intense, close to freezing, fierce wind blowing throughout this visit. Did not feel like spring one bit.
Mid winter. Millport's neglected and largely forgotten Sunken Garden.       This Beautiful Fantastic. 2016 film.

Garrison info board.        Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. 1886 Book .
 Writer Robert Louis Stevenson was a family friend of this famous garden designer and used this unusual name for his Gothic tale of good and evil.
A redshank in close up detail.         A portrait of the wader as a young man.  James Joyce.
Herring Gull and Redshank.         The Seagull. Ann Cleeves. Book.
Arran ridge seen from Millport on Great Cumbrae.        Respiro. 2002 Italian film.
Geese feeding on Millport.       Flightsend. Linda Newbery. Book.
Great Cumbrae interior. A green fertile island, small enough to comfortably walk around in a day.
 On the Island. Tracey Garvis Graves. Book.
The Peaks of Arran. Interior view.      Mythago Wood. Robert Holdstock. Book.
Muddy Cattle.              The Girl From Paris. French Film 2001
Millport's Crocodile rock.           A Monster Calls. Film. 2016
Very glad I'm not up there on the ridge on a day like this. Freezing fingers down here, even at sea level, in comparative shelter, due to the wind strength.         The Agony and the Ecstasy. Irving Stone. Book. Or... No Country For Old Men. Film. Both apt.
Cars arriving on Great Cumbrae before the lock-down started.  If you had to write a song/poem about the new Covid 19 virus and a possible on-off year long disruption to normal everyday existence then this one might fit.                 Covenant- Like Tears in Rain. 2000.
Profound and accurate account.   Lyrically perfect already. The theme tune for the virus. Seeing as how we are on a war footing you need rousing songs. A classic goth anthem to describe year 2020 to future generations.

The small town of Millport on Great Cumbrae.      Chocolat. Joanne Harris. Book.
The hills/moors above Largs.       The Return. 2003 Russian film.
Nardini's Cafe.  Note rafts of eider ducks.     Gifted. Film. 2017.       The End

Sunday, 29 March 2020

A Perfect Morning. Lunderston Bay. Kip Marina. Animal Magic.

                                               ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
The coastal town of Gourock at night. All posts from now on were taken before the corona virus lock down in the UK but I have a backlog of posts to pick from. This is the second part of our North Clyde Estuary Tour/weekend. A night walk across the Inverclyde Hills and streets during the hours of darkness...
Gourock streets at dusk....
Greenock Waterfront walk....
A still, clear night of twinkling stars blossomed into a perfect early spring morning of mirror calm seascapes with just a hint of snow left over the mountains. The type of day that  makes most humans feel alive, after months of grey skies, floods, wind and rain, but something of an ordeal now given the current situation. Maybe nature is taunting us. And she has every right to do so.
Musical notes with magpies. Can you guess the song though? It's a happy tune. As far as I know most wild creatures can't get the corona virus- only humans- maybe pigs, rats, and bats. Very bad for the economy, business, and people but if there is an upside and a winner in all this it must be nature itself.
Sleeping wild fox. With over a million dead creatures in Australia recently due to bush fires, forests the size of small countries decimated, and a predicted 30 to 50 years worth of fish left in the oceans it's about time nature got a break to recover- and this might well be it. At least for the short term. Can a killer virus be a saviour for some? Instead of 'bounce back'- the bite back.
All the protests about climate change tend to fall on deaf ears at the top but maybe now things might change faster with humanity forced into a wake-up call. I can't think of any protests that would successfully ground planes worldwide for months on end but it's happened now. Just a guess but I'd imagine this might be good for the planet. Millions of restaurants, seafood cafes, and fish and chip shops shut should mean millions of fish and sea creatures still safe in the oceans- they might even have time to breed for a few short months before things recover back to normal.
With this happy thought we set off for a beach walk along the shores of the North Clyde Estuary---- and the wildlife seemed to agree... as we saw lots of it.
Sssssnake bird on a boulder.
Black Guillemot. A small diving bird that's equally at home swimming between icebergs in the arctic ocean as around the Scottish coast. Given the mild winter this must feel tropical yet a family pod of killer whales created a stir recently when they entered the Firth of Clyde on a hunting foray, being spotted off Greenock many times before they departed.
Birdland Pastures. Oystercatchers and Jackdaws? hunting for earthworms.
A series of beaches and flat rocks lead to Inverkip. A perfect morning.
A distant view of Arran.
The town of Dunoon across the water.
Coastguard Rescue Helicopter.
Maybe it's for her. Rafts of eider ducks dotted the calm seas in full mating ritual. One female surrounded by seven strutting males. I've seen similar situations with humans at times where a single beautiful, usually well endowed young female finds herself followed relentlessly everywhere by a  group of teenage admirers. Butterfly and nets.  Like sudden fame, not a situation every girl would appreciate or be happy with I'd imagine, being found attractive and desired by almost everyone else in a room or while attending any event before you've found yourself and your inner confidence as a person and maybe drawn into a hard to manipulate for your own benefit roller-coaster of lifetime emotions- a  hectic existence of potentially constant relationships and ever eager future partners with little opportunity for self discovery or time on your own. As with certain landscapes, towns, and cities worldwide, great beauty can often be as much a curse as a blessing. But that's just my view. A lucky few can use it to their full advantage.

And with a bunch of other females nearby, getting far less attention, maybe she encouraged it herself in some way. Who knows.
Like humans, some animals do not mind being by themselves, and the corona virus lock-down  and social isolation will be endured with relative ease. A normal day for them. Greenshank wading.
While others will suffer without company. Redshanks here.
Frogs in a puddle. But if you want an uplifting thought at this potentially stressful time... most of the natural world over the next few months will do perfectly well without us. Maybe even thrive... free from human disturbance and exploitation for once. And the planet will be healthier as well. There is an upside.
Into the blue. North Clyde Estuary Seascapes.
A varied walk of open vistas, coastal woodlands...
and the Kip Marina.
A beautiful spot on a sunny day. Tropical in fact.
Returning inland via the Ardgowan Estate grounds.
A pleasant and scenic gem throughout.
The beauty of the North Clyde Estuary on a sunny day.