The blue fortress of winter…

One from my photo archives, taken on this day in 2010, during the very heavy winter and snowfall we had that year, and reposted here to mark 30th November, Saint Andrew’s Day:

Edinburgh Castle, Saint Andrew's Night

I came out of my book group that evening, Edinburgh was covered in snow. And the Castle atop its great rock above the city was illuminated Saltire-blue to mark the day of our nation’s patron saint. The skyline of my gorgeous city is remarkable at any time, but on this winter’s night, the Castle in blue, the city draped in snow, it was magical, and I just stood there in the cold taking it in. These are the sorts of sights you just come across living in Edinburgh, no wonder I love it so much. As I was out at my book group I wasn’t carrying a tripod, I improvised by jamming the camera between railings overlooking the Gardens to steady it, and with so much streetlight being reflected by the snow it was enough to get a clear night shot. I didn’t expect it to come out so clearly, being an improvised shot, but it’s digital so not wasting film, may as well try, because sometimes they don’t work, other times you capture a moment like this forever…

Castle and spire

Another shot from recent night-time round of photo-taking – I was actually taking something else, then noticed if I moved the tripod round a little, perhaps I could fit in the both the spire of Saint Cuthberts and the western flank of Edinburgh Castle. So I had a go and it seemed to work…

Happy Saint Andrew’s Day

It’s Saint Andrew’s Day again in Scotland, here’s a night shot I managed to improvise of Edinburgh Castle lit up in blue like our Saltire especially for the occassion. I was on my way home from my book group so didn’t have a tripod, but when I saw this I improvised, jammed the camera as best I could between some railings above Princes Street Gardens and tried to brace it to hold it steady enough for a night shot, helped by it being lighter than usual with all the snow we had at the time reflecting a lot more ambient light and after a few shots one finally came out reasonably well (click for larger image on my Flickr):

Edinburgh Castle, Saint Andrew's Night

Bamburgh

A couple of weeks ago we had a nice, sunny Sunday, almost an early spring day, so my friend decided to drive further down the coast with his dog than usual and I went along. We ended up crossing the border into England (nothing like a bit of foreign travel, eh?) and found ourselves at the gorgeous, historic Bamburgh Castle on a lovely stretch of the Northumbrian coast. I’ve known about the castle for many years but this was the first time I got to visit it.

Bamburgh Castle 03

Bamburgh Castle 05

There’s been a fortification of some sort or another since the 400 AD period on this basalt rock rising up next to the sea, the square keep is Norman (with walls from 9 to 11 feet thick), some of the rest of the castle looks almost like a Victorian idea of what a medieval castle should look like and that may be because industrial magnate Lord Armstrong bought it (as many newly rich industrialists did with castles and country houses to fit in with the upper classes in society) and restored it. Beautiful building though, on lovely part of the coast and we were lucky to arrive late afternoon as the sunlight was stretched out to a lovely, warm copper colour and was hitting the landward side of the castle, making the ancient red stonework glow.

Bamburgh Castle 07

Bamburgh Castle 011

and here’s a short video panorama of the Castle:

Cut into a niche lower down the base of the castle rock is the local war memorial, standing on a flat rock a few feet above the parkland in front of the castle; it is a rather lovely spot to have a memorial to the fallen. The Christ on the cross in the memorial seemed to me to have a very old style to it, perhaps so it better suited the looming medieval castle towering protectively above it.

war memorial, Bamburgh Castle 01

war memorial, Bamburgh Castle 03

Christmas greetings from Scotland

After finishing work for the year I walked up a very snowy Royal Mile to the Castle gates. For the first time ever I had it all to myself, not another soul there for ten minutes, just me standing in snow that came over the toes of my boots, that soft scrunching sound that reminds you instantly of childhood playtimes in the snow. Just me and the cold and the snow and the Castle glowing in the night above the city, dusted with snow like icing on a historical cake. Below and around me views across the whole of Edinburgh, right out to the Pentland Hills. Freezing but incomparably beautiful. Merry Christmas from a snowy Scotland!

Edinburgh Castle, snowy December evening
snowmen on the Mile

Snowy Edinburgh

On the way home this evening after the last book group of the year and a nice drink, passing Princes Street Gardens, the Christmas lights, snow, Edinburgh Castle… This is my view on the way home and one of the reasons I love living here in one of the most beautiful cities on the planet.

yuletide Castle

yuletide Edinburgh