First snow

First snow pics I’ve taken this winter, just a very light fall in Edinburgh on Sunday – nothing like this time last year when we were knee deep and basically dealing with very heavy snow and ice for weeks on end. Just a little bit scattered across the town, like these patches on Arthur’s Seat today at dusk:

Arthur's Seat, December day, first snow

And as we drove around a slushy, icy road in Holyrood Royal Park past Arthur’s Seat I saw this pale moon rising at dusk over the ancient rocks; shot out of window of friend’s car, amazed it came out…

midwinter moonrise

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

Edinburgh in the snow

Crikey, the improvised night shot I did of Edinburgh Castle covered in snow and lit a special blue for Saint Andrew’s Day on the 30th (see here) has now had over 800 views on my Flickr page in just 4 days. To put that in perspective my normal views average for my whole Flickr stream is around 750 – 900 a day, depending on if I have just posted something that gets a lot of interest, or if it is something tied to events people are following (like during the Edinburgh Festival, my Fringe pics viewings were mental). But 800 odd views in 4 days? Pretty please with that, especially for a picture I improvised by jamming the camera between railings to get a decent night shot when I didn’t have a tripod. And talking of improvised night shots, here are some more I shot around town in the snow on the way home. This pair are from North Bridge, which spans the valley between the Old and New Town, the first looking along Market Street and the edge of the Waverley Station, past the City Art Centre on the left and towards the Mound with the Bank of Scotland’s impressive headquarters and the Castle in the background:

snowy Edinburgh from North Bridge 02

And this one towards Princes Street Gardens and the Scott Monument, over the roof of Waverley Station’s west side; you can see the lights of the Winter Wonderland (very appropriate given the snow) and the lights of the German Christmas Market:

snowy Edinburgh from North Bridge 01

And this one is taken a couple of minutes from my work, it’s the Royal Mile in the snow, again improvised (being sans tripod) by simply setting the camera up on timer and sitting it on one of the bollards that stops vehicles using the Mile most of the time and letting it go. Quite pleased with this one, actually, given it was so improvised, like the red of the traditional (and now rare) British telephone box against the snow. Hard to believe just 12 weeks or so back I was shooting incredibly busy Fringe scenes here with wall to wall tourists and performers doing their bit to attract folks to their shows:

Royal Mile, winter night

And away from the night scenes here’s some from a snow walk around the Water of Leith then along the Union Canal; this is where the train viaduct and the canal aquaduct cross the Water of Leith, near the visitor centre:

Water of Leith, winter 08

There were plenty of snowmen around but someone had created a whole snow family here, sitting on a fallen tree trunk by the Union Canal in Harrison Park, as if they were watching the ducks and swans using the small part of the canal that wasn’t yet frozen. It had been a bright day but then suddenly faded and this snowy mist rose in the background, giving everything this eerie blue light quality which I thought was like the sort of light quality they use in movies when they want to hint it’s spooky or it’s night, or it’s night and spooky, but it’s the way it was, I don’t use Photoshop to fiddle my pics. The Guardian’s Edinburgh blog picked up on this one and featured it on Monday, which was rather pleasing:

three snowmen by the canal

Saint Andrew’s Day

It’s Saint Andrew’s Day in a very snowy Scotland and Edinburgh Castle has been specially lit with a pale, blue light, reminiscent of our Saltire. I managed to get a shot this evening on the way home from the book group tonight, no tripod with me as I had gone right from work to the group meeting, so improvised (as I do for most of my night shots!), jammed camera as best I could between the railings of Princes Street Gardens just above the Ross Bandstand. Seems to have worked, although it meant I couldn’t angle the camera as I’d like to get the whole thing in – did try that but camera wasn’t steady enough, came out blurred, so have to settle for this one – I do like the light in conjunction with all the heavy snow we’ve had, makes an eerie effect, almost like something from a fantasy film:

Edinburgh Castle, Saint Andrew's Night

First snow

Coming round the south side of Arthur’s Seat this afternoon I could see out towards the Pentland Hills on the edge of southern, suburban Edinburgh and oh look, the first snow I have seen this winter (although I know there’s been some up in the Cairngorms already). Ironically the snow stopped before the part of the hills over a little to the right of this pic where the dry ski slope centre is :-) Actually although a little cool it was actually not a bad day either, mostly sunny, no wind, but the previous two days and nights were cold and very wet, so I assume the cold rain must have turned wintery over the hills. Sure there will be more of this in the next few months!

first snow on the Pentlands

Update: the Guardian’s Edinburgh blog has linked to this pic on my Flickr in a post.

Spring time in Scotland

It’s, Scotland, it’s Easter, it’s spring time… So, plenty of snow then… Walking in the Pentlands today, snow left from the dreadful weather earlier this week which dumped snow over a lot of Scotland and storms that have made a mess of a lot of bits of the coastline. Some of it has melted away but in the Pentlands on the edge of Edinburgh it’s still lying there, from light dusting on some spots to seriously deep snow in other spots, coming up our shins almost to our knees.

snowy Pentlands 01

Walking up the hill the skyline gave a great effect, making it look like the clouds were rising up from below the horizon:

snowy Pentlands 07

snowy Pentlands 011

Walking through snow is tiring, time for a breather; this also means time for Bruce the dog to scrounge a biccie from his master:

Gordon and Bruce on snowy Pentlands 02

You can see Edinburgh spread out in the background here (click for the larger version on Flickr):

snowy Pentlands 012

The mysterious White Isles…


Somewhere, legend tells us, off the western end of the dark sea by the very edge of the known world lie the mysterious White Isles, a strange land blanketed in snow and ice where few may travel… How cool is this NASA satellite image of frozen Britain (via the BBC)? There’s barely a scrap of colour to be seen, the entire British Isles appears to be white (must be a BNP dream!). Check the larger version on the Beeb site, its beautifully detailed and clear, you can easily see Loch Ness and the Great Glen in the north of Scotland while the western coast of Scotland looks astonishing

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

Edinburgh in the snow

A very quick 360 degree video panorama of Edinburgh from North Bridge (which connects Old and New Towns) during the heavy snows on the way to work last week. It only took a minute but my coat was covered white in that time and the high winds on such an exposed spot were swirling the snow flakes so much you can barely see the Castle, but I thought it was worth it for a quick capture to give you an idea. In better weather this is a great spot for views across the city (if you are ever visiting its a good spot to take pics from)

Snow

S n o w!

At last, after a mild, mild winter which just ain’t right (like msot Celts I’m suspicious of any winter where I don’t have icicles hanging from my ears, it makes me feel something is deeply wrong) we’ve been hit with some serious winter weather. Some good snow over Edinburgh today, but then it started to clear up just before I went home. Lucky me, it started snowing heavily as I walked home. Walking in snow is fabulous!