Thursday, February 22, 2007

Added Ireland photos - even more

So I've now updated "The updating continues..." (January 24) and "Loads to tell" (January 22) with photos from Ireland. There's a few sentence-long comments introducing the pictures that were added as well, but they're right by the photos. I'm sure you'll figure it out.

Since I've been told by people before that they have used some of my photos as computer wallpaper, if you find you like a picture and that it's not as high a resolution as you would like (not sure what Blogger puts them up as) then I can try loading a size larger (I'm using medium) to see if that helps. Although if they've been used as wallpaper before then they should be alright. And I'm just being vain to suggest it, perhaps ;) But anyway, give me a shout if that's the case.

And now for some photos from the days I spent in the Connemarra region of Galway county. This was truly out in the boonies, where buses would go in to certain villages only on one day of the week and only leave on another day. The landscape reminded me of the Highlands, but then the stone is a different colour - sort of the same colour as the Burren.

This mountain is called "Diamond Hill"; I walked up to the top of it.

View from the top of the hill over the water.

View of some of the mountains that make up the chain known as the Twelve Bens

I saw a few of these (pictured below) out of bus windows, but in walking by this one I got to inspect it more closely. What is it? It's basically a roadside shrine. There's a statue of a saint in the middle, enclosed chamber, then a statue of the Virgin Mary on the left, and you may be able to make out 12 crosses going up the hillside in the back that have pictures on them of events leading up to Christ's crucifiction.

You'll notice that the sheep below has three stripes on him (or her): red, black, and green. The sheep in Scotland are often spray-painted as well, but usually with just one small bit of color. I'd never seen sheep with three colours like this one below, that was in a field with similarly-painted sheep along a road I travelled. It's a punk sheep!

"Walk" up the hill behind the Coylet

Two weeks ago I was taking a walk down the forest trail up the hill behind the hotel (I think the entire mountain is called Beinn Ruadh, which means "red mountain" - there's a lot of mountains called that over here, as well as Beinn Mor - "big mountain"). I was planning to go to Puck's Glen and hang around there for a bit as the weather was really nice - cool, but sunny. I never made it to Puck's Glen, for while walking along I got to looking up the mountain and thinking that it wouldn't be too hard to walk up it, as there were sections with no trees on them whatsoever, and it's that underbrushy growth stuff that makes it hard to get places. So on a whim, I started up the mountain in a section that didn't have thorny plants on it (there's a lot of thorny plants over here also).

I think I started up around 12:30pm. It was a good climb - the hill is steeper than you realize, or at least steeper than I am accustomed to being from PEI - and it tires you quickly going up like that. Within a few minutes of climbing I always find it hard to believe how high up I am.

So with several breaks along the way, by 2pm or so I was getting tired but thought that I was quite near the top. I paused for as long as I could as it was much colder up at that height that it was down in the forest at the bottom, and since I was sweaty I felt the cold quicker than I normally would. Also, having not planned to climb up a mountain I hadn't really dressed for cold weather, but it wasn't too bad.

Mountains being the deceptive things that they are, of course I was not nearly at the top, but almost at the top of a crest that, once I climbed over it, I could then see the seemingly vast rest of the mountain that I had to climb. I considered turning back a few times short of the top, but I made myself go on and felt that I was well rewarded by the views when I got up. By then I think it was getting on 3pm, so it was about 2.5 hours to get up. My legs didn't even feel tired for a few minutes while I was up there, owing to the view! So here's some pictures that I took.

This is the view over the hills toward the southeast where you can see where Loch Long (on the left) meets the Firth of Clyde (into back of photo and stretching to the right). The view of Gourock, where I take the ferry to to go to Glasgow by train, is just blocked by the hill on the right. If it looks as though you could quickly jaunt across those hills to the water, that's the deceptiveness of mountains again - I'm standing on a steep slope and the rest of them are quite steep as well.

This is Loch Eck, looking northwest. The Coylet is right on it's shores but not in view in this picture. You can see why we can't get television signals from this photo - we're smack dab in the middle of a very narrow glen that is primarily filled by loch.

Here you can see the Coylet Inn from above. Well, you probably can't actually see it very well, but you can probably see the caravan park that is the grouping of buildings in the middle. The hotel is just a small speck to the left of them separated by some trees along the road.

On my descent of the mountain (which took about 30-45 minutes compared to the ascent of 2.5 hours), I startled a bunch of sheep (I only "baaaa-ed" at them a few times!) and they watched me until I was out of their view, or at least until they were out of my view. There was quite a few sheep at the top of the mountain, with a fence to keep them to the upper regions. Seeing sheep over here always makes me feel a bit odd since I know that the farming of sheep is responsible for so many Scottish people having to leave to go to Canada in the 1700-1800's.
The sheep are standing in amongst some heather and grass, which became my friend when going down the hill as there were some sections that were really muddy (near streams) and I would have just kept sliding down if I didn't have handholds.

As you can see in this photo the sun is starting to set in the west (on the right), as it's getting on 4pm.

I've yet to put up my Ireland photos, but I'm working on that. The hotel phone line is now functioning again, and even the library seems to be liking Blogger now on occassions so we'll see how it goes.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Back in Scotland

Hi Everyone! I've been back in Scotland since the end of January but I haven't been able to get online since then because the hotel has been without a working phone line since January 31. Someone stole part of our phone line to get the copper, so we've been told, and for some reason it has taken almost two weeks and we still have no phone line. That's British Telecom's efficiency for you. All our calls have been diverted to our manager's mobile, so we can at least receive and make calls but it's still been a problem for business.

I still have some more updating to do on Ireland, and some pictures to put up, but it will have to wait unfortunately. I'll just "falsely" insert updates into their rightful chronology and slip photos in as well when I can and I'll let you know that I'm doing it.

The weather has been great lately. Other than some rain on this Thursday, Friday, and then a bunch of wind as well on Saturday, it's otherwise been clear and sunny. Last Monday I climbed the mountain behind the Coylet, I think it might be called Beinn Ruadh which just means "red mountain". There wasn't any path but there was also no trees in the way so it wasn't too bad - tiring, but enjoyable. The view was quite good and I managed to get some pictures which I'll throw up here later. Coming back down was also interesting as I got myself into some slippy patches around a stream and had to make use of the local fauna, mostly heather, to steady myself going down. But gravity being only in the one direction, going down the mountain went about 6 times faster than going up.

That's all for now - now I'll see if I can post this. If you can read it, either I was successful or I just e-mailed it to someone who could post it. That's the problem with these free library computers - they don't like Blogger.