An Ancient History Treasure Trove


Kilmartin Glen is a small village in Scotland somewhere between Oban and Lochgilphead. The Glen is home to more than 800 ancient monuments within a few square miles, and is said to have one of the richest concentrations of historical sites in Scotland.

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Starting between the 7th and 8th century candidates for King would place their foot on the sacred Dunadd’s Inaugural Stone, signifying he was now married to the land.

Last summer I was fortunate enough to visit this area with my family, all of us in one way or another tracing our Scottish roots.

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Nether Largie South Cairn is the oldest of the series of cairns found in the valley, probably dating back to the fourth millennium BC. It’s incredible to think that structures such as these still remain standing after so much time.

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The small entrance to one of the cists, or coffins, found at Nether Largie South Cairn. Was a King buried here?

Along the lane from the South Cairn to Temple Wood, even the stone walls are ancient.

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Temple Wood – or Half-Moon Wood – was so named only in the 19th century, after the planting of the trees around the circle. It is thought that the site was first used for burial around 3000BC

No-one is really sure of the significance of the Nether Largie standing stones, but it has been suggested they were erected 3,200 years ago and used to predict the movements of the sun and the moon.

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Reaching back in time

Even a year later, looking back on these pictures I am left feeling nostalgic for a time and place I have never really known.

 


To see more old things, head over to Terri Webster Schrandt’s Sunday Stills: Objects over 100 Years Old challenge.

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A Photo a Week Challenge: Street Lights. Also: A Revamp


In an effort to motivate myself to contribute more to this blog I have decided to do a make-over.  You may have noticed the name change, from Far Out in Africa to the more appropriate and less restricting (at least I think so) I’ll Give You a Letter For That.

For now not much else will change, but I think the non-Africa posts will seem less irrelevant.

Let me know what you think.

I know the title says A photo a week, but I’m terrible at making decisions.

So I’ve included a number of pictures that ‘may’ fit with the theme, which I took during a visit to the UK to visit family last year.

If you want to play along please visit Nancy Merril‘s post, where you can read the rules and hopefully join in the fun.

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Moonset over Glossop in Derbyshire

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Small alley in Durham

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Durham flower display

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Street lights in Newcastle upon Tyne

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Crossing the Tyne Bridge, towards Newcastle

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An intriguing sculpture stairway in Newcastle

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At the Quayside Market, Newcastle

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A narrow flight of stairs, Newcastle

 

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G for Green is Go and God is Love

 

A Step Back in Time: My First Guest Blogger – Peter Taylor


My last post was a collection of some of my favourite photos which I took on a recent visit to Ainsdale Beach, which is in Merseyside, close to Southport in the Northwest UK.

In that post I mentioned that Ainsdale was one of the places my Dad, Peter Taylor, most liked to visit when he was a child growing up in Manchester and today I am delighted to have him here with me reminiscing about those days.

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Peter Taylor – “I’ve always been interested in herpetology and the attraction of Ainsdale is that it is the home of Britain’s rarest toad, the natterjack, and rarest lizard, the sand lizard, both of which have a specialised habitat requirement – sand dunes.

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Ainsdale Dunes

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As a child, our annual holidays would be at Gronant, a small coastal village in Flintshire, North Wales. Gronant had, in those days, extensive sand dunes (which I believe now no longer exist) where natterjack toads and sand lizards thrived.  Gronant was a train journey of several hours from Manchester, whereas with Ainsdale, during the long summer days, I could cycle there and back in a day, with several hours to spare in which I could play around and so was able to visit with ease.

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Ainsdale had, and still has, extensive sand dunes which are now protected but weren’t in my early days, and there was a healthy population of natterjacks and sand lizards.

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This way to the natterjacks!

This way to the natterjacks!

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I used to catch natterjacks and take them home to Manchester, a practise that is now thankfully illegal!

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There were natterjack tadpoles in this pond

Natterjacks are the most vocal of the British amphibia and some people complain about their nocturnal mating calls!

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The red squirrels didn’t interest me all that much, mainly because in those days they were still relatively common and not considered threatened. The red squirrels now exist in the wooded area to the south of the reserve near Formby.

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Formby Squirrel Reserve

There were no motor ways in those days and far less traffic than is the case now. For most of the way I would cycle along the East Lancs Road which had a cycle lane making it pretty safe and I always went with a friend.”

 

A Day At The Beach


I’ve recently been on a trip to the UK to visit my family. Now that I am back home I’m pretty busy with boring stuff like catching up with work I missed and don’t have much time for blogging. I am posting this in haste while the Daily Post Photo Challenge: On The Way is still current. This post is also my entry into this week’s Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge.


I took these photos over the Bank Holiday weekend a couple of weeks ago. First Born and his wife had recently moved over to the UK from South Africa and they wanted to do some exploring, Archie (Last Born’s hyperactive dog) needed an outing and my Dad wanted to show us one of his old childhood haunts – as a child he would cycle from his home in Manchester to Ainsdale Beach – so we all piled into the vehicles and drove to the seaside. An hour or so into the journey someone shouted “there’s an elephant!” Wishful thinking I thought but sure enough, there was an elephant deep in the wilds of Merseyside! IMG_5920 As tempting as it was to turn off to have a look, we continued with our original plan. IMG_5222 IMG_5903   IMG_5853 IMG_5328 IMG_5498 IMG_5368 IMG_5387 IMG_5443 IMG_5867 Hopefully soon I will be up to date with my work and will have time for the more important stuff in life, like getting back in touch with the World of Blog. Until then, Happy Thursday.

Snow!


I’m sure many of you are sick of the sight of it but I’ve not had many opportunities to see snow (to be precise, twice) so when it snowed on Boxing Day while I was visiting my family in the UK I was delighted.  That the snowfall coincided with First Born’s first night in the UK – and his first ever experience of snow – made it all the more exciting.

As the first flakes fluttered down we all rushed outside, immediately built a snowman and then gathered as much snow as we could to throw puny snowballs at each other. Our laughter and screams of hilarity drew confused neighbours to their kitchen window and we laughed even more when we heard one of them comment “Oh, it’s OK. They’re foreign”.

It's not much to look at, but it's Ours!

It’s not much to look at, but it’s Ours!

Foreign antics

Foreign antics

The following morning my Dad took us all for a long walk around Shire Hill. I  love the crunchy noise the snow makes when you walk on it!

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The snow had hardened by then but that didn’t make the views any less spectacular.

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Looking down on Glossop from Shire Hill

 

More snow was flung around.

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And again the neighbours came to have a look.

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What’s with these foreigners flinging snow all over the place?

Half way up the hill we found this poignant memorial and we stood still for a moment, the only sounds coming from the wind whistling through the trees and the occasional plaintive bleat from the sheep.

Come and sit for a while, and remember me

Come and sit for a while, and remember me

We all felt a little sobered, so it was a great relief to the eyes to see a small splash of colour among the white to cheer us up. First Born’s reaction was delightful – “But that’s so English!”.

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