Peace, Calm and Loneliness on Uist

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I’ve spent so long living in cities that I found the silence to be almost deafening when I first arrived on Uist. I usually surround myself with noise as it seems to keep me company almost and stops me from feeling lonely when I spend long periods of time by myself. However, after a while I eventually discovered the inner peace that comes with sitting outside in complete silence; for the first time in a few years I took comfort in my own thoughts and was able to feel calm instead of feeling over crowded in my own head. For me this photo sums up that discovery of peace within the loneliness as I gazed out at the sky surrounded only by total silence.

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The majesty of The Jacobite

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Greeting the Rising Sun in the Outer Hebrides

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The Bleak Beaches of Uist

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Those lazy hazy days of summer

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Visual Anthrozoology at Monkey Forest, Trentham

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I recently had the pleasure of introducing my own little monkey to the macaques of Monkey Forest, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent. She was both excited and a bit nervous as the macaques wander free in a big forest and it was our responsibility to steer clear of them and their habitat for once; a fabulous and no doubt valuable experience for her to see animals in a slightly more natural setting!

I was also pleased as it gave me the opportunity to try and get some decent animal photos; I had to find a way through the difficulties of taking a picture of a constantly moving animal whilst in a relatively large crowd of adults and children! I loved the way I managed to see some incredibly intimate experiences between the macaques such as a cuddle between a family with a newborn and the sharing of food between a mother and a baby – it felt as though I was viewing ‘Family in the Public Eye’ in an almost sociological sense. Some of the older male monkeys were just fantastically blasé about it all and sat very close to the path staring off in what looked to be a wistful manner…. although I will concede my tendency to anthropomorphise here!

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The Tree Tunnels of Lever Park, Rivington

   

I took my little monkey up to the wonderful Lever Park at Rivington Reservoir today. It’s actually a huge area that we’ll need to go back and explore (I think biking it will be best)! But today we had fun exploring an intricate network of tree tunnels and having a picnic at the ruins of Liverpool Castle. 

I’d been here before to go to the Go Ape tree top adventure park so the whole place is very family friendly for all age groups and there’s a whole network of walks and a wood with an enchanted feel that I really love. 

 

Discovering the North West: Pennington Flash

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It’s been far too long since I last posted so it’s time for me to start exploring my new home and sharing the local beauty spots I think. I found moving and settling in quite difficult this time around, but I’m finally starting to feel like myself again and I’ve refocused on my dreams of working and schooling from home and travelling the big wide world with my wee girl. For now I may have to satisfy myself by travelling the big wide world that is England ( and specifically the North West until my money box starts to refill!).

So this is my local beauty spot, Pennington Flash. Today was a surprise sun-filled day so I came here with my sister and our children and we had a gorgeous walk, play in the park and generally relaxing afternoon. I think this view helped me to rediscover a tiny bit of serenity that was very much missing from my life…..

Here’s to the future and to many more serene afternoons wandering through the beautiful places I’ve yet to experience.

Times are changing

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I thought I could do with writing a catch up blog as I suddenly realised I’ve been absent for a very long time on WordPress.

Life has moved on considerably since I last posted…. As you can see I finally graduated from the lovely University of Glasgow – I am now (somehow) the proud owner of a 1st class MA (hons) in Philosophy. The blood, sweat and tears was all worth it when I opened up that results email and saw I’d got the 1st! I’m experiencing some post-graduation blues now but it’s all just part of the journey I think; after so many years of truly difficult work I guess I just feel at a loose end. I have no definite plans yet apart from saving up to go travelling as much as possible and home schooling my wee monkey for a long as I can (or at least for as long as she wants me too anyway).

I’ve also moved house back to the Manchester area – a tiny bit reluctantly as I completely fell in love with Glasgow and Scotland whilst I was there – however it was time for a change and my new circumstances should give me the opportunity to save more money and really have the future I want for me and my daughter. I’m hoping to get loads of new photo opportunities by exploring the surrounding areas of the Pennines, Lake District, Cumbria and Wales.

For now it’s just time to relax, re-centre myself and get used to my new found freedom. I can’t seem to get used to the fact I have nothing much I really have to do, and I’m already looking at volunteering (to put the tefl qualification to good use), and maybe learn a language or two! I want to re-focus my energies into my photography and try to take that more seriously now as well! Daunting but all very exciting too….

Thanks so much for sticking with me throughout all the stress – my wee WordPress community has given me much comfort and support and I hope my followers will continue to follow me into the future whatever it may hold.

The Trouble with Oban

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A few days ago I wrote about my disappointment with Oban. I found it to be a bit of a let down, probably because my expectations were so high. However when I look at this picture I took, I realise why that reputation exists. This photo is stunning, here Oban looks idyllic and inviting. I think the trouble arises because although this is a beautiful angle and view of the harbour, it’s what you can’t see that more explains my original opinion. Behind me, if you turn and look, what you’ll see is a very normal small seaside town. Apart from an interesting stone building up on a hill there really was nothing of note about the rest of Oban. Yet if you went and sat and stared out at this lovely spot, you would obviously recognise that in amongst the normality there are slices of picturesque charm dotted around.

Maybe my complaint is that I had to work hard for my touristic enjoyment and if I think about it that seems a poor way to judge a place. I wouldn’t like to think of myself as lazy, maybe Oban is telling me that I shouldn’t take a place for granted just because its charm doesn’t jump out and smack me in the face. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then that places the responsibility firmly at my feet to actively engage with my environment rather than just experience it in passing, never really connecting with it on a deeper level.

Or maybe Oban is just a bit overrated and the good publicity simply drives capital to the area, but that would be a very cynical way to think about it in my opinion!