Thursday, 6 August 2015

Colourful Scotland

So far you may have got the impression that all the towns and cities of Scotland are grey and sombre. But it isn't true. By which I mean, there are many exceptions. Let me persuade through the medium of Photography.

First up, Culross. By the way, if you didn't already know, 'Culross' is not pronounced 'KUL-ROSS' as you might think. It's pronounced 'KOO-ROSS', and not much emphasis on the ROSS bit either, so that it's actually more like 'KOO-ross'. You need to know this, otherwise Scottish people will find humour and comedy in your pronunciation, and will chuckle heartily.

Here's Culross:

These shots were taken on a dull (and eventually rainy) evening, and the sunny morning that followed. I've mixed them together.

I think you'll grant that there's nothing dour about Culross! The red tiled roofs do help. Legend has it that they came here as ballast in ships that exported local coal - Culross was one of the first places in Scotland to mine coal on a significant scale (this is going back to the sixteenth century) and moreover mine coal under the sea, the town being on the north shore of the Firth of Forth. Coal made Culross (or at least its chief inhabitant) very prosperous. The complex of yellow-painted buildings is Culross Palace, the house owned by the local lord, and now in the hands of the National Trust for Scotland. Modern residents have strong views about that yellow paint. Personally, I rather like it. 

A railway line separates Culross from its own shoreline, except at one or two points. One of these leads out onto a pier, and despite its doubtful state, and the spitting rain, I couldn't resist going out onto the pier for the sake of a dramatic sunset photo.

Down the road from Culross is village called Low Torry, and I spotted this above a passageway:

Another place that is resolutely not grey is the inland town of Dunkeld, which sits on the north bank of the River Tay. Like Culross, the accent is on being picturesque:

Even when walls are left unpainted, some places still leave you with a colourful impression. One of these is Footdee, the old settlement at the mouth of the River Dee, now part of Aberdeen's seafront. It's a quirky series of streets that must once have been an old-time fishing community. It's full of little houses. It hasn't gone far upmarket - yet - and (to me) looks exactly the sort of place where an artist would like to live. There are colourful touches everywhere, and even its tumbledown shacks have the air of cabins for the creative artisan.

I was a bit puzzled by these little shacks, such as the dark green one just above. Were they really homes? They seemed too small. And yet, very tiny residences exist everywhere. This was one of the smallest I'd ever previously seen, by the shore at Aldeburgh in Suffolk: 

That nearly-new 09-reg Mercedes parked next to the house (I took the shot in 2010) may indicate that this is the weekend home of someone with a bit of money. Money or not, they would still need to be on the short side to feel comfortable in such a diminutive little home. Definitely not for six-footers! And yet the dark green Footdee shack must be even smaller. That said, I can live perfectly easily in my caravan for two or three weeks, and occasionally longer, and the caravan is a tinier space still. But it does have adequate headroom, and plenty of windows at the front end. This must make a crucial difference. I suspect that most people would not be able to stand up properly in the Footdee and Aldeburgh 'houses'.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely pictures, Lucy. Again, I really need to get back to the UK and see something besides England.

    There's a TV show here in the States called Tiny Houses or something like that. Seems to be a trend as a way find an affordable home. They're cute!

    Calie xx


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