WPC: Heritage

The things you take for granted when you were brought up and lived all your life in one place only take on importance when you move away from that particular area. I moved away from my childhood town in Scotland when I was 22 to the nearest ‘big’ town, then at the age of 44 I moved across the Atlantic, and it was only when I settled into my American town that I realised how much history and culture was on my doorstep back home in Scotland that I never did appreciate. Most American friends all know their heritage and can tell you they’re from Scottish/Irish/German descent and they know how many generations ago their ancestors moved to the States. Me, I can only go back about 4 or 5 generations at the most. It’s even more noticeable in the buildings how ‘young’ this country is. My in-laws back in Scotland lived in a cottage that was attached to a castle which was built in the 15th century. The cottage has obviously been expanded and added onto over the years from it’s 2 room original form, but it still has 3 foot thick walls and original brickwork and stones. Unfortunately the castle was demolished in 1950 because it was unsafe and is now a pile of large stones and rubble covered with grass. We all take this for granted and there’s nothing special about living in a 600 year old house.

Anyway for this post ‘Heritage’ I thought I’d throw up a few images from my home town and the surrounding area.

Newmilns Town House

The townhouse was built in 1739. The steps led to the council chamber, and the side door led to the jail underneath. The town bell (housed in the belltower above the building) is engraved with the date 1547, predating the building below.

Newmilns Keep

The Keep (occasionally referred to as Newmilns Tower) is Newmilns’ oldest building, dating from the 1530s. Over its history, The Keep has served many purposes, including being used as a barracks, prison, grain store, doocot, band hall and beer cellar. After falling into a state of disrepair for many years, it was restored in 1997 and now exists as housing.

Loudoun Kirk

Loudoun Kirk is a disused church located about one mile west of Loudoun Castle (which I’m hoping to photograph this summer). It served as Loudoun’s Parish Church until some point after 1600, when this function moved to the church in nearby Newmilns. It subsequently fell into a state of disrepair, however since 1994 has been preserved by a local charity, Friends Of Loudoun Kirk.

Loudoun Kirk

The establishment of Loudoun Kirk marks the earliest known Christian worship in the surrounding area. It is widely regarded as having been founded in 1451, with most local historians taking this date from an 1890 translation of the Latin text, Muniments of the Royal Burgh of Irvine. Recently however, a ocal historian unearthed a letter referring to church rents dating prior to 1451. After retranslating the Muniments of Irvine, he dated Loudoun Kirk to 1198. At or soon after its foundation, the revenues of Loudoun Kirk were allocated to support the monks of the newly founded Kilwinning Abbey, however they were obliged to provide a priest (curate) to attend to the spiritual needs of the parishioners.

During the Campbell verus Kennedy feuds of 1527/8, Loudoun Kirk was badly damaged, but soon rebuilt. In 1530, in recognition of the shift in population, a chapel was built at Newmilns. Loudoun Kirk remained the parish church until at least the 17th century, at which time the chapel in Newmilns was upgraded to parochial status. Loudoun Kirk and its kirkyard continued in use for occasional church services, but more particularly as the last resting-place of generations of the parishioners of Loudoun. The building was repaired in 1898 by the Third Marquis of Bute.

Dean Castle, Kilmarnock

Dean Castle is situated in the Dean Castle Country Park in Kilmarnock, Scotland. It was the stronghold for the Boyd Family, who were lords of Kilmarnock for over 400 years.

The Castle takes its name from ‘The Dean’ or wooded valley, a common place name in Scotland. However, until about 1700 it was called Kilmarnock Castle. Owned originally by the Boyd family, it has strong historical connections with many people and events famous in Scottish history. Robert the Bruce who gave the Boyds these lands; James III of Scotland whose sister married a Boyd; the Covenanters, some of whom were imprisoned here; Bonnie Prince Charlie, whose rebellion was joined by the 4th Earl of Kilmarnock and Robert Burns who was encouraged to publish his poetry by the Earl of Glencairn who owned the Castle at that time.

I actually worked in the Castle for a while. Whilst it was lovely working in such a beautiful place it gave me cold shivers sometimes as my imagination used to run away with itself and conjure up all sorts of spooky scenarios! There are  many ghost stories surrounding the Castle which I try my hardest not to listen to….


Hiking at Turkey Run

For my son’s 20th birthday this week he wanted to go hiking at Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. He’s been before so knew all the hikes, but as his 70 year old Gran and I were going with him I expected him to choose the ‘easy’ routes…. Nope. He chose all the most difficult ones – ‘rugged’ is how the trail map described them. In consideration of our advanced years he made us do the harder ones first, which meant that by the end of the day (4 hours of hiking btw!) we only had to consider stairs as the ‘obstacles’. He’s all heart that boy! According to MyFitnessPal I climbed 44 flights of stairs that day!

Anyway I was glad I’d taken my compact camera because it meant when I was climbing up gorges and down canyons, plus walking along streams and very narrow cliff edges I could balance myself better without a big DSLR hanging round my neck. Next time I go back I will definitely take the big camera with me though. The scenery was luscious and the rocks were majestic. I was fighting the bright sunlight though with my compact, which I have to say did quite a decent job in the circumstances with only a few blown highlights and flares. It was a fabulous day and I’m already planning when I can go back.

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The start of the hike was looking good and pretty easy so far.

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Son climbing up Wedge Rock.

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There are many legends about how Turkey Run got its name. One story says that wild turkeys, finding it warmer in the canyon bottoms, or “runs”, would often huddle in these runs to avoid the cold. Pioneer hunters would herd the turkeys through these natural funnels into a central location for an easy harvest. Since historic accounts suggest that large numbers of turkeys lived here, it follows that turkeys in the runs prompted the area’s name, Turkey Run.

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Eventually we gave up trying to use stepping stones and logs to get over the water and just walked up the streams. We then had the joy of wet feet for the rest of the day.

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Caves and overhangs were everywhere. There was so much to explore and see; it really was photography heaven.

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The colours on the rocks were phenomenal.

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The Devil’s Punchbowl was amazing and one of the places I’m definitely coming back to with my DSLR and a tripod!

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Some of the five million stairs we climbed. I have to say my wee mum was a champ. She has more energy than me and even though some of the stairs were higher up than her knee she managed everything!

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Falls Canyon waterfall

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The Ice Box

Skink lowres

A Five-Lined Skink

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Canoeing (or kayaking) down Sugar Creek river

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How I would do it if I was canoeing!

What a great way to spend the day with my son and my mum, plus added bonus. I was only very slightly sore the next day. Result!



WPC: Reflecting

On seeing this week’s topic the Chicago Bean (Cloud Gate Sculpture to give it it’s proper name) immediately sprung to mind and luckily I found a shot I hadn’t ever bothered with before as I had taken so many photographs of it. Anyway here is The Chicago Bean in all it’s shiny reflective glory.

Reflections of my life

Reflections of my life by Marmalade. A great song, but oh boy, is it depressing! Now I have an earworm.

I thought I’d throw in another shot on the Reflecting theme. Maybe if I’m a good girl this year Santa will bring me one of these. Or a pony. I’m easy to please.


p.s. You’ll be happy to know I have my ‘R’s’ back in the title field.


WPC: Dange

Question: Why is my ‘R’ not working in the title? It’s working in the post field? RrRrRrRr – see! Are R’s dangerous? I suppose it depends on who’s doing the R-ing. *sigh* I’ve had Internet troubles all week and now it looks like I’m having keyboard trouble.

Anyway the post. Danger. A week late.

A dangerous beastie!

Never trust a smile on a crocodile. Except this is an alligator. Don’t trust them either… they’re pretty dodgy too.

WPC: Wanderlust

As my favourite wizard once said…


Yeah, of course I have a list of favourite Wizards, doesn’t everyone? Gandalf comes before Merlin, who comes before Dumbledore but I also have a wee soft spot for Belgarath. Catweazle isn’t on my list – he scared the beejeebers out of me when I was young!

Anway, back to wanderlust. It would be so easy to throw a ton of pics up but I wanted to do something more original soooooo of course I thought of Doctor Who. The eternal wanderlusty Time-Traveller. (If Wanderlusty isn’t a real word it should be!)

If you had a Tardis you could go anywhere, anytime and not have to queue up at passport control. How excellent is that? The Tardis has been busy lately. I found it in a front garden (front yard) of a house near me in Central Illinois.


Yep, just parked there like a fountain.


BUT, I’ve also spotted it in Buchanan Street in Glasgow in recent times. I was really hoping to find David Tennant too, but no such luck. As an aside David Tennant was in a Glasgow theatre one time I was there and the actors had to stop so he could stand up and take a bow because all the audience were turning round to get a better look at him and ignoring the show.


Well with time being a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff it can go anywhere, anytime and do what it likes. Shouldn’t be too hard to transport me all over then should it?

It can take me to Mars, although I’ve been there already and I have pictures to prove it…


Yep, of course there is (or was). Mars, complete with shadow selfie when it still had water.

But for those of you who don’t believe in space travel this next one’s for you.


And lastly the best Wanderlust quote is from Douglas Adams who said…


I do believe it’s time for another adventure my bloggy friends.


WPC: Earth

In celebration of Earth Day today (22nd April) the weekly photo challenge this week was to show what ‘earth’ means to us. I’ve been very fortunate to have visited some amazing places around the world, which have quite literally taken my breath away, and could quite easily have posted dozens of photographs that mean ‘earth’ to me… BUT, my favourite places in the world nearly all have a common theme to them. I’m fascinated and drawn to water, whether it’s the ocean, waterfall, river or burn (stream)(or creek here in the USA).

Ever since I was young you couldn’t keep me away from water. When we used to go for a day out as a family my parents would drop me off at the local swimming pool and go do whatever they did when they visited a new town then come back and pick me up in an hour or two. Also growing up in the countryside I was never far from a river and playing stepping-stones inevitably led to falling in and wet feet. As an adult and living close to the sea on the west coast of Scotland I used to drive the 10 minutes to the seaside and walk the dog or jog along the promenade if I was feeling energetic. When my kids were born it was a fantastic excuse to go rock-pooling at the beach again and go fishing for minnows in the burn.

My happy place is always beside some form of water or other so I thought that throwing some photographs up of water fit in this week’s theme well. Anyway here’s a selection of water shots from my archives.

The River Doon in Alloway, Scotland

The bridge in the photograph above is the famous ‘Brig O’Doon’ in Ayrshire where Tam O’Shanter escaped from the witches in the Robert Burns poem ‘Tam O’Shanter’ by crossing the stream (seemingly witches can’t cross running water. Good to know!)

River pebbles at Glencoe

The kids all decided to climb one of the Three Sisters mountains at Glencoe and we waited for them at the bottom so decided to go for a paddle. The water was F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G so we didn’t paddle for long!

Ayrshire sunset

Sunset at Troon with a bag of chips. Nothing more to add really!

Beautiful Florida beach

Breakfast with a view. My sister is lucky enough to live on the Gulf coast of Florida so visiting her we can go out to a beach restaurant and enjoy spectacular views like this for free.

Kauai sea
Kauai seascape

Beautiful Kauai. I’ve done a few posts before about my Hawaiian adventures but don’t think I’ve used this photograph. The rock formations formed perfect steps and watching the waves come over and cascade down in mini waterfalls was mesmerising.

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Sea caves in Kauai

I could have stood there all day and just watched the power and majesty of the ocean battering into the cliffs at Kilauea, it was just wonderful. “Wow!” as my sister said every five minutes when we would find another gorgeous thing to look at.

Kauai beach
Kauai beach

And finally a beach photograph. It really is good for the soul to sit and watch the ocean/sea/river/waterfall/burn/puddle. Well, maybe not puddle…

I should have been a mermaid.


Photobombing dawg

Outside this afternoon trying to photograph my beautiful Azaleas and dawg decides to sneak into the shot.

Pouncing pooch

One minute he’s quite happily chasing bees on the grass…


I’m invisible!

Next he’s sneaking ninja-like into the shot…


Do you think she saw me?

Then he tries to act like he’s not there…


This is my best side. Does my nose look big in this?

Finally he strikes his perfect pose.

At least he’s not pulling the heads off them or digging them up. I do have a 3 foot hole in the grass though. I think he’s trying to dig to Australia (or wherever the opposite of the USA is. Is it China?)  Good job he’s cute. He just looks at me with his big brown eyes and gets away with mischief. Stinker!