Monday, 19 July 2010


St Pauls GJC_IMG_6636

I had arranged to meet a friend in London several months ago and booked a cheap advanced train ticket. Unfortunately,  the meeting was cancelled at short notice but I decided to go anyway to take in some tourism that I had not seen for quite some time.

Buffers. Train noses 2010 GJC_IMG_6619

Portrait of East coast power (20 and 35 years of service respectively) or rather....... the end of the line.

Pillars GJC_IMG_6625
In between the pillars of St Pauls

Colours GJC_IMG_6643
Under a Southwark railway Bridge

Boadicea GJC_IMG_6652
Even Boadicea has to pull up at the traffic lights

Light GJC_IMG_6657
Marriot entrance

Ghost Train GJC_IMG_6683
A ride on the ghost train.....

Parliament Windows GJC_IMG_6677 the chamber of horrors !!

Eye in the sky GJC_IMG_6661
A birds "Eye" view from the big wheel

Sentry GJC_IMG_6701

Time to move on to another famous location, I wonder if he has a sneaky drink of that water when no one's watching, speaking of which, there's not many toilets around here......

The Fence GJC_IMG_6698
.......I wonder if they would mind if I jumped over the Royal fence...........

The Queens Towel !! GJC_IMG_6708

                           ....and use the Queens bathroom !!!

The Lake GJC_IMG_6715

St James' Park

Squirrel GJC_IMG_6741
........where even the squirrels bow.......

The Palace GJC_IMG_6726
........within view of the great building.......

Birdlife GJC_IMG_6752

... heading towards Downing street, a resident prepares a speech.

Household Cavalry about to ring the doorbell GJC_IMG_6764

Household cavalry.  In case of emergency, please ring doorbell.......iron and vacuum cleaner just behind the door...........

Rear View GJC_IMG_6790
Rear Guard !!
......speaking of which, this picture was taken from the viewing stable where there was something to vacuum clean up !!!

Farewell GJC_IMG_6812
A goodbye kiss from London ..........for a while
All to soon, it was time to return for the train but I was recommended by a work colleague to visit the newly refurbished Eurostar terminal in St Pancras station where there was a statue in memory of the poet associated with the railways in the UK and the couple depicted above ..... a much larger scale than i had previously imagined.  It was time to buy a few snacks from the shopping mall downstairs before returning next door into Kings Cross to find my platform for the journey home !!

Harry Potter wall GJC_IMG_6825

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Walk 3 :- Etal - Ford

Etal Castle GJC_IMG_6435_2

After much discussion and debate with one of the fellow walkers, this was finally the walk that was accepted on the basis of a next to no incline and two refreshment stops. The starting point for this north Northumberland walk was at Etal castle car park and the route was originally meant to be six miles long.

Black Bull, Etal GJC_IMG_6436

Etal is an idyllic Northumberland village consisting of a few different buildings in one street with the most famous building being the Black Bull thatched pub.

Millstone GJC_IMG_6447

Due to my mis-calculation of the speed of traffic on the A697, I cut out half a mile from the first quarter of the walk in order to avoid a rebellion in the ranks and take in a coffee shop at Heatherslaw Mill to keep the group on my side.  The mill is a working museum that makes bakery products for distribution to  local delicatessens and also houses a souvenir / bakery store with a coffee shop upstairs (a bit of incline for my walking group !!). There is a nearby narrow gauge railway just over the river to transport the non walkers to and from Etal. The above picture show some of the party through the mill stone rushing to the coffee shop !

Walk through the fields GJC_IMG_6455

After sustenance, the trekkers  pursue a route through the jungle that doubles as the riverside walk of the River Till in the direction of Ford.....

Farm GJC_IMG_6456

....with a quick look back at typical countryside from the area

Dandelion GJC_IMG_6460

Horseshoe Door GJC_IMG_6475

On reaching Ford, a few of the party were quite worried about sitting down on the grass eating sandwiches on the well kept grass. This village has unique architecture with the most famous building being a former school room called Lady Waterford hall. The above photograph is another example of something a bit quirky which housed a glassworks exhibition.

Swing GJC_IMG_6479

Avenue GJC_IMG_6499

All too soon, after a lunch break and a varied countryside walk, we were nearing the end as we reached the traditional gates of Etal Hall and the re-connection with civilisation.

Plant shop GJC_IMG_6512

On entering the main thoroughfare of Etal, Jan's plants are always popular with tourists as something to take home. The local village Hall is noted in the background.

Post Office GJC_IMG_6514

It is sometimes difficult to spot anything out of place in this village as we enter the final refreshment location for the day, there are however, trained specimens who tidy up during and after the guests indulgence !

Bird  GJC_IMG_6525

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Dunoon - North East Railtours

MV Jupiter   GJC_IMG_6284

Today was never about a railtour but nautical nostalgia when I spent teenage school holidays watching a trio of boats. This particular boat ( MV Jupiter) is the only one left in regular service as the Saturn works a relief summer service to Rothesay and the Juno no longer has a passenger certificate. Interestingly enough, today's boat trip was originally meant to be going to Rothesay, on possibly the Saturn, but the Northern Belle train stole the all day slot in Weymss Bay (Rothesay departure point) forcing the NER organiser to re-arrange another destination at seven days notice. This was Calmac's premier route from Gourock to Dunoon.

Porthole   GJC_IMG_6202

Departing from Gourock with a porthole view

Lifebelt  GJC_IMG_6209

Lifeline .... to escape people I was placed next to on the train. ( Some of these trips have seat vacancies  and one of the problems of solo travelling is the people you are thrown together with. One had repetitive conversation & the other .... I still have no idea what they were talking about !!)

Kilcreggan  GJC_IMG_6204

The re-routing of the trip gave me the opportunity to view, via zoom lens, the large house (in the trees with the turret on the left) where I stayed in Kilcreggan.

Clyde sailing   GJC_IMG_6228

The Firth of Clyde is rather different to what people expect who have never had the opportunity to see it. The view north is to Loch Long and the Arrochar Alps.

Cloch Lighthouse  GJC_IMG_6406

...while to the south is the lighthouse at Cloch point through a ship porthole. This particular picture was quite difficult to take as I had to stand well back from the hole to gain maximum zoom of the lighthouse. I had a few staring passengers unable to understand what I was photographing !

Castle  GJC_IMG_6261

On arrival at Dunoon, the sight of greeting was the Castle which houses a museum and was the scene of a wedding today.

View south  GJC_IMG_6268

Behind the castle, there was a good view south down the west side of the Firth of Clyde.

Highland Mary   GJC_IMG_6294

Highland Mary keeps a watchful eye on the Firth but unfortunately not looking after herself as she wasn't wearing a hat !!

Dunoon Mugs  GJC_IMG_6318

Dunoon Mugs

The shopping centre in Dunoon is nothing to write home about, but ever the eager eye looking for a photo opportunity..... had to resort for something in a mug shop.

Seagull Policeman  GJC_IMG_6347

Policing the view for a few chips

Dunoon Pier   GJC_IMG_6322

Dunoon Pier

Clock Tower   GJC_IMG_6254

Clock Tower, Dunoon Pier

Leaving Dunoon  GJC_IMG_6333

All too soon, it was time to return from the solitude of the park and return to the MV Jupiter for my very last trip on it and the verbal torture on the train at Gourock.
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