Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sunset at Troon, South Ayrshire

Arran sunset   GJC_016806

I decided to unofficially call this lazy post  ... "The sun, two islands, two seats, an anchor and ... a bin" !

I was going to move on to the following day of the trip which I'm having difficulty editing and finding a title, but I almost forgot about the evening set and fourth post from one day.

After a busy day looking around Largs, Millport / bike ride of Cumbrae and a late afternoon look into the grounds of Kelburn Castle, I wanted to improve on my previous evenings sunset shots from Irvine.

Isle of Arran  GJC_016787

One of the things about staying on the west coast of Scotland is the opportunity to photograph sunsets using a variety of Islands as a backdrop. Some of last years material from Oban was the inspiration for this.

Isle of Arran #2   GJC_016793

The Isle of Arran seemed the obvious choice on the map for Ayrshire but one of the shots in the Irvine set where I was staying proved that it was not the ideal location. I opted to move down the coast a little to the town of Troon, famous for The Royal Troon golf course and a ferry port for Northern Ireland. It is less well known these days for the former shipbuilding of Paddle steamers, small naval vessels and Caledonian MacBrayne ferries. The company Ailsa Shipbuilding operated from 1885 to 2000. It is also less well known again that it was somewhere different for me to eat early evening dinner on this trip !!

Ballast Bank Anchor   GJC_016795

Just to add a little detail here in case anyone wonders about two of the later images. All but two (image 2 & 3) of this set were photographed from Ballast Bank behind the harbour to the south. Although I have no specific information about the anchor, the bank was created from dumped ballast from incoming ships to protect the rather exposed Troon harbour in 1840 owned at the time by The Duke of Portland. The area in the past was notorious for shipwrecks and possibly the unknown anchor signifies that point. These days Ballast Bank seems to be a picnic park, late night romancing spot !! and provides a slightly elevated view towards the Isle of Arran.

Ship wheel seat  GJC_016797

An interesting park bench with ships wheel nodding more appropriately in the direction of the harbour rather than Arran.

Ship seat sunset  GJC_016799

Arran Anchor Bin  GJC_016801

Anchor sun  GJC_016802

Bin sunset   GJC_016808

As you can see Ballast Bank is a popular destination for car drivers to eat takeaway Fish and Chips.

Ailsa Craig !!  GJC_016803

It not only provides a view to the more obvious Isle of Arran but to the unique and distant smaller uninhabited granite rock bird sanctuary of Ailsa Craig.

Arran view Bench  GJC_016804

That's enough talking on a post that was meant to let the photography speak !!

Day's end   GJC_016819

Seat landscape   GJC_016830

Photographer  GJC_016835

Friday, 10 April 2015

Kelburn Castle and Country Estate, Largs, North Ayrshire.

Processed Kelburn Castle   GJC_016691_edited-2

It's been a difficult time and busy few weeks for me this last month so I've had to miss a week or two on blogger by taking an enforced short break, maybe more on that another time but similarly I return here with a post on what I see as a difficult location and less than inspiring photographically. Although this is the next post in the series, it's probably the first one in many a year that I lack the passion in wanting to display. More of that later in the post.

(The blog highlight of the last month was an unusual first for me with the reality of meeting two fellow bloggers in Durham Cathedral at the suggestion of Cranberry Morning on vacation. Mike @ A bit about Britain was also invited and enjoyed his day out. It was additionally good to meet Mr C and Mrs B !! )

After arriving back on the mainland from my afternoon visit to Millport and The island of Great Cumbrae, I wanted to catch a little bit closer the strange sight of Kelburn Castle on the southern outskirts of Largs. The colourful sight was just visible on the hillside and also in the distance from a variety of points during the afternoon.

Kelburn Castle  GJC_016694_edited-1

Kelburn Castle is thought to be arguably the oldest castle in Scotland built around 1200 AD with additional structural work of fusing an old and new castle together in The Middle Ages. Adjacent rooms were added later in 1700 followed by a Victorian Wing in 1880.

I had originally considered posting the first two images of The Earl of Glasgow's home with the Largs set recently, but it didn't seem to sit well and it's a little out of town anyway.

I remember visiting Kelburn back in 1992 when it was just a drab brown spectacle although I saw so many Castles and Country Parks that week that they all seemed to merge in my brain. It's position overlooking a gorge is quite dramatic and I had forgotten that although visitors are allowed to roam the estate, they are not entitled to go through the gate that I was resting on to photograph the above image. Pre booked castle tours are relatively new and are available during summer afternoons.

Kelburn Graffiti GJC_016693

Essentially the  Castle needed temporary rendering and the idea was inspired by one of his children to  display some graffiti for extra interest and no doubt potential revenue. The style chosen was urban Brazilian art from artists who were given the chance to stay here whilst working on the project for a month during 2007. As you can imagine, the result created huge media attention contrasting urban style with conservative architecture.

Kelburn Rendering  GJC_016704_edited-1

The conservation organisation, Historic Scotland, initially agreed to the graffiti on the basis that it would be removed at the the next natural external rendered painting. However the Earl seems to be in dispute with them in more recent years, as he wanted the artwork kept permanent. ... Kelburn Castle's Graffiti to be removed

Kelburn Window  GJC_016698

Work to remove the graffiti is expected to start sometime soon although the argument of how soon will no doubt run and run.

House in the Woods  GJC_016739

A large wooden fort and a secret forest were added later to provide all round family entertainment and much needed additional revenue for the cash strapped venue. The Secret Forest was a mix of wooden buildings that were inspired by both nursery rhymes and foreign architecture. Personally as I was entering the site late in the day, midweek and out of season, I found the forest eerily quiet with sinister graphics that seemed to reflect either Middle Earth or Pagan elements. On talking to a Scottish relative last month, their grandchildren of a certain age were frightened by the experience and were more comfortable playing in the large full size wooden fort.

Art House  GJC_016680

Kelburn Reception GJC_016764_edited-1

The other buildings on the site were originally built in 1700 as a farm and accommodation for estate workers.

Courtyard   GJC_016749

In 1977 when the grounds were first opened to the public, these were converted to more contemporary productive use, such as a cafe, information office, shop and exhibition display.

Stables Cafe   GJC_016755

The stables doubling as a cafe.. A new meaning to diners eating at the trough !

Kelburn Story   GJC_016756_edited-1

The nearby exhibition room depicts a series of cartoon paintings that depicts the history of the estate.

De Boyvilles   GJC_016757_edited-1

Here are a few examples. Some parts of the exhibition room were badly lit so apologies for the subsequent badly focused examples or incomplete set.

Grander Boyles  GJC_016758_edited-1

Essentially it is the story of so many Castles and Historic houses down through centuries.

3rd Earl   GJC_016759_edited-1

6th Earl   GJC_016760_edited-1

7th Earl   GJC_016761_edited-1

9th & 10th Earl   GJC_016762_edited-1

Lastly with the eerie and disturbing late afternoon coming to an end, I thought it wise to make my escape quickly as I would be unsure of my fate if I hung around too long.

Shed  GJC_016723

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