Monday, 29 November 2010

Cliff Road wander

I'm been planning to do this wander for months, but had to wait until the leaves were off the trees. Unfortunately that means winter, and the light isn't great so the photos aren't as vibrant as I'd like.

Still, let's begin. This is Cliff Road, as viewed looking East from the tram bridge. It runs parallel with High Pavement, but about 3/4 storeys lower. It runs East to West from Middle Hill to Malin Hill - ancient entrances to the city, and incorporates Long Stairs which are said to date from pre-Roman times.

Down on the ground, the height of the cliff becomes a little more obvious...

...and it becomes apparent how many times this area has been build and rebuilt.

Even a close-up of this doesn't shed much light on what was originally here.

A little further along, a car park stands below several bricked-in archways.

This one features a heavy duty grille. I wonder what is behind there.

And this one seems to have featured both a doorway (right) and a fireplace (left) at some point - though presumably not at the same time.

Moving along, this is the back of the Shire Hall, the old court and gaol on High Pavement.

The windows at the top must have a great view over the South of Nottingham...

...but these lower windows - double barred - probably had a far bleaker prospect.

It was said that in Victorian times that the Shire Hall was "The only site in the country where you could be arrested, sentenced and executed."

Moving on, we can see the back of 26-28 High Pavement (left) which has it's own cave cut into the cliff. The elegant looking building on the right, isn't visible from High Pavement, except through a gate into its courtyard.

Moving on, we come to the rear of some of the buildings that form Commerce Square...

...featuring a balcony...

...odd high doors...

...and buttresses.

Moving further along, the road moves away from the cliff, but it can still be seen between private houses.

Just visible on the left photo are the Long Stairs, and on the right, Malin Hill beneath the bricked-in windows.

As the road loops round, we face the cliff to the West behind some houses - the walled Malin Hill forming a diagonal line from top left to bottom right beneath its bricked-in windows.

A close-up reveals the ancient Long Stairs.

Walking along Malin Hill back up to High Pavement - the wall to the left, bricked-in windows above.

The remains of a carved brick doorway in the wall.

Heavily weathered brick beneath.

Carrying on up Malin Hill...

..there are more signs that this was once a rather busier and more important thoroughfare - now blocked off.

And finally, the view down Long Stairs. I know I've covered them before, but their age and their sad neglect - demolished at one end, gated at the other - always intrigues me. The tree stump barely visible in the centre of the picture is probably one of the half-dozen fig trees that once clung to life on the cliff.

That is all - I hope you have enjoyed this rather un-glamorous wander.

Monday, 15 November 2010


“In this rich country is the city, or town rather, of Elgin; I say city, because in antient time the monks claim'd it for a city; and the cathedral shews, by its ruins, that it was a place of great magnificence”. So said Daniel Defoe of Elgin in 1717 when visiting Scotland. These days it is no more nor less than a pleasant little town, although reminders of its past shine through here and there.

DSCF1632There are several stone pillars dotted around at various approaches to the town centre. This one appears to celebrate fishing.



Lovely weathered old stone carvings on a building that bnow hosts an estate agency.





Atop St. Giles Church in the centre of town sits this column encircled small tower, complete with little door for would be suicides – or more likely, stone masons and cleaners.




High fashion is de rigeur in this trendsetting Scottish metropolis.







This highly-detailed metal pyramid, featuring moments from Elgin’s proud history, sits in the town square right next to the parking area.




Ben, as he always did, made friends. In fact, Scottish folk are amongst the friendliest you’ll find anywhere. No, honestly – they’re generous as well.






There’s St. Giles Church in the background, behind the statue, and the fountain which has been decorated with traditional Scottish chip papers, plastic cups and beer cans.




The salubrious and attractive entrance to a Haberdashery (love that word), and a Beauty Salon.







Little Mavis discovers an ancient hole at the cathedral.






The cathedral entrance. We decided not to go in, cos it was bloody expensive.




The cathedral ruins, and monuments to the dead. The stone you probably can’t quite read is to Isobel Young, of Millbank, who dies in 1910.


Saturday, 13 November 2010

Lossiemouth & Spey Bay

Here we go with another catchy-up Wombat #wander. Lossiemouth is a smashing little place; here’s a few pics of there and the nearby Spey Bay.DSCF1708The River Lossie (obviously) reaches the sea here. This is the footbridge across the river to the dunes with the sea just beyond them.

DSCF1712Almost across – there’s the sea!

Dscf1721RAF Lossiemouth is close by (for now) and low-flying jets often buzz the town. Or at least they did on the day we were there.

DSCF1724The town, where we bought some rather nice sausage rolls (not pictured).

DSCF1728The beach, and dunes, and sea, and dog. 

DSCF1740Sing, little birdie, sing!

DSCF1743Fresh water in the river on the right, salt water in the sea on the left.

We took the next batch of pics at Spey Bay, a little along the coast. The landscape here is fascinating and unusual, lots of white rocks, and old dead trees.

DSCF1755Ben appreciated the many shallow pools.

DSCF1762Pebbles galore, and natural driftwood sculptures.


DSCF1782Ben and tree.

DSCF1793Sculpture by the car park.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

A Whitstable wander

Welcome to @Binarydad's Whitstable wander

Whitstable, in Kent, is a seaside town known for it's oysters and tourist appeal. It's a pretty small place, just 30,000 inhabitants - but it goes back a long way - and it's maritime history has made it an appealing place for a wander.

Strolling down the High Street, I was smitten by the art-deco stylings of the Oxford cinema house. Built in 1936, it survived as a picture house for less than 50 years and, along with seemingly every other nice picture house built in Britain pre-war, survives now as a bingo hall.

Deeper into town, the Cumberland Hotel sits on a commanding site, right in the heart of the town. Just looking at it made me want to drink beer and eat pork scratchings. Though I felt that way looking at the cinema too.

On the seafront, Whitstable boasts some prime Kent real estate. Famously, Peter Cushing lived in one of the houses here. Some of the houses are beautiful - but for outrageous charm, the ramshackle Stag Cottage just stands out. Now mostly given over to the pigeons, the cottage has been subject to a legal wrangle over it's status. It may not survive the next gale, so it was great to see it.

Look. A boat. On the land. Blew my mind.

That pint seems a really good idea. See how lovely the Old Neptune looks? Well, I've go to press on. Before I lose the light. But I will return. Oh yes. I will. Return.

This is a super row of houses. Right on the seafront. Superb. Obviously, well out of the financial reach of the likes of me...

... so maybe a beach hut would be more viable. I like this one. And in Doncaster Rovers' colours too. That must be intentional.

... and look how adorable this hut is. Someone has scrawled "This Hut is Gay" on it. I think that's sad. Don't be sad, hut. I think you are lovely.

In fact, all the huts are gorgeous. There. I said it.

Look! A rusty old car. I have no interest in cars. But I like rust.

And I like this house. Charmingly asymetrical. I knocked on the door loudly for 42 minutes but they didn't let me in. Though I saw a curtain twitch.

Nothing remotely photogenic about a tight alley. But check out its name.

But now I REALLY need that beer. The Old Neptune calls me back. You just know it's going to look great inside too...

... and so it does. Now. Where are my pork scratchings?