Monday 31 August 2015

THROUGH MY LENS -Nearing County Antrim - Ailsa Craig Island (Part 14)

We are on our way back to County Antrim and you can see in the second image that Ailsa Craig Island is just disappearing behind us in the mist.  Below is one of the group being shown the navigational aids.  We certainy needed them today due to the heavy mist through the day although it lifted a bit as we sailed past the coast of Scotland on our return journey.

The Tiveragh Fairy Hill (below)
Legend and lore has it that this very broad sided hill with steep sides overlooking the small village of Cushendall in Northern Ireland is the gateway to Tir na nOg. A place very well known locally to be haunted by faeries, leprechauns, elves, and pixies … this giant hill is a natural fortress all in its own and easily seen to be claimed as a stronghold by the fae. Fairy tales mention many stories about it rising up on pillars during the twilight evening with glimmering meriment of faeries frolicking and dining. 

Many believe that the wee folk live in this hill that is accessed by a nearby cave. As the warning goes, if ye are mortal, regardless of how appeasing the faerie music may sound, if you wander within, you’ll never be seen again on this plane of existence. Time holds a whole different rhythm in Faerieworlds.

The skipper's wife told me that it was traditional for the children to roll their Easter eggs down this hill but only during daylight hours!

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We are nearly back to County Antrim and I do hope none of you were sea sick.  Tomorrow finishes this series when I end as I started showing you Gannets but this time I photographed them on our journey back.

I am linking this post with THROUGH MY LENS. NR 5
I am also linking with image- in-ing.

Many thanks for visiting and also to those who leave comments.

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - Mount Stewart House and Garden

This is my attempt this week at Scavenger Hunt Sunday and all the photographs were taken when I visited the National Trust property at Mount Stewart House and Gardens, outside Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland. 

1.   What I’m doing today. 
Lunching at Mount Stewart outside at the restaurant when a Great Tit joined me.

2.   Inside
Hallway with Dining room off to right at Mount Stewart.
I will be showing you more photographs and videos of the recent and beautifully renovated inside of this house in later posts.

3.   Candid
Three brothers watching the Goldfish in the pond in the gardens at 
Mount Stewart.

4.   Yum
I resisted these tasty delights but had the gorgeous Carrot & Coriander soup.

5.    Natural Light

Water Lilies from one of the ponds in the formal garden at Mount Stewart.

I am linking with SCAVENGER HUNT SUNDAY. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for visiting.

Many thanks for all your kind comments.

Sunday 30 August 2015

SUNDAY THOUGHT Ailsa Craig Island (Part 13)

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. 
What is your life? 
You are a mist that appears for a little while
 and then vanishes. 

James 4: 14 

Photographed as I was leaving Ailsa Craig Island.

July 2015

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Thanks for eveyone who have followed my posts for the past 2 weeks when we visited Ailsa Craig.

I have just two more posts to show you as I head back to Country Antrim again.

NB  A Shag is a different bird to a Cormorant. 
Some bloggers think it is the same.

Many thanks to all those who leave comments.

Saturday 29 August 2015

SATURDAY CRITTERS - Ailsa Craig Island (Part 12)

Our time is nearly up on the island of Ailsa Craig and as I walked round a small part of it,  I found a lot of Lesser Black backed gulls with their chicks.  You could barely see the chicks even though they were as large as the adults but blended 
in well to the rock colours as you can see from this first 2 shots below.

The rocks had this amazing patterns of lichen on them and when I looked at the Lighthouse, I could see that the mist was soon going to surround Ailsa completely again.  We were fortunate when arriving at Ailsa that the mist had lifted for us to see the bird sanctuary.

An old generator

Time to go and we had to be careful walking down the jetty due to half of it being missing and the other half covered in slippery green seaweed.

Common Seal

Last views of some of the birds and Seals on the island. 
 Time to say goodbye to them all.

This Grey Seal was watching us leave this amazing island.

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I hope you enjoyed this post. 

I have 3 more posts to show you before the series ends.

I am linking this post with SATURDAY CRITTERS.

Many thanks for visiting and to all those who leave comments.

Friday 28 August 2015

WEEKEND REFLECTIONS - Ailsa Craig Island (Part 11)

                  A few reflection images taken around Ailsa Craig island. 
                                         The bird below is a Shag.

I am linking this post with WEEKEND REFLECTIONS.

Thanks you for visiting today and also to all of you who leave comments  on my post.

Thursday 27 August 2015

GOOD FENCES - Ailsa Craig Island (Part 10)

There were many ‘fences’ in the form of stone walls on Ailsa Craig Island so I hope you enjoy seeing what I found on our short time on the island today.


The Lighthouse was built between 1883 and 1886 by Thomas Stevenson; it is owned by the Northern Lighthouse Board.

The lighthouse was automated in 1990 and converted to solar electric power in 2001; the island has been uninhabited since automation in 1990.  Ailsa Craig and its lighthouse feature extensively in Peter Hill's book Stargazing: 
Memoirs of a Young Lighthouse Keeper.

The gas works are still a prominent feature on the island and the cable powered tramway was partly built to haul wagons full of coal up to it from the North Port. Two gasometers held the coal gas that powered both the compressed air pump and the lighthouse light, however in 1911 the light was converted to incandescent lighting which was powered by electricity.The gas works became redundant at this time. Lawson records that oil was used to produce the gas for the lighthouse light.

Curling stones
From the mid-nineteenth century the island has been quarried for its rare type of micro-granite with riebeckite (known as "Ailsite"), which is used to make stones for the sport of curling. As of 2004, 60–70 per cent of all curling stones in use were made from granite from the island and is one of only two sources for all stones in the sport, the other being the Trefor Granite Quarry in Wales.

Ailsa Craig produced two types of granite for curling, Blue Hone and Ailsa Craig Common Green. Blue Hone has very low water absorption, which prevents the action of repeatedly freezing water from eroding the stone.   Ailsa Craig Common Green is a lesser quality granite than Blue Hone. In the past, most curling stones were made from Blue Hone but the quarry is restricted by environmental conditions that exclude blasting.

Kays of Scotland has been making curling stones since 1851 and has the exclusive rights to the Ailsa Craig granite, granted by the Marquess of Ailsa. The last "harvest" of Ailsa Craig granite by Kays took place in 2013, after a hiatus of 11 years; 2,000 tons were harvested, sufficient to fill anticipated orders until at least 2020!

We had our lunch sitting outside the Lighthouse.  This was one of the party trying to find a ‘loo’ spot.  When I went looking within the lighthouse building complex, I was amazed to find rooms still with beds and bedding, furniture and a loo!  
It was if everyone had left in a great hurry!

We only had about 1 1/2 hours on the island and after lunch I walked to the right hand side where there were gulls with their young which I will show you tomorrow.

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I hope you enjoyed this part of the journey round the coast of Ailsa Craig as we finally pull into the jetty.

I am linking this post with GOOD FENCES.

Many thanks for visiting and also to all those who leave comments.