Scots Roots

Dazzle ships
February 5, 2016, 3:09 pm
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: , ,

Dazzle ships 1I’d never heard of dazzle ships until I came upon this one recently. I was amazed to learn that more than 2,000 ships were ‘dazzled’ during the First World War and that the process continued to be used into the Second.

‘Dazzling’ is a camouflage system that uses disorientating shapes to make it hard to estimate a ship’s range, speed and direction of travel, the aim being to confuse rather than conceal.

Dazzle ships 2It was developed by British marine artist, Norman Wilkinson, mainly to counter the threat posed by German U-Boats, employing techniques resembling those of avant-garde British painters.

This ship, the HMS President, one of three surviving WW1 warships, was ‘dazzled’ on its launch in 1918 (known then as HMS Saxifrage).  The current design is not the original but a contemporary work by German artist, Tobias Rehberger.

Dazzle ships 3

Slaggan, Wester Ross
January 22, 2016, 3:42 pm
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , , ,

Slaggan 1Not really a clearance village as such, Slaggan can be found near the shores of Loch Ewe. The clan chief of the Mackenzies in Gairloch refused to evict his tenants during the clearances in the 19th century. As a result, cleared Highlanders from other communities made their way to Gairloch.

Slaggan 2However, by the 1930s the population had dwindled to only six people mainly because, as patterns of land use changed, fewer people were required in the agricultural economy.

Slaggan 3The gable ends of the more modern house seen in the photographs below are the remains of a dwelling built in 1936 but it burnt down in 1942 or 1943.

Slaggan 4

Slaggan 5

Dun Troddan
January 8, 2016, 10:38 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: ,

Dun Troddan 1Dun Troddan 2Dun Troddan is a 2,000 year old Iron Age structure standing in Gleann Beag to the south of Glenelg in the Lochalsh area of western Scotland.

It was probably around 12 metres high but much of the stone from the broch was removed in 1722 to help build Bernera Barracks at Glenelg.

It is thought that the floor at ground level was used to keep animals whilst living quarters for people were on the upper levels.

Nothing remains of the inner structure or the roof which were likely to have been made of wood.

Dun Troddan 3



Dun Troddan 4On the same road and within sight of Dun Troddan stands Dun Telve, another broch of similar age.

Brochs were fortified round houses usually comprised of two concentric drystone walls with a stone staircase corkscrewing its way up between the walls.

They were being built in the Iron Age around 2,300 years ago and stopped being built in the early centuries AD. Believed to have been the homes of local tribal leaders, there are more than 500 of them across Scotland, mostly in the northern and western parts and in the islands.

Dun Troddan 5

More pictures are available at Ancient Scotland.

Hogmanay in Edinburgh
January 1, 2016, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: ,

Edinburgh Hogmanay 1

Edinburgh Hogmanay 2

Edinburgh Hogmanay 3

Edinburgh Hogmanay 4

Edinburgh Hogmanay 5

Happy New Year.

Arctic Convoys at Loch Ewe
December 28, 2015, 9:56 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,

Arctic Convoys 1During World War II, Loch Ewe in Wester Ross, on the west coast of Scotland, was used as a convoy collecting point for the North Atlantic Fleet. It’s a natural deep water sea loch that links to the Atlantic Ocean via a relatively narrow mouth which made it easier to protect.

Anti-aircraft batteries near the entrance guarded the loch from air attack and a boom net stretching from shore to shore along with a mine defence system helped to shield the vessels in the loch from German U-boats.

Arctic Convoys 2The North Atlantic Fleet sailed from 1941 to 1945 from the UK to the North Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel to aid Russian Allies. Merchant ships containing supplies and ammunition were escorted by British Royal Naval ships and aircraft carriers. These goods were vital to the war effort as Russia was completely blockaded by German forces.

More than four million tons of supplies – including tanks, aircraft, trucks, tractors, telephone wire, railway engines, fuel, medicine, metal and other raw materials – were delivered to the Russians over this period.

There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945, 19 of them departing from Loch Ewe.

Arctic Convoys 385 merchant vessels and 16 Royal Navy warships were lost and over 3,000 young men perished in the icy waters of the North Atlantic.

The last convoy sailed from Loch Ewe on the 30th December 1944.

A memorial commemorating those who lost their lives on the Arctic convoys was unveiled by the Russian Convoy Club at Cove on 11 September 1999.

The loch is still used today as a refuelling station for NATO vessels.

Arctic Convoys 4

Arctic Convoys 5


A pair of young red deer stags
December 24, 2015, 10:36 am
Filed under: Photographs, Wildlife


Kirk of Calder
December 11, 2015, 10:53 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History, West Lothian | Tags: ,

Kirk of Calder 1Kirk of Calder 2

The Kirk of Calder serves Mid Calder, a ‘conservation village’ in West Lothian, just 12 miles from Edinburgh and 40 miles from Glasgow.

The original part of the present church was built in 1541 and then it was extended in 1863 but it is believed that a church has existed on this site since around 1150.

Kirk of Calder 3The Kirk boasts visits from John Knox, James Paraffin Young, David Livingstone and Frederick Chopin and in its walls you can still see holes made by Covenanters’ musket shots in the 17th century.

It is a Historic Scotland Grade A listed building and well worth a visit.

Kirk of Calder 4


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