Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Two Lakes

I was in need of a 'steam fix' yesterday, and an away day in the Lake District began at Haverthwaite, for a short ride on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway.

Providing the traction for the day was No 42073 British Railways Fairburn 2-6-4 tank, built in Brighton in 1950. Two of these Brighton-built locomotives survive in preservation on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway although one (No 42085) is currently in the engine shed, minus its boiler.

The short ride was popular yesterday, passengers including two tour groups which were heading for a boat trip on Windermere.

MV Teal (see here) was doing duty yesterday.

MV Teal was built at Barrow in 1936. Sections were transported to Lakeside by rail, and the boat assembled there.

I travelled back to Haverthwaite to get some more pics of 42073 in action.

Heading to Lakeside.

On my previous visits to the shed at Haverthwaite I would probably have paid little attention to No 20214. However, a recently article in the Railway Magazine about these Class 20s has meant I was able to appreciate the locomotive rather more! Details of 20214 are here and here.

After Haverthwaite, I headed home via the Kirkstone Pass and stopped off at Glenridding on Ullswater. I liked this shot of action on the water, taken from the steamer pier.

I had hoped to see MY Lady of the Lake, and was not disappointed. Here she is seen departing Glenridding. The vessel was launched on 26th June 1877, and is believed to be the oldest working passenger vessel in the world. Designed by Douglas Henson of Penrith, she was built at Rutherglen, transported in three sections by rail to Penrith. The sections were pulled by horse to Waterside near Pooley Bridge, where she was assembled. Originally steam powered, she was converted to diesel in 1936. More details here.

A trip on board now goes on to my 'to do' list! The Ullswater Steamers website is here.

Pics © Skip Cottage

Monday, June 05, 2017


The Woodland Garden at Ardkinglas, near Cairndow at the head of Loch Fyne, is one of my favourite places. I have visited a number of times and recently spent another day there.

Visiting at Rhododendron time you encounter sights like this.

And this!

I know that not everyone shares my love of Rhoddies, but I was just blown away by what I encountered last week.

The garden is also home to some spectacular trees, such as this European silver fir. It is around 250 years old and when young it may have been damaged by frost or deer, and it has grown with four large trunks!

More colour ...

And another 'Wow'!

Ardkinglas House was built by Sir Robert Lorimer for Sir Andrew Noble and completed in 1907. The earlier buildings on the estate are described here. The house, a family home, is only open to the public on certain days during the summer. I was lucky to be able to join a tour this time.

It helps to have a knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide, and we certainly had that. One of the most interesting houses I've ever visited.

The OS map from 1874 shows a 'model railway' running along the shoreline at Ardkinglas. It was constructed in 1866. Its story is here.

The only surviving artifact relating to the model railway is this axle and wheels, on a shelf in the house!

The ornamental pond in the grounds is called 'The Caspian'.

The centrepiece of the Ladies' Garden (not usually open to the public) is this small pond, with an 'unusual' statue!

Azaleas galore! What a wonderful place.

The estate website is here. For a bird's eye view of the house and surroundings, see here.

Photos © Skip Cottage

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Making shopping fun

I'm not an enthusiastic shopper, so when I really need to go up to the 'big city', I usually try to combine things that I enjoy more. Like a hurl on the subway!

It was great to be serenaded by The Buchanan Street Preachers. 'House of the Rising Sun', if you are wondering. Excellent, and well worth the donation.

So, a nod to Donald, then breakfast at Starbucks in the Buchanan Galleries - it had been an early start!

But what's this. A 'happening' in the mall. The phones were out.

And the professional photographer was hard at work! This is Martin Shields, see here, on an assignment for the Buchanan Galleries.

We have a pop-up fashion show, with models showing clothes from various outlets. Catwalk:BG (here) 'showcasing the hottest summer looks from your favourite fashion stores at Buchanan Galleries'.

What a lovely group!

I'm rather long in the tooth to be considering another career in fashion photography, but I could not resist the opportunity of getting the camera out. Lovely dress. Lovely model. Made me feel small, even though she was wearing flats, she was waaaaay taller than me!

I wasn't trying to make him smile, honestly!

I tried to keep out of Martin's way. Unsuccessfully here.

There was a day when I would have worn a shirt like this! From Next, so you know.

My thanks to all who didn't seem to mind this old guy with his camera following them around the mall! The highlight of my Saturday shopping day.

The difficult shop over, it was lunch in Waterstones' cafe. There is nothing better that browsing a good bookshop.

I love books, and this is where it all started, in this building at the end of Mosspark Drive. It wasn't a nursery then. It was my local library and one of the most influential places in my life. I'm back now to the late 1950s! They eventually built a new, bigger, library behind, and the old building got a new use.


Thanks to the helpful staff of the Buchanan Galleries, to the models and their 'wrangler' Mhairi, and to Fiona Best. Pix are © Skip Cottage.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Girl from Milngavie

I made my way to Motherwell yesterday, to enjoy at first hand Round 7 of the Tour Series.

Colourful Motherwell.

The women's race had a 5.30 pm start. The sponsors of Team WNT make quality tools for metal cutting, see here. My father, Peter Cowan, was a machine tools representative, so this team had my support on the night. All the teams were presented before the start.

Here was another reason to support Team WNT! I first saw Katie Archibald in Edinburgh in 2014, see here, and have followed the girl from Milngavie's successes since then. Here she is warming up in the Team WNT pits before the race.

This young lady had designed the flag used to start the race!

I cannot find words to say how I felt yesterday morning as I learned about the events that had occurred in Manchester the night before. Life has to go on of course, but it was appropriate that there was a minute's silence observed before the race started. Moving.

We're off!

Eileen Roe, another brilliant Scottish rider, and also a member of Team WNT, on the right.

I walked round the course, and who should I pass but Dame Sarah Storey, observing the progress of Team Storey, but especially cheering on her sprinter EJay Harris.

A four-rider breakaway gets established, Eileen Roe in second place in this pic.

The main chasing group was more than a minute behind with just a few laps to go. But then Katie, and Rebecca Durrell of Team Drops, powered on to bridge to the leaders.

Eileen Roe pulled away on the last lap and took the victory and had time to celebrate. I (almost) got the shot in focus!

Katie was just pipped on the line by Rebecca for second place.

Team WNT were top team on the night. Nothing to do with my support, of course. But well done girls!

And Katie received the prize for the fastest lap of the evening. All the Matrix Fitness Tour Series women's results are here.

Did I mention there was a men's race too?

Exciting to watch too. The results are all here.

Photos © Skip Cottage