Category Archives: Europe

Chariots of Fire

West Sands 1

This is the beach where the famous opening scene was filmed for the 1981 Chariots of Fire movie: West Sands in St Andrews, Scotland

There is still a plaque here, commemorating the film. West Sands was used to portray Broadstairs in Kent, where the runners actually ran.

West Sands 2 Plaque

It’s a lovely stretch of wild sandy beach and on the day we went, fairly deserted. It was late July and though not raining, there was a strong breeze, which I think there always is!

West Sands 3

There were many birds in this small river inlet to the sea; mostly seagulls, but also a few dark birds.

West Sands 4

It’s hard to see exactly what they are, but some of the dark birds had white on them.

As I’ve mentioned before, my little Canon camera really battles to take a clear picture in dim lighting; the photo is grainy and pixelated.

West Sands 5

And just to prove I was here; here I am – wind-swept and freezing!


Instead of the well-known opening clip from the Chariots of Fire movie, with the lads jogging along the beach (also looking wind-swept and freezing!) here’s the comedic genius of Rowan Atkinson showing them a thing or two at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.


After being blown to bits on the beach (which I find refreshing; plenty of oxygen!) we went for sustenance at a lovely little hidden away cafe and had the best scones ever!


There was a choice of the most delicious fillings such as fresh fruit, all with great names, like the Prince of Wales etc

I just had a plain one, with butter, jam and clotted cream, but it was scrumptious and basically, that was my lunch!



Stained Glass Windows

Stained Glass Window 1

Haiku 46

Sunlight filters through

Coloured chips of silica

Stained-glass perfection


Stained Glass Window 2

This beautiful stained glass window is one of many in St Salvator’s Chapel, St Andrews, Scotland.

St Salvator’s Chapel

The chapel was founded in 1450 and has Late Gothic architecture.

Stained Glass Window 3

There are many magnificent old buildings and churches all over the UK. This is just one small church in one small town.

Stained Glass Window 4

I like the first window the best, but have included all of the windows, because everyone has different tastes and maybe your favourite is one of these others.

Stained Glass Window 5

And below is a shot of the interior. You can see the organ pipes reaching high up into the roof.

St Salvator’s Chapel 2

What I love about a place such as this, apart from the glorious beauty, is the history. You are standing where others have stood, for nearly 570 years!


Setting Forth

Kevin 1

There are Three Bridges that span the Firth of Forth in Scotland, connecting Edinburgh to Fife. These are The Forth Bridge, (a railway bridge built between 1883 and 1890), The Forth Road Bridge (for traffic and built between 1958 and 1964) and the newly built, Queensferry Crossing.

Kevin 2

The bridge in my photos is the Queensferry Crossing, which was officially opened a few days ago by the Queen. It is the longest three-tower cable-stayed bridge in the world.

And while its proper name might be the Queensferry Crossing, locally it has been nicknamed Kevin, which I much prefer!


Though I did not travel on that particular bridge, I got a good view of it as I crossed the Firth at sunset.

Kevin 3

My amazing photos were taken through the dirty train window and from the other side of the carriage! I had to edit out the men sitting at the table opposite; one who was working on his laptop; the other who was working his way through a six-pack of beer!

Firth of Forth

My train travelled across the Forth Bridge, which is a cantilever bridge. The only photos I managed to snap of this bridge were the view over the Firth of Forth and some of the overhead girders as our train sped along the track beneath.




Grey Heron

Grey Heron 1

I spotted this large bird as we walked round the lake, St Margaret’s Loch, in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.

I like how from a distance the water looks like molten steel!

Grey Heron 2

I think this is a Grey Heron. They are commonly found all over the UK around wetland areas such as lakes and typically stand with their long necks pulled in, as seen in the first photo.

Grey Heron 3

After I’d taken a few quick shots, the heron decided he’d had enough of me and my camera and slowly waded back towards the shoreline, to hide in the reeds.


It was a grey, drizzly day, and as I said recently, my little Canon point and click camera prefers bright sunshine, being South African!

Still, it did its best in the dim lighting and from quite a distance.


post script: Extra points if you know who said “Like molten steel” and in which movie.


Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle 1

I couldn’t visit Edinburgh and not post a few photos of the Castle, seen here in sunlight.

I found that my little old point and click Canon camera often battled to capture good images, due to the dim lighting on cloudy or rainy days in the UK.

Edinburgh Castle 2

Fortunately, the sun came out to bathe the Castle in bright light, which my trusty Canon could then happily snap!

I took shots from different angles as we walked along through Princes Street gardens.

Edinburgh Castle 3

The castle is built on Castle Rock, the remains of the inner pipe of an extinct volcano from about 350 million years ago. There is evidence that humans have been living on the rock since at least the 2nd century AD.

Edinburgh Castle 4

From the 12th century there’s been a royal castle on the rock, which became used as a military barracks by the 17th century.

Today Edinburgh Castle is an historic fortress, clearly visible as a main feature of the Edinburgh city skyline.

Flower Clock

And here is a magnificent clock made of flowers that we came across in Princes Street Gardens. I’ve always enjoyed working flower clocks.


You’ll Never Eat Alone

Seagull 1

Sit down on a bench with a sandwich in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, and you will soon attract some company.

Seagull 2

This handsome chap came over to share my sandwich. (Yes, of course I gave him some.) I think he is a lesser black-backed gull.

Seagull 3

I found it interesting that seagulls were so prominent all over Edinburgh; more so than when I was actually at the seaside in Suffolk.

I would wake to their loud calls early in the morning.

But I did not mind one bit. Their plaintive cries were music to my ears after the cacophony of screeching Egyptian Geese and Hadedas that I am used to here in Cape Town!


photos taken with my Galaxy phone.