Stepping Back in Time at House of Dun

Last week, my family and I headed up to St Cyrus, near Montrose for a well earned holiday. It was our first time in this area and I can say, we weren’t disappointed. It’s a very beautiful part of the Scottish coastline with stunning views and a crazy amount of stately homes and castles as well as a huge amount of history going back thousands of years.

St Cyrus beach from the cliff path.

There’s so much to see and do in this area and it’s ideal for a short break away.
Whilst on holiday, we visited House of Dun, near Montrose. This Georgian house is one of magnificence and grandeur and we’ll worth a visit.

View of the stable block and way in.

It was designed by William Adam and it was completed in 1743 to replace the draughty old tower house of the Erskine’s.

Rear view looking over the Montrose Basin.

The Erskine’s had lived on this land from the 1300’s up to 1980 when the house and it’s belongings were bequeathed to the National Trust for Scotland.

Courtyard view to the west of the house. The white building in the middle was a larder.
Entrance into the courtyard.

 I’ll not pretend to know the history of this house or family so I’ll leave it there, you can find plenty of information online if you’re interested.

The walled garden joined to the east of the house.
Rear view looking down to the Montrose Basin.

If you’ve not been here before, I’d highly recommend a visit. A guided tour of the house takes about 45 minutes or so then you’ve got the fantastic grounds to explore, all the way down to the Montrose Basin. If you take your time and wander down the many paths you’ll be sure to come across some really interesting things to see. As well as the house with all of its magnificent artwork, there’s two walled gardens, an ice house, cemetery and more. It’s a really great day out!

One of the falls on the woodland walk.
The family mausoleum.

Below, is a selection of images taken inside the house whilst on the tour. The tour guides were great, especially Louisa who plays the part of the Lady of the House, Violet Jacob. They’re dressed in period costumes and tell you the story of the house and the family, they helped to make it a really great day out. They were knowledgeable too, my kids asked questions as did I and a few other guests also. My only complaint, I wanted to go round again and take my time to admire the amazing furniture and artworks and photograph things at my leisure. Not much of a complaint though is it?

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this. Feel free to share it far and wide and if you’re in the area, stop by for a visit, you won’t be disappointed, it’s well worth the money!

All the best, Paul.

On a Cold & Frosty Morning.

Blantyre Park Farm Woodlands_9There is nothing quite like photographing on a cold and frosty morning, literally nothing like it, as its bloody freezing!

One morning last week I sat in work looking out of the window and everything was slowly being whitewashed, there was a freezing fog, low cloud cover and a light dusting of snow. As I was working late there was no possibility of photography however I vowed on my day of I was heading out.

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I chose a little known place nearby, situated at the back of Hamilton and Blantyre, I say little known as unless you live locally or work in the area most people aren’t aware of these paths. Most of this area was once farms and vast fields now we have a Technology Park, a university and many, many houses. Of course there are still fields and farms but far fewer than ever before.

Not far from the hamlet of Auchentibber sat the farm known as Blantyre Park, now mostly gone and covered over by the new houses at West Craigs. However, you may be surprised to know that there are still plenty of the old farm tracks remaining, certainly enough for a great walk. You can enter either from West Craigs or from the Technology Park, there are a few paths and the walks can be done in a circular. You can choose to follow the few miles of paths or like me, head into the trees and follow the route of the Red Burn up to Park Road. The Red Burn runs through a deep cleft in the landscape and makes for some lovely scenery. Unfortunately there is the usual dumping of rubbish and random barrels along the way however it’s still beautiful, especially as the sun rises through it.

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You can see from my pictures that I had all sorts of light to play with, from bright sunlight, to dull and dingy to almost ethereal, there are so many different looks to my photographs that you would think I visited over multiple days.

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You will find a few other walks in this area, so if you fancy making it a longer walk you do have a few choices. You can stop at the recently refurbished Auchentibber War Memorial or you could head along the behind the building known as Browns Land and walk up to Dykehead Woods where you will not only get great views over Hamilton but you can see the old Lime Kiln.

Thanks for reading, below are some more images taken on the day.

Paul

© As always, all images subject to copyright and cannot be used or shared without prior permission.

Eastend House.

Autumn is definitely my most favourite season, the crisp air and the vibrant colours stir emotions like no other season does. It may be colder and there’s less daylight however in my opinion it’s the best time to be out walking and exploring.

In fairness, I’ve missed most of this Autumn, a lack of time and if I am honest with myself, a lack of enthusiasm too. However last Sunday I was up and out early, determined to catch something of this most vibrant season before it goes again for another year.

The Carmichael Estate is one of my most favourite places to go and wander, it’s large, it’s beautiful and it is bursting at the seams with history. I have been there a few times before over the years however I have only photographed part of it and that was in the day’s when I kept my camera on “AUTO” having no idea how to use it. This time I ventured to an area that I have no photos of at all, the grounds of Eastend house.

I parked at the estates farm shop and walked down to the house, it’s not far, a 10 minute walk, no more than 15 minutes if you dally. It’s an easy walk and flat, starting off on a tarmac road and changing to a muddy track after the lodge house. You walk along what once would have been a lovely driveway into the property, with mature trees and large bright green bushes.

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Grand Avenue ©

I arrived just after the sun had come up, it was still climbing and casting the most magnificent glow into the woods, bathing everything in a golden light. The colours were fantastic, everything was over saturated and vibrant, the different shades of red and yellow leaves became more of a rusty-red and orange, it was a beautiful morning to be out and it definitely took me more than 15 minutes to make it to the house.

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Walking up the drive ©

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After photographing the drive and some trees I moved on, heading to the walled garden. The wall itself is still intact however there is nothing to be seen inside, it’s just overgrown grass punctuated here and there with some trees and bushes. I can’t say I spent much time there, I had a quick look and moved on.

At this stage let me point out that there are various holiday cottages for rent throughout the Carmichael Estate and you will come across a couple of them over in this area. I would ask that if you choose to explore this area please be conscientious of anyone who may be staying here and grant them some privacy.

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The house itself is situated right next to the walled garden and can be approached from both the front or rear, you will also find the coach house and stables not far from the house.

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South view of Eastend House ©

The house although beautiful is in a bad way, windows have gone, walls are cracking, stones are missing and inside the floors have collapsed. It’s in a very bad state of repair and I would not recommend entering the house. It’s dangerous and you would be risking your life, the owner also has CCTV installed and does not take kindly to anyone attempting to enter the property. For the record, I have never ventured inside Eastend however you can see the damage just from looking through windows. There are pictures online and videos on YouTube should you wish to see inside.

Not far from the house is a lovely pond and another cottage. It was so serene that I had to stop and take it in. Some birds, the tricking of water and the occasional rustling of leaves was all that was to be heard, absolute bliss.

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The pond ©

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Cottage for hire next to the pond ©

It was an odd little spot, the trees on one side of the pond were all Autumnal yet the side where the cottage sat was nearly all green with frost covering everything, both sides in complete contrast with each other.

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Alternative view of the pond facing south west ©

It was a bitterly cold morning, minus 3 degrees so after a short break I walked around the coach house area then snapped a couple of pictures of the front of Eastend then headed back to the car. It always amazes me that in every picture of the front door to Eastend House the blue door is punchy and bright, it’s as though it refuses to give in and be like the rest of the house.

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The front view of Eastend with the bright blue door ©

If you haven’t visited the Carmichael Estate before then I would highly recommend it, there are two ruined houses, lots of cottages and plenty of lovely places to walk, you can easily lose a day here. Let me also add that there is a small farm shop where you park, a wax museum detailing the history of the area and a lovely little tea room you can visit.

I will hopefully head back down here again soon and take some pictures of the rest of the estate to share with you all.

Paul.

© As always, all images subject to copyright and cannot be used or shared without prior permission.

Detour

The sunsets recently have been beautiful, some of the best that I’ve seen in a long time. Each night as I look out of my front window I think, I need to get out and capture one of these.

I’m always full of good intentions.

So last night, there I was heading to the supermarket for some things​ when I saw the sun setting. It was stunning, the best one that I’ve seen recently, I had to get a picture of it.

So I quickly turned the car round and headed off to slightly higher ground in the hope of a quick pic or two. I didn’t have my DSLR with me and didn’t have time to head home for it so armed with my mobile I parked up on a country lane and took a few quick shots before it disappeared behind Dechmont Hill.

Had I my camera and tripod and had I planned in advance I could definitely have got better pictures However I am more than happy with how these came out, especially the first one.

The Water Horse

A couple of weeks back on a smashing sunny day we took a trip out towards Falkirk. We had planned for a while to go visit the Kelpies and finally managed to find the time. Now these horses have to be one of the most photographed landmarks in Scotland recently, everyone has a pic or two, mainly at night, you can’t go onto Facebook or Instagram without seeing pictures of them. However I struggled a bit, I was using my 50mm 1.8 lens and that’s probably not the best of lens for something so large and dominating however I did manage a couple of shots from slightly different perspectives. If I am honest, there okay but none are what I wanted. I think I need another trip out, one with no children and lots of time to allow me to frame the shot better. Anyway here they are, the few shots I managed and did not delete!

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