Time poor 

Clyde walkway, Bothwell Castle.
Click the picture to download the Clyde walkway leaflet for Bothwell.

Aside from my family, there are three things in my life that I feel extremely passionate about, photography, walking and history. Any one of the three can cause me to lose hours from my day.

Kype Water, Sandford.
Clyde walkway, Bothwell Castle.

Regardless of the weather there is nothing I enjoy more than to be out wandering around the countryside. Generally before any adventuring, you’ll find me pouring over old maps and looking for historical information about the area that I plan to visit. I love finding relics from the past, old ruins, abandoned buildings, monuments, graveyards, that sort of thing. These all make for fantastic subject matter in my photographs and that allows me to combine all my favourite pastimes into one trip out.

Graves, Lanercost Priory.

However like most people these days I am time poor. I like to think I’m a family person and always put their needs first (my family may disagree!) but then I find that my hobbies take a back seat. Between work, a wife and 3 children I struggle, struggle to find both motivation and the time to squeeze in much else. However since February this year I’ve been making an effort to get out at least one day a week even if it’s only for a couple of hours. When I’m out it’s mainly been for a walk, anything from a few miles to as much as 8 depending on where I go and how much time I have. Believe it or not I don’t normally take my camera with me, mainly due to time constraints, however I always have my phone.

View of Carnwath Church and St Mary’s Aisle.
Inside St Mary’s Aisle, Carnwath.

On most of my jaunts my focus is walking, generally it’s around some old historic estate trying to find any remains. I may not have my camera but I always try to take some photos on my phone. Not only does this provide me with a record for the future, it allows me to share what I have found with others online.

Taken near Culter Fell.

My photography has definitely taken a back seat over this last 6 months. It’s not that I’ve given up on it or lost interest, it’s just I don’t have time to spend on it along with everything else, and exercise has definitely been more of a priority. I am hoping now the mornings and the nights are lighter that I can fit in some proper photography between now and September but only time will tell.

Inside the summer house at Dumfries House Estate.

As I previously mentioned in another post, it amazes me how good mobile phone cameras have become. Some of the photographs I have taken whilst walking have turned out really good and I find now that I am enjoying using my phone more and more for photography.

Waterfall, Kelburn Castle.

My phone is the Huawei P9, it has a dual lens camera co-engineered with Leica with one dedicated lens for monochrome. The results are fantastic, the quality is way above any previous phone I’ve owned or used, it allows manual control and shoots in DNG RAW format. As I said, I’ve had this with me on my travels and I’ve taken pictures on each trip. What your seeing on this page is some of my favourite pictures over the last few months, all taken on my phone and edited from RAW using Snapseed.

Mausoleum, Lowther Castle.

We nearly all have a phone and it’s generally never far from us, I’d encourage you all to think about what you like and start taking some pictures, you don’t need the biggest or best camera to make a good photo. Remember, a photo is recorded by the camera but it’s taken by the person holding it.

Hermitage Castle, Newcastleton.

A World Without Colour

When looking through my galleries on Instagram, Flickr or Google+ you’ll see a pattern emerge. My pictures are mainly landscape, sometimes with old churches, castles or houses included but landscape all the same. There is another common recurring theme, the vast majority of my pictures are in colour. Colour always seems easier, it is after all how we see the world and in landscape the different colours of the different seasons is quite often what makes the photo. However, for anyone who has seen an old black and white picture or a modern-day black and white or even infrared photo you will notice that they quite often carry more detail, they make certain aspects stand out more and they can create a stronger sense of emotion. In a way there simpler, stripped back and naked and they allow you to focus on whats important in an image without the distraction of colour. So over the last 6 months or so almost all my trips out have resulted in a proportion of my shots being specifically aimed at black and white photography. It’s been about trying to change my perception, to see the world in contrast and tones, looking for light and shadows and aiming to pull as much detail as possible from each shot. Recently I’ve set up 2 new Instagram accounts, “world_without_colour” and “upclznpersonal”, both are aimed at black and white photography although the latter is more street and portraiture, both areas I plan on expanding on in the future. If you’re an Instagrammer please feel to take a look at either account and drop me a message to let me know what you think, I’m always looking for feedback.

Below I’ve added  some of my favourite shots taken in black and white so far, some on my camera, some from my mobile. I hope you like them.

Paul

Royal Yacht Brittania-0001
Inside the Royal Yacht Britannia
Braidwood house
Braidwood House, Lanarkshire
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West Lodge, Mauldslie Estate
New Lanark-0001
New Lanark
Glengavel-0001
Glengavel Reservoir
Dunfermline Abbey
Dunfermline Abbey
New Lanark
New Lanark
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Old Mill Lade, Boghead, Lanarkshire
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Inside Inchcolm Abbey
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The ceiling inside Hamilton Mausoleum

An Early Rise

On Saturday I managed my first trip out alone with the camera in quite some time. I was aiming to catch the sunrise however I slept in a little and almost missed it.

Blackhill-0004

 

I had decided the night before that I would go to Blackhill. It’s one of the highest hills in the area and commands splendid views of Clyde Valley and further. It’s a National Trust site but freely open to anyone who wants to join the cows and sheep and take the short walk to the top.

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Unfortunately I had picked a very hazy morning, it limited my view and it was only as I packed my tripod away the haze began to clear. I could see Ben Lomond in the distance as well as the Ochil and Campsie Hills. On a clear day you can see Goatfell on Arran and the Cobbler too. It’s a beautiful place to stop and admire the world, its clear to see why people have been coming here for over 1000 years. The hill is home to a Bronze Age burial cairn and was once the site of a large Iron Age fort. If you follow the path up the hill you can see the defensive ditch and the opening in the middle just to the left of the stile. Anyway here’s a few photos I managed in the haze. I haven’t done many sunrise or sunset shots before, I like my bed to much and at night can’t be bothered going out once I’m settled in. However I’m reasonably happy with my results, they could be better and I’m sure they will be with practice.

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Photo Opportunities & Walks, in and Around Lanarkshire

Updated on the 10th of May 2021

Anyone who knows me will know that I love the outdoors, I love exploring and finding places to walk and to take photographs. I’m always on the lookout for new places to explore and capture and I am happy to share my knowledge with others in the hope they can benefit from it too. So, that’s what this post is all about, I’ve put together a list of some places that I’ve enjoyed going to for my photography however there are a few places that I have not yet visited. I have researched these sites and they’ve been added to my list of locations to visit as I’m confident they offer great local opportunities. I have listed all of the locations on the Google map below, clicking on the location will give you some information about the site. I have split the map into photo locations and walks so it’s easier to select which one you want, you can filter the options by clicking the square symbol with the arrow on the top left of the map.

If anyone reading this wishes to contribute to the list please feel free to drop a comment. However please leave a description and Google Maps coordinates so it’s easy for others to find.

Lastly I would like to ask anyone who visits any of these sites that you show respect and please do not enter the buildings as some are in a bad way and can be dangerous. Also some are privately owned like Cambusnethan and Eastend and their owners do not want anyone entering the buildings.
If you wish to get in contact regarding anything within this post on please feel free to email me at questions@viewthroughthelens.co.uk

Well I hope after reading this you find somewhere worth exploring and photographing. If you do please feel free to let me know how it went, would you recommend the sites I’ve chosen? If you want to link any pictures you’ve taken into the comments then please do.

Thanks very much for reading, hope you find something of interest.
Paul

Below you will find some websites that I find are a great help when I’m looking for places to visit. I’ve mentioned a few times about looking at old maps before heading to some of these sites so you can get an idea of what once was there and what may still be. I would normally look up pictures on Instagram and Flickr as well as a Google search. It helps you give you an idea of what you may want to capture.

For old maps I use the National Library of Scotland, it’s free and has extensive coverage and the maps can be overlaid. http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=5&lat=56.0000&lon=-4.0000&layers=1

I also get a lot of ideas from a Facebook groups I am part of. The main ones are “Lost Houses of Clyde Valley”. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1475717922681828/ and “Castles, Mansions and Historic Houses of Scotland”. https://www.facebook.com/groups/642086055910658/permalink/803741759745086/

There is also the excellent “Blantyre Project”. http://www.blantyreproject.com/