Scottie's Photo Diary

- Festive Season - 2015/2016

Clownfish - also known as "Little Nemo" from the film "Finding Nemo",
Pictured at Sealife Aquarium, Loch Lomond.

I never go anywhere in Scotland without my camera and I take photographs wherever I go. Sometimes I go somewhere specifically to take photographs with a view to adding another page to the Rampant Scotland site. On other occasions I just see something that makes an attractive picture or else it's another graphic to add to the library to perhaps use on a future occasion. It thus forms a pictorial diary of my travels which can be shared by everyone!

This is a selection of photographs I took over the Festive Season - 2015/2016.


Although the decorations and entertainments such as the Ferris Wheel, "Star Flyer" skating rink and Merry-go-round and the Balmoral Hotel (on the right) are all seen at their best lit up at night, they still make an impressive picture during the day - especially when the sun comes out as it did here. The statue of Sir Walter Scott underneath his monument studiously ignores all the activities of course! The chairs of the "Star Flyer" are 60 metres (nearly 200 feet above the ground and fly around at around same height as top of the nearby Scott Monument.

The Ferris Wheel has been a regular fixture beside the Scott Monument for many years now. It seems to have had a makeover again this year with some advertising on the outside of the gondolas for Turkish Airlines.

This picture of the merry-go-round was taken around lunchtime and the ride was not very busy. But later in the evening it was full of youngsters and adults enjoying the traditional whirling round and the loud fair-ground music filling the air and creating the right atmosphere.

The sunshine in the pictures above didn't last for long and clouds and showers rolled in but at least the resulting rainbow set behind the Balmoral Hotel added to the colourful scene.

The Christmas lights are not confined to Princes Street and George Street, linking St Andrews and Charlotte Square and parallel to Princes Street puts on a good show as well, if a little more restrained as befits this street of impressive Georgian buildings. The trees are of course artificial and just provide a support for the lighting display. Behind, the "Dome" restaurant is also visible in this picture (more on that below).

The imposing classical Greek columns give away the origins of this building as once being a banking hall in the days when banks competed with one another to impress customers with their solidity and permanence. Many of these former bank buildings in George Street (and elsewhere) have been converted to restaurants and bars. The Dome restaurant here took the the major feature of its internal banking hall as its name.

The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen opened a few months ago at #25 George Street close to the George Hotel. In the 1780s the address was the home of the novelist Susan Ferrier - according to Sir Walter Scott, the equal of Jane Austen. Robert Burns was a frequent visitor there too. Late in 1840, records show a John Oliphant living there – and Oliphant’s and Ferrier’s descendants founded Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, one of Scotland’s most prestigious publishing houses. Hence the name of the restaurant/bar as "The Printing Press".

Here's Princes Street lit up at night, soon after sunset. The lights of Ferris wheel, Star Flyer, Balmoral Hotel and the children's play area contrast with the dark outline of the Scott Monument.

The "German Market" selling a huge range of ornaments, clothing, jewellery and food and drink seems to get bigger each year.

This is the sign just at the exit to Princes Street Gardens and the German Market.

Loch Lomond Shores

My two grandsons and their parents were up from their home in the south of England for Hogmanay and the first few days of the New Year. Of course the lively children (aged 5½ and not yet 3) needed entertained and on the 2nd of January many of the usual facilities were closed so we went to Loch Lomond Shores and the "Sealife" aquarium which was open that day. This picture shows the loch with Ben Lomond shrouded in mist (though the day was thankfully largely clear of rain). The paddle steamer "Maid of the Loch" has been moored at nearby Balloch for since the early 1990s. The vessel was the last paddle steamer built in Britain (in 1953) and operated on Loch Lomond for 29 years - I can recall as a youngster not much older than my grandsons going on a trip up Loch Lomond and being impressed by the noise and power of the engine turning those large paddles.

Since I last visited Loch Lomond Shores a jetty has been built at the tourist attraction. It does make sense to run trips on the loch from this location which has many thousands of visitors in the summer months (although ships operate cruises from Balloch. This is a little further along the loch side but the pier there is out of sight from the Lomond Shores facility.

The individual retail shops at Lomond Shores didn't have to compete with one another as far as Christmas decorations were concerned as they were all provided with a standard illuminated star. This picture was taken mid-morning so there are not a lot of shoppers around but by lunch time the retail units were busy, especially the branch of Jenners the up-market Edinburgh store that opened here some years ago.

Santa seems to have left his empty sleigh at Lomond Shores and there was no sign of any reindeer either!

This sculpture of an otter is appropriately located outside the "Sealife" aquarium which fills the Drumkinnon Tower which includes a large family of real otters which entertain the visitors, especially at meal times.

Sealife is justifiably proud of their sea horse breeding programme. A member of staff was on hand to explain that the male seahorse is equipped with a pouch on the front-facing, side of the tail. When mating, the female seahorse deposits up to 1,500 eggs in the male's pouch. The male then carries the eggs for 9 to 45 days until the seahorses emerge, fully developed, but very small. Once the young are released into the water, the male's role is done.

Sealife also has a successful breeding programme for various types of ray and other fish

Sealife is home to the largest collection of sharks in Scotland, including this white tip reef shark. They seem to swim with the other fish in a tank with an underwater walkway which allows a really close view of them. Despite being fed only every second day, the sharks don't seem to bother the other fish!

As soon as my grandsons saw these clownfish (also known as anemonefish) they immediately shouted out "It's Nemo!" as they are very familiar with the 2003 American computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film "Finding Nemo" produced by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures.

If you want to read the other Diary entries going back to 2009, there is an Index page.

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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