Storm Damage



A couple of photos of damage following last Friday’s storm-surge at high tide: several paving flags in the pavement dislodged and tarmac fragments in the carpark.

Our Earth Was Once Green

A few months ago, when we moved into the area, one of the first local scenes I spotted was this view of beech trees along the brow of a small hill, running along the side of a fence, terminating with a gate and a hawthorn tree.

I managed to capture the view with the remnants of snow as the deeper drifts melted away:

Some Trees

Some Trees

and I wrote a previous article about what set that image apart from a quick mobile snap of the scene as well.

As a photographer, I was looking forward to capturing the scene in varying seasons – indeed, I could anticipate my output becoming repetitive and running out of inspiration for different ways to portray it.

I got as far as two variations.

First, The Answer: tall beech trees, covered in new foliage for the onset of summer, blowing in the wind:

the answer

The Answer

and then an evening portrait of summer skies with blue wispy cirrus clouds above the trees:

Some Sky

Some Sky

In the past week, the impressive beeches have been cut down; a drain pipe has been laid just this side of the trees, the fence is removed and the whole hillside has been ploughed so what used to be an expanse of green grass is currently brown soil. I guess at least that won’t last long before it recovers.

Our Earth Was Once Green

Our Earth Was Once Green

Yesterday evening I caught a TV programme about Scotland’s landscape, from the point of view of some awful Victorian book, a rather romantic tourist guide for “picturesque” views, the programme showing the contrast with tourists’ search for an “authentic experience” of Scotland – yet pointing out how, more or less by definition, to be a tourist is inevitably to be an uninvolved spectator.

One of the guests in the programme was a local photographer, who explained how landscape photographers struggle with the dichotomy of presenting the landscape as timeless, pure, untainted by human hand, whilst knowing in the back of their mind that they’re perpetrating a myth through selectivity, that the landscape is far from wild and natural – the deforestation dates back 8 millenia to pre-history, what now appears as Highland heather-clad grouse-moor heath used to be crofting land prior to the Clearances, etc.

While landscape used to be my chosen genre of photography, and a fair proportion of what I now shoot – including the above – still qualifies as such, I think it’s time to recognize that landscape photography is not just about the tourist photographer seeking ever-wilder ever-more-northern scenery, nice as that can be, but rather includes potentially less travel whilst valuably documenting the landscape changing from year to year, whether those changes arise from natural forces or human intervention.

Water, water, everywhere

Saturday was wet. Very wet.

This was the view just outside Portpatrick, at the corner of the Dunskey B-road turnoff, water flooding off the hill onto the road.


On arriving home, I discovered a drain outside the gate was unable to cope with the sudden rain, and a gutter-load of water was flowing in a channel down the driveway, pushing gravel through the gate.

It took half an hour’s shovelling gravel to persuade some of the water to flow into a flowerbed the other side of the fence; in the meantime, the garage was flooded about 3in deep.

A couple of days later and the scale of damage caused is clear; while the driveway is now arguably better than it was before, roadside embankments have obviously suffered

Collapsed embankment

as has the road surface – the erosion from gravel and dirt flowing over tarmac is quite severe:

tarmac road surface showing serious erosion due to

Escapist Dog

One of the first things we did on buying this house was to fix-up the kennels. These consisted of a set of 4 thin hutches, each with concrete floor and a rear wooden compartment behind a wooden door with cat-flap so we could put his bed, water and toys in out of the rain.

We knocked two of the thin kennels together and patched-up one of the hutches, adding polystyrene foam insulation and wooden board for extra comfort.

So this morning, I put Dog in his shiny house and wandered off to church. Came back a couple of hours later to find herself(TM) complaining that I’d put him on the wrong side of the door before shutting it… animal found wandering around the garden. At least we now know he won’t willingly leave the garden altogether, but that was pretty scary.

On investigation, it transpires he left his nice comfy house, went into the neighbouring kennel and chewed and dug his way right through the rotten wood of the back wall. It’s amazing how much damage one dog can cause!

kennel devastation