Highland Cattle on Skye

On one of the hauls up/down a hillside on Skye there was a parking place. The Highland cattle there attracted an enthusiastic audience.

Highland Cows on Skye 1

They are wonderful shaggy beasts. But don’t let the horns get near you!:-

Highland Cows on Skye 2

Highland Cows on Skye 3

Highland Cows on Skye 4

Skye Hills

These photos were all taken on the hoof through the car window.

Not by the driver I hasten to add.

Skye’s landscape is pretty bleak with very few trees but has a stark beauty of a kind.

The main mountain range is the Cuillin but the Black Cuillin lie more to the west of the island than these which I believe belong to the Red Cuillin.

Skye Hills 1

Skye Hills 2

Skye Hills 3

Skye Hills 4

Skye Hills 5

Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram Waterfall, Skye

Waterfall and continuing stream:-

Skye Waterfall

Different angle:-

Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram Waterfall, Skye,

Closer view of waterfall:-

Close-up on Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram Waterfall, Skye,

Closer still:-

Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram Waterfall, Skye, Even Closer view

Video. (Click on picture to get to it):-

Video of Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram Waterfall, Skye

Skye Scenery

Looking towards (sea) Loch Ainort from near a bridge over Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram. An older bridge can be seen in the distance nearer the loch. The island of Scalpay lies across the sea water.

Skye Scenery 1

The older bridge in close-up:-

Bridge over Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram, Skye

Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram from roadside:-

Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram, Skye 1

Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram looking towards Loch Ainort:-

Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram, Skye 2

Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram looking up the coire (corrie):-

Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram, Skye 1Allt Coire Nam Bruadaram, Skye 3

Portree, Isle of Skye

Portree harbour looking out to the island of Raasay and beyond:-

Portree, Isle of Skye, Looking Out To Raasay

Portree harbour, pierside buildings:-

Portree Harbour

Great Wars Memorial Portree, overlooking harbour. Upper inscription (gold lettering) is the same Gaelic phrase that appears on Portree’s War Memorial, Mairidh An Cliu Go Bragh:-

Great Wars Memorial Portree

The lower inscription reads, “Lest we forget. Donated by Seoid Portree Primary School War Time Memorial Project 2002-2003. Donated to thank the community. In memory of all who sacrificed so much in The Great Wars”:-

Inscription Great Wars Memorial Portree

River Sligachan, Skye

As well as the three bridges over it I took a few photos of the River Sligachan on Skye and the countryside round about just to remember the landscape.

From the old bridge:-

River Sligachan, Skye 1

From the riverside:-

River Sligachan, Skye 2

River Sligachan, Skye 3

Bridges on Skye

From Kyle of Lochalsh we travelled over the sea to Skye – not in a bonny boat but via the bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh.

On the way on to Portree I spotted a lovely old bridge over the River Sligachan. I made sure to stop on the way back to photograph it.

It was an atmospheric day with mist shrouding the hills and rain making fitful appearances:-

An Old Bridge on Skye

Old Bridge on Skye From Angle

Just off to the left there was a smaller bridge over a smaller burn:-

Smaller Old Bridge on Skye 2

Reverse angle of old bridge. The newer bridge over the Sligachan can be seen through the first arch:-

Old Bridge on Skye (New Bridge through Arch)

The newer bridge:-

Newer Bridge on Skye

BSFA Awards Booklet 2018

BSFA, 2019, 104 p.

BSFA Award Booklet for 2018

It would appear from the nominations for shorter fiction appearing in this year’s booklet that the SF short story is dead. Barring the last in the booklet none of the shortlisted stories is printed in its entirety. The others are all extracts from longer pieces of fiction.
Nina Allan’s The Gift of Angels: an introduction1 is narrated by a Science Fiction writer, whose mother was the first person on Mars but whose fate remains unknown, and tells what appears to be his life story. The tale riffs on and critiques the films La Jetée and Twelve Monkeys. Allan has a beautiful writing touch. I did want to find the longer version to finish it. The story, though, refers to Harry Potter and Game of Thrones as famous. I doubt these will be quite such cultural touchstones in the fifty years or so time when this is set as they are now.
I read The Purpose of the Dodo is to be Extinct by Malcolm Devlin in Interzone 275, where it was first published. I reviewed the issue it appeared in here.
The Land of Somewhere Safe3 by Hal Duncan is one of the author’s Scruffians stories. Here we have a wonderfully linguistically inventive tale (Dunstravaigin Castle is a brilliant coinage) involving wartime evacuees to Skye and a Nazi spy.
The magnificent Time Was by Ian McDonald I reviewed here.
Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries Vol 4)5 by Martha Wells is narrated by a murder bot apparently lured to a planet by an organisation that has sequestered its boss. The story suffers from being told to us rather than shown and did not grab me in the slightest.
Phosphorus6 by Liz Williams is set on Mars and the planet Winterstrike. One of its viewpoint characters is dead. However, the extract is not really long enough to judge whether its balance is askew or not nor to evaluate the story properly.
Kingfisher7 by Marian Womack is set in a future where wildlife is all but vanished and human births a rarity yet libraries seem to abound. Our protagonist is saddled with a useless tool of a husband, an abiding sense of failure and a fascination with birds. There is a hint of a writerly sensibility lurking underneath the prose but the story is riddled with a ridiculous number of errata.

The non-fiction nominees section contains two of Nina Allan’s “Time Pieces”a columns from Interzone, ditto for Ruth E J Booth’s Shoreline of Infinity essays published as “Noise and Sparks”, Liz Bourke has five of her “Sleeps with Monsters”b columns for Tor.com, Aliette de Bodard writes “On Motherhood and Erasure”c from the blog “Intellectus Speculativus” and there is an extract from Adam Roberts’s “Publishing and the Science Fiction Canon: The Case of Scientific Romance”d.

Pedant’s corner:- 1“A sinister band of scientists prey off” (a band preys off,) “sprung up” (sprang up,) “the museum has replacedtheir stash” (its stash,) “a cetain child .. finds themselves” (a child finds itself.) 3puntied in (punted?) argylle socks (argyle,) liptick (lipstick seems intended but liptick may be one of Duncan’s neologisms.) 5GrayCris’ (GrayCris’s.) 6governess’ (governess’s,) mistress’ (mistress’s,) “The scatter of hovels erected at the tip of the Tail were the last to fall behind..” (The scatter … was the last.) 7 “each bar offered their personal take” (each bar offered its personal take,) statues becomes statue several lines later, “a prevalent Sun descended” (a prominent Sun?) “it was frightening how comforting was to fall back into” (how comforting it was to.) “The library would pay for my librarianship degree on the sole condition that I came back to work for them for three or four years” (to work for it, or, to work there,) “climbing up thopusands of miles up in the air” (one ‘up’ too many,) a ‘seem’ where ‘seemed’ fits the other tenses in the sentence, “and they would let themselves been touched” (be touched,) “Jonas was better at cooking at me” (than me,) “scribbled in old pieces of reclaimed paper” (scribbled on,) “in a strangely elaborated [dream]” (elaborate.) “I looked a Jonas” (at Jonas.) “I fell a moment of void” (I felt.) “I had never knew whsat to do with it” (I had never known, or, I never knew,) although there were not fluff” (although they were not fluff,) “but they seem to accumulate” (seemed,) “when I notice a stain” (noticed,) “too look inside” (to look,) “the dinning room” (dining room,) “what they where for” (were for.) “Whener I don’t remember what it means to be sad I took it out and look at those pages” (either ‘remembered’, and ‘looked’, or, ‘take’,) “minus zero” (that would be zero, then,) “magazines cut-outs” (magazine cut-outs,) “I had tided them up” (tidied,) “plastics bags” (plastic bags.) “They were not native to the local fauna” (‘They were not native’, or, ‘they were not local fauna’,) “so effectively they had contaminated the environment” (so effectively had they contaminated the environment.)
a“are startling out of step” (startlingly.) b“I’m going to look at take two books together” (either ‘look at’ or ‘take’ not both, automatons (automata,) “Neither of them resolve anything” (neither of them resolves anything,) “[X]’s .. pregnancy …. and her feelings … is central to the narrative” (there’s an ‘and’ in there; that makes for a plural verb subject, so, ‘are central’.) “The poets are most affect by” (affected by.) c“are littered with the death of mothers” (deaths.) d“is comic-satiric impossible voyage” (is a comic-satiric impossible voyage,) “triple-decker length SF form this era” (from, I think,) “the content of which were published” (was published.)

Duirinish, Highlands. Free Roaming Cattle

On the way back fom Skye we took a detour to go to Plockton on Loch Carron. The road took us through the village of Duirinish.

The locals think nothing of letting their livestock roam the (one, very narrow) street.

Duirinish, Highland

Both Highland cattle and sheep made driving through it a little precarious. In the link above is a great photograph of the village with cattle in the burn.

After Plockton and on the way back to our hotel we encountered a family of highland cattle more or less blocking the road. They seemed to be going home for the night. The woman in the other car had stopped for a photo opportunity.

Highland Cows on Road!

I tried to nudge past them but had to stop sharpish as the female cow didn’t take too kindly to me getting near her offspring.

Highland Cattle 2

The joys of rural driving!

Highland Cattle 2

Portree War Memorial

Portree is the main town on the Isle of Skye. Not big in the grand scheme of things but it has enough non-chain shops not to be boring.

The War Memorial is in the town square. It takes the form of a lion-surmounted pillar on a hexagonal base, name panels on five of the lower hexagonal planes. The supplementary (upper) panel is for 1939-45.

The stone wreath here is inscribed 1914-1919, the panel under it, “To the glory of God and in grateful memory of the soldiers and sailors from the mainland of Portree Parish and from South Snizort who died for their country in the Great War 1914-1919. Eternal Honour to the true and brave who for their native land their life blood gave. And in Gaelic, “Mairidh An Cliu Go Bragh”:-

Portree War Memorial 3

The supplementary upper panel below is for 1939-45 (and includes Private Alice Buchanan ATS) plus a soldier of the Korean War, Private Alastair M Annan.

Portree War Memorial 1

Again the supplementary upper panel is for 1939-45:-

Portree War Memorial 2

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