Scotland – The Museum of All Shells

Continuing my account of my holiday in Scotland with a piece about shells.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about my holiday in Scotland. 

EXPLANATION

One of the things I identified early on about where we were located was the preponderance of shells of various kinds. I decided therefore to include a post dedicated to them. I took my title from a chapter in Richard Dawkins’ “Climbing Mount Improbable”.

Climbing Mount ImprobableMuseum of All Shells textMuseum of All Shells pic

As with all activities on this holiday I adhered strictly to the policy outlined in this infographic of my own creation:

Enjoy Nature Infographic

THE MUSEUM OF ALL SHELLS

Here to conclude the post are the shell pictures:

Shell1Shell2Shell3Shell4Shell5P1000378Shells (scallop)Shell6Shell7399Shell9Shells (3+)Shell10Shell11Shells (3)Shell12Shell13Shell14Shells (many)Shells - 3Razor Clam and musselsMusselsClear WaterMussel and shell

 

Scotland: Walking From Ferry Cottage To Kyle of Lochalsh

An account of the walking route from Balmacara to Kyle of Lochalsh.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in this series about my Scottish holiday. Today we deal with Monday’s principal activity, which was a trip into Kyle of Lochalsh. Previous posts in series:

 

THE DECISION TO WALK

We had noticed the presence of a footpath to Kyle of Lochalsh, and I was particularly keen to sample it. I was not expecting the walk to pose too many problems as the distance was only three miles. However, I had seriously underestimated the difficulty of the terrain. Thus it was that after a brief period in Kyle of Lochalsh we got a bus back.

LEAVING THE ROAD – WOODS

The footpath began by climbing up through some woodland, before emerging into the open. 

Stream

Shelter
This shelter framework had been built straddling the path and left there.

fernYellow flowers440Stream2Old tree

ON THE HEIGHTS – TO SCALPAIDH BURN

The middle point of the walk, until we crossed a footpath running between Scalpaidh Bay and Loch Scalpaidh, took place high above Lochalsh. This junction came at the crossing point of the only major waterway on the route (there were numberless minor waterways cutting the path at various points – this is northwest Scotland we are talking about!). 

444445447Kyleaking from aboveFerry2Stream3Stream4452Crossing point454455457458Outcrop460boat on lochalshYacht2464465466467468469

THE DESCENT INTO KYLE OF LOCHALSH

The final stages of the footpath were on a steady downhill gradient as we approached Kyle of Lochalsh. The whole walk took two hours due to the difficult terrain (there were points when the path was almost indistinguishable from what as around it). We walked it on a warm day during what had been by the standards of the area a dry period.

Kyle of Lochalsh from above
This was the first sight of Kyle of Lochalsh from the footpath.

Skye Bridge from above472

Kyle Co-op
Kyle of Lochalsh Co-op – it has an adequate but overpriced stock.
Footpath Sign
The footpath marker at the Kyle of Lochalsh end of the path.#

LUNCH AND THE RETURN

We had lunch at Hector’s Bothy, also making use of their wifi before getting a bus back. This bus service runs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and although its first scheduled stop is Balmacara Square they acceded to a request that we be dropped at the turn off leading to Glaick (pronounced Glike) wherein Ferry Cottage is located. The fares were remarkably cheap at £1.20 each (central King’s Lynn to the Hospital costs more for example). The bus is the smallest vehicle I have ever seen running what purports to be a public bus route:

Bus
The bus – a 16 seater. 

 

Scotland: Setting the Scene

Setting the scene for a series of posts about my recent holiday in Scotland.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this first in what will be a substantial series of posts about my recent holiday in Scotland. Although I still have a lot of photo editing to do from said holiday I do now have enough photos at my disposal to start the series, and I will look to interleave the rest of the editing with producing posts for you. 

THE HOLIDAY TIMELINE

I travelled up on May 26th and back on June 4th. These two dates were entirely taken up with travelling (14 hours each way approximately). In between these two days there were:

  • Saturday – most of the day spent waiting for my parents to arrive so we could go up to the house that would be our base for the week, three miles from Kyle of Lochalsh.
  • Sunday – a quiet day featuring some walking in the immediate vicinity of the house
  • Monday – A walk to Kyle of Lochalsh, lunch there and a bus back. A quiet afternoon. 
  • Tuesday – a visit to the Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye.
  • Wednesday – a brief visit to Plockton to book the a table at the Plockton Inn for supper, a trip to Applecross and then back to Plockton for the supper (the birthday meal).
  • Thursday – The Jacobite Rail Journey (steam train between Fort William and Mallaig, a section of railway known to vast numbers of movie goers as the route of the Hogwarts Express).
  • Friday – the final full day.

THE LOCATION

Kyle of Lochalsh is on the mainland of northwestern Scotland, very close to the Isle of Skye, to which it is nowadays linked by a road bridge. Ferry Cottage, where we were staying is located at Glaick (pronounced Glike), three miles from Kyle of Lochalsh. Here are some maps for further clarification:

Decorative MapWestern Isles Map, Ferry CottageMap, Ferry CottageLocal MapJigmap1Jigmap6Jigmap7

SOME PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE AREA

Here are a few photos from the immediate area in which we were staying:

P1000267

Kyleaking from above
Kyleakin viewed from high above
Ferry Cottage
Ferry Cottage, where we stayed.

Skye Bridge from above

Kyle of Lochalsh from above
Kyle of Lochalsh from above

Loch Alsh from the bridgeKyle and the minor bridgeKyle of Lochalsh from the bridgeView from the Skye BridgeUnder Bridge ViewLighthouse below bridgeSkye Bridge minorSkye Bridge both bits

Balmacara House to Craggan Cottage2
These last two pictures show the stretch of shoreline that includes Ferry Cottage.

Balmacara House to Craggan Cottage

THOMAS’ CALENDAR CHALLENGE

I saw some quite amazing scenery while in Scotland, and it has become something of a tradition to produce a photographic wall calendar each year. A number of my Scottish pictures will undoubtedly feature. If in the course of this series of posts you see a picture that catches your eye as worth a place in the calendar there are two things I invite you to do:

  1. Post a comment identifying the photo that has caught your eye and/ or…
  2. Create a blog post about the picture that has caught your eye explaining what it means to you and why you think it should be included. If you do this I will reblog your post.

Should you succeed in convincing me to include the picture in my calendar I will give you credit for doing so. I end with two final pictures, the second of which is almost certain to be in the calendar:

Double Framed Lighthouse
A rarity – the lighthouse is framed twice over, once by the bridge and once by the masts of the boat in the foreground.
steamer1
This is the view across Loch Alsh from outside Ferry Cottage on a sunny day (yes, Scotland does have such things) with the additional feature of the world’s last remaining ocean going paddle steamer – this will almost certainly be in the calendar.

Politics, Nature and Autism

A mix of politics, nature and autism.

INTRODUCTION

This is a collection of interesting things I have seen on the internet recently. They are grouped broadly in three categories, the second of which includes a few pictures I took today.

POLITICS

I start this section with an important open letter from Make Votes Matter. Below is a screenshot of the beginning of the letter. This is formatted as a link so that you can add your name to the open letter should you wish to:

Open Letter

My only link in this section, which forms a natural segue to the nature section, is to a thunderclap organised by Team4Nature and tagged #VoteForHopeVoteForChange. Below is a screenshot which also functions as a link:

voteforchange

NATURE

I am going to start this section with another thunderclap, before sharing a couple of recent posts from Anna that caught my attention and finally ending this section with some of my own photographs. 

THUNDERCLAP: 30 DAYS WILD

This one has been launched by The Wildlife Trusts and the screenshot below links to it:

30dayswild

ANNA’S POSTS

The first of the two recent posts from Anna that I am sharing is titled “Which Future Do You Wanna Give The Next Generation?“. This post contains both Swedish and English text, and is in particular focused on the campaign to Save Trosa Nature. Here is Anna’s picture from that post:

The second post from Anna is titled “Old Tjikko” and starts by introducing us to the world’s oldest tree (9,500 years old since you ask). It concludes with a marvellous tree infographic which is reproduced below:

Time now for some…

PHOTOGRAPHS

These were all taken today…

DSCN6510
Other than moving the tree pic to the top of the pile (see the end of the previous section for clarification) these are in the order in which they were taken (tree pic was no 6 originally).

DSCN6506DSCN6507

DSCN6509
This one is a bit blurry because it was taken very quickly.

DSCN6508DSCN6511DSCN6512

DSCN6514

DSCN6515DSCN6516

AUTISM

I saw this article on www.independent.co.uk today and knew I would have to share it. It is titled “People with autism can hear more than most – which can be a strength and a challenge“, and the content lives up to the title, more of it being devoted to pointing up the strength than the challenge. I offer both a screenshotted quote and a picture by way of aperitif:

quote

adam-mandela-walden.jpg

I end this post with yet another reference to the rainbow coloured infinity symbol that Laina at thesilentwaveblog introduced me and many others to. The version below is an envisaged centrepiece for the front cover of the 2018 Calendar (see this post for more on my calendars) and features my name in white text incorporated into the symbol and the addresses of this blog and my London transport themed website in each loop:

Personalised symbol-page-0

 

Science and Nature

Some of the best science and nature related pieces I have recently come across.

INTRODUCTION

Having started the day with a science related squib I finish it with a full length post concerned with Science and Nature. As this is a post where all the text will be the same colour please not that links are in bold and underlined. Before proceeding here is a list of all of today’s previous posts:

PART ONE: A VARIETY OF SHARES

I am building up for big finish by dealing with everything else first in a single section. I am going to start with…

A REPORT FROM SUMOFUS.ORG

The campaign group sumofus.org have produced a definitive report to the effect that we do not need bee killing pesticides to feed the world. For detailed information on where we are with the fight to save bees please click on the graphic below:

sumofus.jpg

THUNDERCLAP: #GARDENS4NATURE

Yes another thunderclap for those of you who are on social media to support. Click on the screenshot below for more…

Gardens4Nature

THE EDEN PROJECT

The Eden Project in Cornwall, of which I have very fond memories, has just added to its laurels by winning VisitEngland’s award for Inclusive Tourism. Thus I have two links, each accompanied by a screenshot to share:

  1. The disabledgo blog piece detailing this latest success for the Eden Project.
    Eden Project VisitEngland award
  2. The Eden Project’s own website.

A LEGAL WAY PAST PAYWALLS

I am indebted to WEIT for this. It is an app that is free to download. For more details please visit the WEIT article on this:

PART 2: SOME FANTASTIC EVOLUTION MEMES

I found these on twitter by way of their creator, whose twitter name is Lord Cropes. Below is the particular meme which caught my attention:

EvolutioninAction

This is just one of 129 memes of this type that he has created, and you can view all of them by way of the website pinkheretic.com. Here is one more to further whet your appetite:

PART THREE: PHOTOGRAPHS

I finish with some of my own photographs:

Moorhen + chicks
An adult moorhen and two chicks
Moorhen and chicks
Adult and two chicks close together
Moorhen chick
Close up of a chick

DSCN6063DSCN6062DSCN6061

 

A Couple of Important Nature Links

Links an important petition and an important thunderclap. A couple of other nature related links, a classic nature related meme and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

A couple of big things to do with nature came to my attention today and I have decided to share them with you. In addition to the two major links there will be some of my own thoughts, a nod in the direction of New Zealand and some appropriate photographs of my own. As you will have noticed by now, the text in this post is green, and that is because it is a post entirely dedicated to nature. Links in the text will in bold and underlined, while images relating to other posts will also be formatted as links.

THOUGHTS ON NATURE

My own interest in the natural world and concern for nature are both lifelong. I literally cannot remember a time when these attributes were not part of me. Although I grew up in London I had a common practically on my doorstep, lots of natural history books, and of course being in London meant I was within easy travelling distance of the museums at South Kensington. In my childhood the Geological and Natural History museums were two separate entities, though they have long since been amalgamated into one museum, the Natural History Museum. Therefore you can imagine my reaction when I saw something on twitter about…

A GCSE IN NATURAL HISTORY

A petition on the official site created for petitions addressed to the UK parliament to create a Natural History GCSE has been launched. This means that it is only open to those among my readers who are UK citizens to sign, which I regret, but you can still view this petition (there is a screenshot below to whet the appetite) even if you are not a UK citizens. UK citizens please sign and share.
NH GCSE

My next major link is to a…

THUNDERCLAP

To be part of a thunderclap you have to be on some form of social media (facebook, twitter or tumblr to be precise). This particular thunderclap is about the importance of pollinators and the fact that scientists have established that birds as well as bees are pesticide victims. If you are able to add your voice to this thunderclap please do so. Below is a screenshot for further clarification.

BJBthunderclap

Yes, this thunderclap is well ahead of target, as it should be, but just as the importance of pollinators cannot be overstated, so this thunderclap cannot ever be said to be over-supported. 

A COUPLE OF FURTHER LINKS

Miles King over at anewnatureblog has today produced a splendid piece titled “Time to rename Defra the Ministry of Agriculture and Fieldsports” in which he reveals the extent to which our government is failing in its duties as regards the environment. Below is a screenshot of the section of the post dealing with the downright dishonourable Andrea Leadsom by way of introduction.

ALfail

Now it is time for…

A NOD TO NEW ZEALAND

Jerry Coyne, author of the books “Why Evolution Is True” and “Faith Versus Fact”, and who also runs a blog named after the first of those books is currently in New Zealand, and it is from there that this wonderful picture (click on it to view it in its original econiche) comes:

It is nearly time for some of my own photos, taken yesterday and today, but for the penultimate section of the post I share once again…

ANNA’S NATURE MEME

This wonderful creation was formed around words that were originally submitted by me as a comment on one of her blog posts.
Nature Meme

PHOTOGRAPHS

birdmootcorvidscysbbirdmootDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5763DSCN5771Goose1ducklngs x 5Goose2gull on jettyHGSquirrelStarling in grassbirdmootcorvidscysbDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5762DSCN5763DSCN5771DSCN5772ducklngs x 5Goose1Goose2gull on jettySquirrelHGStarling in grass

1100

My 1,100th post on aspiblog – features some fun around the number 1,100, a number of links to autism related stuff and some photographs. Read, enjoy and please share!.

INTRODUCTION

Yes folks, this is my 1100th post on aspiblog. I will start with a section on the number 1100, provide a number of autism related links and include some of my own photographs. 

1100

1,100 = 2 * 2 * 5 * 5 *11.
An ammunition store that contained 20 complete pyramids of cannon-balls each with a base side length of 5 cannonballs would contain a total of 1100 cannonballs:
(1 + 4 +9 + 16 +25) = 55, 55 * 20 = 1,100.
These same cannon balls could also have been stacked in five tetrahedrons each with a base side length of 10.
(1 + 3 + 6 + 10 + 15 + 21 + 28 + 36 + 45 + 55)= 220, 220 * 5 = 1,100
However, it was standard to stack cannon balls in pyramids, and also a the single cannon ball on top of a stack 10 cannonballs high might be rather difficult to reach.
Another option on the pyramidal theme would be a single truncated pyramid with base side length 15 cannonballs, and the top layer of the pyramid having a side length of 64 (225 + 196 + 169 + 144 + 121 + 100 + 81 + 64 = 1,100.
As a teaser what is the minimum base size length needed to stack 1,100 cannonballs in a single truncated tetrahedron, and what if you restrict yourself by insisting that each layer must be a perfect triangle? 

AUTISM RELATED LINKS

This section is devoted to autism related stuff, so the text, including links which will be in bold and underlined, is all in #RedInstead. My first link comes from the blog aliensfromplanetautism under the title “What Autism Acceptance Means” Below is a screenshot of the start of the post:

AutAcc

Next comes a link to thesilentwaveblog, with a post called “Can we talk about autism awareness?“. The post is headed by a splendid graphic reproduced below.

My next offering is also courtesy of thesilentwaveblog, under the title ‘Taking the “pity” out of serendipity‘. It also features an excellent picture, reproduced below.

While my next choice is not specifically about autism it is produced by an autistic blogger, unabashedautist. Published under the title “Signals, Jerry. Signals.“, it features a graphic which I just had to share with you as I do below, not least because it has been declared illegal in Russia.

Now we turn back to thesilentwaveblog and a piece with the title “
Asperger’s / autism and self-acceptance (#IveLearnedToAccept)“. This post also features a splendid picture, reproduced below.

My next link, and the last before I move into a new subsection (still autism related), comes courtesy of BadassAmericanAdvocates guest writer Anonymously Autistic Anna. Titled “PLEASE READ AUTISTIC PERSPECTIVES THIS AUTISM AWARENESS / ACCEPTANCE MONTH“, it is truly a must read. I have included a screenshot of the opening paragraphs below.

apseakingnotapeaks

THE AUTISM AWARENESS CUP

Bookings are now open for the second running of the Autism Awareness Cup six-a-side football tournament, which takes place at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club on June 4th (and it is free btw). If you are able to come along please click on the graphic below to book:

PHOTOGRAPHS

DSCN5609DSCN5610DSCN5612DSCN5613DSCN5614DSCN5615DSCN5616DSCN5617DSCN5618DSCN5620DSCN5621DSCN5623DSCN5624

DSCN5729
This is the front cover of the printed catalogue for James and Sons’ April auction, all three days of which are taking place at our shop on Norwich Street. If you click on the image you can view on online catalogue listing and sign up to bid via the-saleroom.com if you are so minded.

ANSWERS TO TEASER

The second part of the teaser was a trick question – there is no combination of consecutive triangle numbers that adds up to 1,100, therefore a perfect truncated tetrahedron is not possible. The first part of the answer is that you can make a truncated tetrahedron of 1084 cannon balls from a base with side length 18 up to side length 7, but there are then only 16 balls left for the next layer which is therefore incomplete.