Scotland… here we come!

Hiking destination:  West Highland Way. 96 miles of Scotland’s rugged beauty.

August 27, 2015: My sister, Joan (the accountant/flight attendant, travel guru extraordinaire), has the spreadsheet analyzed and revised multiple times. Following months of research, the departure date has finally arrived as Joan pulls up to park her vehicle, saddle up her backpack and hands me a copy of the FINAL spreadsheet for our three-week adventure. As for my husband, Randy, and I?  Well, we did show up on time so give us credit for that. Thank goodness for Joan!!

Public transportation is how we roll…

First bus – Chanhassen, MN/downtown Minneapolis/transfer to the airport. Bonus for Joan since she can ride the whole way for 75 cents.  What a deal.


After landing in Glasgow mid-afternoon August 28th, we take a convenient bus from the airport to Buchanan Station where we hop on a transfer bus to Milngavie, Scotland, the starting point for the West Highland Way.
E1_webScot-1090056eAre you sure this is our bus?


Really?  We get a double-decker bus?

Wide eyed, even with lack of sleep, I gaze at the views of Glasgow from the top level, as we sit in the front seats of the bus.

My apologies to the young students that didn’t get the front seats on this day. You can sit in the front tomorrow.E1_webScot-1090083e Hair extensions while waiting for computer repair.  Interesting combination.E1_webScot-1090092e E1_webScot-1090101eE1_webScot-1090102e E1_webScot-1090112e

School has now dismissed, so our bus quickly fills with chatty students releasing their pent-up energy. Just like home, except our students ride on school buses instead of city buses. Unsure as to our stop, we ask a 12-year-old in the next seat who, luckily for us, ignored any previous stranger danger lessons and informed us that he gets off at our stop.

E1_webScot-1090119e Not a great day for this truck driver. Our B & B for the night is on the other side so we now must figure out a way to get around it.E1_webScot-1090128e Have no fear, a friendly, born & bred Scottish trail angel has already arrived to show us the way and we cut through the park. E1_webScot-1090132eSafe and sound, we arrive at Best Foot Forward Bed & Breakfast to rest up for our first day of hiking the West Highland Way!

Well… maybe find a pub first and then we’ll rest up…

Make some noise ~ it’s Photo Friday!

If a picture is so boring that you notice the noise, it’s a boring picture. ~ Rick Sammon

Noise can be present in images. Electronic noise will be present in camera sensors, and the physical size of the grains of film emulsion creates visual noise. This kind of noise is referred to as “grain.” ~Wikipedia


I occasionally check out Rick Sammon’s photography blog and noticed this leading quote.  It stimulated some thinking about my own images and noise. I guess I’d say an image is a keeper if the noise does not detract from the impact of the image.  I’ve had some horribly noisy images especially with older digital cameras that did not perform well at higher ISO’s  but still had some keepers due to the strength of other elements of the image.  Or, sometimes it was just the best I could do under circumstances which deemed a photo “good enough.”

The image above is a blend of  6 images plus a very faded texture layer.  The image of the bar crowd is very noisy – shot at 6400 ISO. With all of the other activity within this piece the noise doesn’t jump out but I’m not sure if I’d enlarge this to a huge size.

Planning a trip to Jamaica? Let me introduce you to Solomon…

Meet Solomon Hutchinson, our tour guide/driver extraordinaire.  He was our “go to guy” for exploring locations in and around Montego Bay, Jamaica that were too far for walking.  His friendly, prompt and courteous service made our trip stress free and comfortable. He was able to provide rides for our group even though we weren’t sure of the numbers until the last minute.  He must have had some kind of magic hat to pull all this off!

My favorite quote from our Jamaican experience is from Solomon himself:

“I have no problems; only situations.”  ~ Solomon Hutchinson 

I try to remember this saying when I think I should be all stressed out about something.  You just deal with it.  End of story.

Solomon Hutchinson

Solomon Hutchinson  |  876-368-7820 |

For the most historic and cultural sightseeing and tours such as Mayfield Falls, Green Grotto Cave, Dunn River Falls, Black River Safari, Negril, 7 Miles Beach.  Wheelchair accessible.

Use only special taxis or vans operated by JUTA, the Jamaica Union of  Travellers Association (tel. 876/957-4620), or taxis operated by its  government-sanctioned counterpart, JCAL Tours (Jamaica Co-operative Automobile & Limousine Tours; tel. 876/957-4620). Do not get into a  “pirate taxi,” even if the driver promises to cut the going rate in half;  cheating tourists is disturbingly common. JUTA tariffs are controlled, and  you’ll recognize its vehicles by the union emblems and red license plates. A  list of official tariffs is posted at the airport — but it’s still important to  agree on the price before setting out, to avoid potential disagreements later.

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