This has definitely been a month of two halves and the first stage of a 10 week trip away. I'll enjoy the trip but will definitely look forward to being back home again.
First stage was almost two weeks in Queenstown looking after our friends house and dog. That is of course a golden opportunity to get out with the camera and thoroughly enjoy the stunning scenery that surrounds this area. The first few pictures of this months journal, hopefully, show just how beautiful it is. 
It was also a time for catching up with friends and making new ones. New friends were made at the Queenstown Bowling Club who made me very welcome and invited me to use the clubs facilities whenever I wanted to and even let me join in with a coaching session. It's a beautiful facility and the members are lovely so a big thank you to them. Being a fan of craft beer was a great excuse to catch up with a mate for a few beers at the Atlas Bar and Cafe, having the water taxi available to get back was a definite bonus that night!
Straight from Queenstown for a few days in Christchurch before heading on the extremely long journey to London for the start of a trip through Scotland and the Lake District. First stop was catching up with family that I have not seen in many years and then first class on the train to Edinburgh which we have spent the last week exploring. I should point out at this stage that the epic trip over the next few weeks is to celebrate my 50th birthday and my Mum's 70th birthdays last year. Mum had never seen Scotland so this is an epic Mum and Son road trip......hopefully we'll still be talking at the end of it ;-)
London was great, even if we did inadvertently get caught up in the Brexit demonstration as we had to get through the crowd so we could get to see the show Wicked. That, by the way, is well worth seeing.
Edinburgh has been amazing and is a beautiful city with highlights being the amazing architecture, stunning views from the walk up to Arthurs Seat and, naturally, a lot of whisky tasting at the The Whiskey Experience. A couple of people did not turn up for the tour.....I assumed they wouldn't pour their whisky back into the bottle so thought I'd help with tidying was a very good evening ;-)
Unfortunately Edinburgh also has a couple of negative points :-(. Firstly there is plenty of graffiti which ruins the beauty of the architecture and secondly a lot of beggars on most streets. I'm potentially a bit non pc here as I'm sure a few of them were genuinely on hard times, but, more than a few appeared remarkably well dressed and had cardboard signs proclaiming they were not on drugs etc with a family that needed support.......all in the same handwriting! We saw the same pattern in London and I've no doubt it happens in most major cities. It's a strange world we live in. 
With the start of April we will make our way into less populated areas. Firstly Fyfe, then into the Highlands before heading across to the west coast around Glencoe and finally into the Lake District. It should be a fun filled few weeks with stunning scenery which I am thoroughly looking forward to :-)

That kind of view for your morning walk with the dog makes it well worth getting out of bed for

Low morning cloud clings to the Remarkables

The sun was just about to break over the ridge line as I returned from walking the dog

Beautiful calm morning for this of the day turned a little less calm, should have heeded the Shepherds warning ;-)

During the summer months you can walk at the top of the Cardrona Ski Fields. At this point we were 5,500ft above sea level for some stunning views.

That coffee was fantastic and my last barista prepared one before leaving for the UK. Hopefully not the last decent coffee I have for the next six weeks!

London where new structures tower over the traditional

You'd expect London to teeming with people so I was quite surprised to find plenty of empty streets

Suited dummy in a shop window.......perhaps a metaphor for UK politics at this time ;-)

Over 300 steps to the top of Monument. This tower was started in 1671, designed by Christopher Wren as a monument to the Great Fire of London and stands 62m high. Amazing views from the top across London.

The resident cat of Southwark Cathedral. I believe he is tasked with keeping down the rat and mice population.....but I suspect he just sleeps a lot ;-)

The beautiful inside of Southwark Cathedral, that chandelier dates from the 17th century

Lots of buskers on London's South Bank, this one had fire coming out of the instrument he was playing, never seen that before

This cool structure joins the new part of Kings Cross to the old, looks amazing

A view of Englands green and pleasant land just outside of London though the train window. Stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the previous few days.

If you don't want to have your view of Edinburgh Castle disturbed by lots of selfie stick obsessed need to be there early. This was at 5:30am and it felt like I had the city to myself, bliss.

Sun just about rise and glistening off of the dew covered cobblestones, what history they could tell

I wonder if these building were always so brightly coloured

More of that early morning peace and quiet

Soo many alleyways to explore. You can almost feel the old street urchins running up and down them getting into all kinds of mischief

A tour of Edinburgh Castle all to myself. Oh ok, not really, just patience as I waited for them to move on :-)

I love that skyline

The view part way up my walk to Arthurs Seat. Fantastic views all the way up and well worth the early start.

Ruins of an old Abbey at Hollyrood Park

Now this is ridiculous. That bottle of whisky would cost you 25,500 pounds! Apparently the label is made of pure Scottish silver. I'd expect the bottle to be made of diamond too at that price ;-)

Edinburgh by night, just love those cobble stones

St Giles's huge!

As you walk around Edinburgh paying close attention to the architecture it is easy to see where JK Rowling got the inspiration for her Harry Potter novels. 

Spring blossom is just breaking out around the city

Sheer solid rock, topped by stone walls and then very solid wonder they felt this place was impenetrable.

Looking through the alleyways revealed little vignettes of city life. 

No doubt about it, that castle is impressive

 Earning his keep by using his bag pipe playing skills outside the train station. Not always the pure sounds of Scotland from this player as he would intersperse traditional with the occasional pop was definitely different and a crowd pleaser.

Back to Top