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The content in this blog is entirely driven by my interest in Travel and Photography. I welcome alternative opinions on my posts and encourage discussion, however any non-constructive comments will be removed from the site.

By Willem, Nov 5 2013 08:42PM

Hi All!

There are a lot of gifts you could give this holiday season, but when it comes to something really meaningful, there’s nothing quite like the gift of a book you’ve made yourself. But before you start having There are a lot of gifts you could give this holiday season, but when it comes to something really meaningful, there’s nothing quite like the gift of a book you’ve made yourself. But before you start having visions of gluing and sewing together pages, check out the options from Blurb.

Blurb lets you make seriously beautiful books using their free tools. Just add photos and text, choose your options (like paper and cover type), and then order. Of course, you do have to decide just what kind of book you want to make. But relax, because Blurb has put together a cool gift center page to give you lots of ideas.

For instance, if you’ve got a genealogical bent, there’s the Family History book.

For those with newborns (or those that know someone with a newborn), a Baby Book might be just the thing.

And if you’re the kind of person who keeps getting asked for copies of your recipes, think about making a food book.

This holiday season, make your gift recipients feel really special by making them something special. There really is a book for everyone.

By Willem, Jan 2 2013 11:07PM

The Location: The Falls of Dochart lay on the A827 near the village of Killin, West of Perth and just North of Loch Lommond and the Trossachs National Park. In all honesty it’s a very hard place to miss, but perhaps too far along the road for most people visiting Loch Lommond. It’s roughly an hour and half drive from Glasgow, but certainly not a boring drive as the roads curve in and out of some of the finest Glens and Lochs Scotland has to offer.

Photo Opportunities: Personally I have seen both mountain bikers and canoeists tackle the falls in the summer and winter respectively, so you won’t be without inspiration. It’s the kind of place you can walk around for hours to find the perfect picture and I highly recommend you do. The presence of a local parking lot and the fact the main road crosses next to the falls means that it is a prime spot for tourist photos as well. Wet seasons can bring about gushing water which will come out looking like something from Ghostbusters on a long exposure. On the other hand, drier seasons may allow for more silky long-exposures and opens up more areas to seek out the perfect photo.

Skills & Equipment: Patience; to find the right spot and deal with the never ending line of traffic and tourists. A tripod & ND Filters; long exposures are a must, and a 10stop filter might even help you remove a tourist or two if they are active enough.

Grub: No valuable insight here; the Falls of Dochart Inn is right next to the falls (no surprise there) and serves a decent dish. Cards can only be used for purchases over £10 so bring some cash if you only fancy a coffee and some home-baked goods in the Café (which is next to the bar and restaurant).

By Willem, Aug 8 2012 07:22PM

As I begin to get into the swing of things with this trip, I begin to realize why there aren’t a lot of photo-cyclers. I had originally expected that travelling slower than cars would mean that I see a lot of things that people in cars would miss, and therefore avoid all the clichéd shots that most people travelling around Scotland would have. Truth be told, so far I have managed to capture a couple of shots that most people in a car would miss, but they haven’t been inspirational. There are a couple of problems. 1) When you’re cycling uphill it’s strenuous enough to make you forget everything around you. 2) When you’re cycling downhill, the smallest bump could kill you, so you kinda have to forget about the amazing views to save your life. 3) You just simply can’t have your camera easily accessible; at least not one that is worth a bit of cash. Besides the fact my handle-bar bag is stuffed with more vital items than a dslr, it also bounces around with more energy than a kid on a bouncy-castle. 4) The golden-hours are spent sleeping; you just finished a roller-coaster ride that tested your fitness… you are thinking shower, food, sleep when you finish your ride.

So in short… urgh.

Today’s ride was an excellent one. I grant a lot of the praise to the great weather, however now that I have escaped the northern highlands, the hills are a little lower (not sure if that will continue tomorrow when head towards Glen Coe). However the route today, despite being entertaining to cycle, had limited views worth a photograph. The beaches of Morar, which I plan to return to, surprised me with their beautiful white sand and light-blue water characteristics. Equally, hitting the rolling moss-mountains around Acharale was impressive, but unlikely to inspire the picky photo critic.

So onwards to Glen Coe and Glasgow

By Willem, Aug 7 2012 08:08PM

If my legs could talk they may have said something like this..

Day 1) Hey!!! Wow dude, I didn’t realize we were still cycling, but cool I like it…. So how far you planning to go? Personal best… yeah sure. Wait.. uphill? You sure about that? You f**ker.

Day 2) Yawn!! Um, why are you waking me up at 7:30! Whoa dude!!! And you want me to go 2km uphill before 9am. Ouch. Ok, lets make this count.

Day3) Oh yeah baby, time of my life. Rocking this shit. Sure you only want to do 70km? Hey btw, you know that mosquito spray you bought? Well I’m not that keen on my new midge-bite coat, so do you mind using the stuff?

Day 4) Ah, so that’s what it feels like to do exercise for 4 days in a row. Dude, hurting, and not in the right places. Like… that doesn’t feel like muscles, more ligaments. Time to chill a bit.

On a separate note, I reached a new max speed today (doubting if it is a good or bad thing). A grand high of 64.3km/hr!!! I have to say that’s about the limit of my comfort level and I doubt I will get any higher.

By Willem, Aug 6 2012 07:53PM

Everything that day 1&2 couldn’t deliver was saved up for today. I did spoil myself in a nice B&B in Aultbea which meant the sleep was great, the food was great, the room was quiet. A noticeable improvement over the hell-hole that was Ullapool’s Youth Hostel. I was almost sad leaving with the knowledge that I would be back in a hostel tonight. However, the route out of Aultbea put that thought out of mind very very quickly. I was hit with a 2km steep incline rising out of the village up to some spectacular, but midge-infested view-points. It wasn’t the last incline, and not the worst either, however it was amazing how well my body had reacted to the rest and care. I finally felt the impact of 2 days of cycling. I hope the trend continues tomorrow. I would certainly rate the cycle today as one of the best I have been on in the last 4 months of cycling. At one point it was hard to think that I was anywhere but locked between prehistoric giants; The great Beinn Eighe, on one side and Sgorr Ruadh on the other. However, despite the behemoths on either shoulder, the route was surprisingly flat and I even got to strip down to a t-shirt and shorts on the route into Torridon, courtesy of mother nature’s finest sunshine.

Photographic opportunities on the trip weren’t as forthcoming as I would have liked; something that is becoming worryingly common on this trip. I did manage to sort out all the problems with my polaroid. It seems that even the colour shots only turn out well if sheltered by the light immediately. It is such a shame that I had to miss so many colourful opportunities before figuring it out. I’m not as confident for my charity sale anymore, however there are still lots of days left on this trip and many sites I have never seen on a polaroid before.

Tomorrow I take on a 45mile cycle down to Kykeakin, otherwise known to the world as the Isle of Skype… whoops Skye.

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