Monthly Archives

April 2016

National Trust UK in Pictures

Sizergh Castle Kendal in Pictures

Sizergh Castle, Kendal, Cumbria, National Trust UK

Sizergh castle is a National Trust maintained property on the edge on the lake district in Cumbria North West UK . It is an enjoyable and largely unpretentious place to visit, set within a lush green and verdant landscape. The castle is still inhabited by the Strickland family who have been in residence for over 750 years.

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One of my favorite things about Sizergh is the spread and drama created by the  Erigeron growing between and into the steps and walls. It lends a sense of mystery and fantasy to the whole place.

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Asia Malaysia

Destruction of rain-forests Borneo and Malaysia

Palm Oil Plantations, The Destruction of Borneo and Malaysia

I had a dream of what to expect before my recent visit to Borneo and Malaysia. I pictured mile after mile of roads through virtually unbroken rain-forest, a land of wildlife, and magic. Looking on the map it all seemed so far away, so full of wonder, remote even. Top of my list was to visit the Sepilok Orangutan sanctuary, looking back now i can only wonder at my naivety, did it not occur to me to question why a sanctuary was needed in the first place? In my mind i imagined a vast area of forest in which one would view wild Orangutans.

We decided that to really make the most of this area of Borneo we must hire a car in Kota Kinabalu and drive to Sandakan, the town nearest to the Sepilok sanctuary. The early part of the drive climbing hill roads as we passed by  Mount Kinabalu started off to be visually very exciting and promising as we drove through  large swathes of virgin rain-forest. Unfortunately that joy  was short lived as soon we drove for hours through scenes of destruction. For as far as the eye could see the Rain-forest was gone and in its place mile after mile of Palm Oil plantations. The pictures below give a pretty clear and depressing image of just how much of the landscape is now taken up by Palm Oil Plantations. This same picture is one repeated in Sarawak and mainland Malaysia. All of this makes a mockery of the visit Malaysia campaigns which aims to promote Malaysia and Borneo as a tropical paradise.  The sad truth, although it would once have been a spectacular tropical paradise that is all gone now to be replaced by Palm Oil plantations. We are all partly to blame due to our blind consumption of products containing Palm Oil. Another of the horrible ironies is the addition of Palm Oil to diesel in a cynical attempt to cut our reliance on fossil fuels and cut global warming. The irony, we rip out the very forests that we need to help maintain the health of our planet. It is estimated that 80% of virgin rain-forest in Borneo is now gone, but the clearance and logging continues. It is our responsibility to try and save the remaining 20% Part of achieving this is simple, check the ingredients in foodstuffs and do not purchase those containing Palm Oil. Write letters to your MP and MEP demanding and end to Palm Oil use in the EU, and finally sign the petitions available via the links at the bottom of this post.

Below a series of shocking pictures showing the true extent of the devastation in #Borneo, taken during my recent trip. This is a side to #Borneo and #Malaysia the authorities would prefer you didn’t see.

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At one time this you would probably not have seen the mountains in the distance as it would have been obscured by dense rain-forest. Now all you see for as far as the eye can see is Palm Plantation
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North America USA

Leaving Utah, USA Road Trip Denver to San Francisco.

Road trip continues, leaving Utah and the Canyonlands across the deserts of Nevada alomg the Extraterrestrial Highway.

Road Trip Nevada Desert by David Keegan (31)

Leaving Cedar City Utah along Freeway 15 we have a long day’s drive ahead. The road trip continues with this leg taking us through proper desert. My kinda fun if a little scary!! Leaving the Freeway just past Cristal onto highway 93, the road sign reads: No Fuel Food or Truck Stops next 150 miles be sure you have full tank of gas, drinking water and that the car is in good order.

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Road Trip Nevada Desert by David Keegan (2)

Road Trip Nevada Desert by David Keegan (3)

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USA

Road Trip USA South Park

South Park

A Mining Town in Denver Colorado.

Having been an avid fan of westerns when I was growing up this place absolutely fascinated me. My head was filled with the sounds to match the objects, and so many of them were as I imagined they should be. What I love about this place is its absolute authenticity. It is not Disney or disneyfied. Rather it’s as if all its inhabitants one day got up and left leaving everything behind just as it was.

I can hear the sounds of the train bell ringing out awakening the town to its presence the stem billowing in a loud puff as its engines rev ready to pull out.

Southpark, Denver Colarado In Pictures (1)

South-Park news

Southpark, Denver Colarado In Pictures (2)

Stags head and phone The Saloon Bar

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Spain

Basque Country Spain

Basque Country Northern Spain in Pictures

The Basque Country (/ˈbæsk/, /ˈbɑːsk/; Basque: Euskadi [eus̺kadi]; Spanish: País Vasco [paˈiz ˈβasko]; French: Pays Basque) is an autonomous community of northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa. The Basque Country or Basque Autonomous Community was granted the status of nationality within Spain, attributed by the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The autonomous community is based on the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country, a foundational legal document providing the framework for the development of the Basque people on Spanish soil, although the territory of Navarre was left out and made into a separate autonomous community. Currently there is no official capital in the autonomous community, but the city that holds the Basque Parliament, the headquarters of the Basque Government and the Basque Autonomous Community’s President’s residency (Ajuria Enea Palace) is Vitoria-Gasteiz, located in the province of Álava. Whilst Vitoria-Gasteiz is the largest municipality in area, with 277 km2 (107 sq mi), Bilbao is the largest in population, with 353,187 people, located in the province of Biscay within a conurbation of 875,552 people.

 

Source Wikipedia

 

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Self portrait Guggenheim Bilbao

 

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Inside the Guggenheim Bilbao

 

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USA

Road trip USA, Denver Colarado to San Francisco, Calafornia

Road trip (Part 1) Denver Colorado 

The Rocky Mountains and the Denver prairie.

I have always loved road trips, but hate traffic and traffic filled roads, so where do you head to find the clear open road? Across the desert in the USA where you find mile after mile of virtually traffic free straight line travel from mountain range to mountain range. This road trip took me from Denver in Colorado, through the Canyon-lands of Utah, and on into the deserts of Nevada across the extra-terrestrial highway, into California through Yosemite National Park, and finally driving down into San Francisco, but not before stopping off to visit Jan’s ranch in Jamestown CA. (friend of a friend).  All in all the trip took 7 days with 2 of those spent visiting a friend in Denver, (thank you Carolyn for your warm hospitality, and yes i left a message in the visitors book 🙂 This first lot of pictures  taken in Denver where i also had the good fortune to visit a town called South-Park, I kid you not, I can now say I have been to South Park, but probably not as you know it.!! All will be revealed in post 2.
In the meantime hope you enjoy the first lot of pictures, and many more to come!!
Colarado Rocky Mountains and Plains (1) Pictures by David Keegan 2015-001
 Snow tipped  Rocky Mountain view
Colarado Rocky Mountains and Plains (15) Pictures by David Keegan 2015-001
Antique and abandoned Hay Tedder

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Spain

The City of Arts and Sciences Valencia, Spain

Picture Diary

The City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia,  Spain.

 Pictures below are from a visit i made to Valencia. Prior to visiting i had never heard of The City of Arts and Science never mind its architectural magnificence. Built on a dry riverbed it truly displays an aura of other-worldliness. it is as if one had entered the stage set of a sci-fi movie or indeed stepped into some future place and time. The intense and crystal clear Mediterranean sky adds to the drama and effects as the sun sparkles shines and reflects in the water and on various facets of the buildings. What is truly wonderful is the the changing perspective as one walks around the various building some of which come to reflect different sea creatures from shark to dolphin to to insect. This is one of the most inspiring examples of  contemporary in and urban context that i have thus far witnessed. Not to be missed if you happen to be in Valencia. My only reservation i did not visit the Oceanographic Park as i do not agree with Dolphins being used for human entertainment. Still the overall feeling of the area in general,  is this place simply takes your breath away.