Another busy weekend with the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Scotland surfing event and
the league decider at Wick between Academy and Cove Rangers. The Sunday Post and
the Press & Journal both printed my photos of the Cove Rangers celebrations after
they beat Wick 1-0 to win the Highland league for the second year in a row.
Click here to view the photos
The waves on the Saturday at Thurso and on the Sunday at Brims Ness were great for
the surfers and for the vast number of photographers! Mind you the Brims Ness waves
were very rough and all credit to the surfers for getting on with it without a grumble.
Only the best in the world would tackle those waves. The final was won on Tuesday
evening by Australian Adam Melling, last year’s runner-up. He beat fellow Australian
Luke Munro. Click here to view the photos.
21 April 2009
Saturday 18th April was busy with 4 photo-calls, all football related. At 8.30qm
Halkirk Junior FC set off to Dingwall for a training session with Ross County youth
coaches and to watch the match vs Dunfermline. The kids lined up behind a JGC Engineering
& Technical Services banner as the local firm sponsored the cost of the bus. At
3pm Wick Academy kicked off versus Lossiemouth and I just had time to take a photo
of Wick’s mascot with the team captains and the referee. At half time East End Boys
Club presented their indoor sports awards and the Northern Sands Hotel handed over
a set of smart training tops to Wick Academy. After the match I had another request
and this was to photograph the referee John Bicknell being presented with a gift
on his retirement after 15 years as a ref in the Highland League.
Wick ground out a 2-1 win despite a poor performance and their magnificent unbeaten
run continues with 9 wins in-a-row. To see the photos click here.
15 April 2009
A very busy Easter for me. I took photos at all five shows of the Northern Nashville
Caithness Country Music Festival, which was held in the indoor riding school at Halkirk
over 3 days. I have never taken photos at an indoor concert before and it was a
steep learning curve. A combination of ever changing lighting, hats producing dark
shadows over faces and microphones in the way, meant it was not easy getting a good
clean pic. To view the photos click here.
The weekend was a great success with sell out crowds on Saturday and Sunday night
(around 900 each night). The event was one of the best organised I have ever come
across and credit must be given to the organising committee led by Christine Gray,
plus a vast number of volunteers who helped transform the building into a great concert
venue, manned the very busy bar and acted as very efficient stewards.
The BBC Alba cameras were filming all five shows and are producing three programmes
for showing in the autumn. The sound and lighting were done by professionals from
the South and the fantastic range of lights provided some good dramatic pics. Information
about the weekend can be viewed on the organiser’s website www.nncmc.co.uk. They
are already organising next year’s event!
I also managed to take some photos of the second half of the Caithness RFC vs Linlithgow
rugby match on Saturday afternoon. Linlithgow won fairly comfortably 36-10 and clinched
promotion to the National Division 1. The rugby season is now finished. To view the
action pics click here.
8 April 2009
I managed to plough my way through the vast number of karting photos and they are
now posted, click here to view. I have only posted one or two pics of each driver
that I caught on camera and if you are interested in seeing a few more of any driver,
just contact me.
I was away over the past weekend and travelled to Ingliston equestrian centre near
Bishopton, Renfrewshire. Pulling the horse trailer, it took over 8 hours to get
there, including being stuck in motorway traffic jams in the middle of Glasgow. My
daughter Jillian was showing two of her ponies at the National Pony Society’s Scottish
Spring Show. Thankfully most of the classes were inside, as it rained all day. A
clutch of rosettes from 1st to 6th place were won, plus some prize money.
The multi million pound equestrian centre is still in the process of being built.
It has over 150 permanent stables, two indoor arenas, two outdoor arenas, 12 chalets,
two bars, two restaurants, a shop, meeting rooms and a function suite. Walking into
the main entrance is like entering a five star hotel - it must be one of the best
facilities in the UK (see www.ingliston.com). The restaurant is a hit with the locals
and to get a table at the weekend, an advance booking is needed. There is a cracking
horse sculpture entitled “Big Shooie” at the entrance, which is made by a local artist
out of horse shoes.
On the way home we stayed at Croftamie near Drymen and I took the opportunity to
visit Buchanan Castle on the outskirts of Drymen. It was a hospital during the second
World War and Rudolph Hess was held there when captured in 1941. The castle is now
a ruin and is surrounded by trees, a fence and some new housing.
Because I was away for the weekend, Colin Gregory kindly stepped in to take the sports
action photos for the following 4 events;
Caithness RFC vs Kilmarnock (0-26)
Thurso FC vs Muir of Ord (9-1)
Halkirk vs Golspie (3-0)
1st round of the Caithness Motox league
Colin got absolutely soaked on the Saturday, but kept going to try and catch all
of the action. It is very difficult to get good clear action photos on a grey, wet
The results of the March round of the SWPP monthly competition are published and
I’m pleased to say that I won a silver award in the landscape category for a B&W
photo of a ruined croft at Scotscalder. I took the photo during the recent snow
spell and had to walk about half a mile through a marshy field containing two foot
high snowdrifts to get the shot.
A busy and interesting week this week. On Wed 25th March I went to the evening derby
match between Wick Academy and Brora Rangers. A combination of poor lighting and
constant drizzle made it very difficult to get sharp images. I left at half time
with Wick in the lead by a single goal. Wick scored in the last minute to win 2-1.
To see the photos click here.
My son is mad keen on wrestling and I got dragged along to the All Star Wrestling
in the Wick Assembly rooms on Thursday 26th March. I took my camera along and borrowed
a fast F2.8 lens for the night (thanks Duncan) as I didn’t think the wrestlers would
appreciate close up flash photography. I got permission to wander around the ring
to take any images I wanted, with the proviso that I send a few to the organiser’s
website (www.bigtimewrestlinguk.com) and the local press. It turned out to be the
best event of the past year. The entertainment was first class and the crowd of
around 300 were the noisiest and most animated I have ever seen! The kids absolutely
loved it and the mums were swooning over Sky TV’s Gladiator Goliath six pack. He
looked as though he was chiselled out of granite.
In bout 1, USA’s Devon Moore beat Scotland’s Lee Thomas. In bout 2, Robbie Dynamite
beat Chad “Cry Baby” Collier. In bout 3, Gladiator Goliath beat Mikey Whiplash.
In bout 4, The Metal Master from Mexico beat Scotland’s BT Gunn. In the tag team
contest, Scotland’s Lee Thomas and Drew “Highlander” MacDonald beat the USA’s Nasty
Boys, Devon Moore and Sammy Callaghan. To see all the photos click here.
On Saturday night I attended the Halkirk Small-Bore Rifle Club’s annual dinner and
prize giving event. I’m a past member and now an Honorary Vice President of the
club, in recognition of the many years as club Secretary in the 1980s and 90s. The
club had its most successful year in its history and the amount of trophies on display
was staggering. The highlights were;
· winning the Bain Shield as Caithness indoor league champions for the first time
· winning Division Two and the Junior title in the Caithness indoor league championship
· Creating a new Scottish record for a team of four, with a score of 798/800 (6x100s
and two 99s). It is also a British record, but cannot be officially recognised as
it wasn’t shot in a NSRA organised event. It was shot in a round of the Banffshire
Association’s Evening Express cup.
· Runners up in the News of the World British team of six championship. Losing out
to Budleigh Farm from Devon.
· Semi-finalists in the Daily Record Scottish team of six championship. Losing out
by a single point to Bon Accord from Aberdeen. Bon Accord are one of the top teams
in the UK, having won numerous Scottish and British titles.
To see the photos click here.
I travelled to Golspie on Sunday 29th March to see round one of the Scottish Karting
Championship. It was my first time at a karting event and the speed of the machines
took me by surprise. There were drivers from all over Scotland and many arrived
with huge trucks which had living quarters built in, just like the F1 racing teams.
It was a dull grey afternoon with a few spots of rain, so not great for photos. I
tried experimenting with different shutter speeds and apertures and also tried some
panning shots to see if I could show the speed. Using continuous shooting mode, I
soon rattled off over 1,100 photos! All the excitement took place in the seniors
final with a controversial crash on the last lap. I will post the pics from this
event later this week.
If you were racing at Golspie, e-mail me your racing number, stating if you are a
either a junior or senior driver. I will post the pics on my website and/or send
you a few back by e-mail.
24 March 2009
I got a surprise when I opened the April edition of the PhotoPlus magazine (canon
edition), my photo of George & Wendy Sutherland’s (my near neighbours in Harpsdale)
highland cow was featured in the reader’s photos section. They didn’t warn me that
it was going to be published. This is the second time my photos have appeared in
a national publication. Last December the Scottish Rugby Union used one of my Caithness
RFC photos on the front cover of their Team Talk newsletter which is sent to all
the clubs in Scotland. They published another photo of mine on page 3 and they had
an article about Caithness player Grant Anderson, who recently featured in a TV rugby
advert. The editor said she was keen to promote local club rugby and my photos were
just what they were after.
I caught the striking sunset colours on Friday 20th March with some long exposure
shots from my garden and the end of the road. I think the bright star is Venus.
On the 20th March an annual visitor appeared on my neighbour’s pond and I managed
to capture some images. It is a striking male mandarin duck, a native of the far
East. They are frequently featured in Oriental art and are regarded as a symbol of
conjugal affection and fidelity. The Mandarin Duck symbol is also used in Chinese
weddings, because in traditional Chinese lore they symbolize wedded bliss and fidelity.
The drake has fantastic colouring and two unusual orange “sails” on his back. He
is causing havoc with the local mallard ducks!
I was at the Wick vs Inverurie Locos cup game on 21st March and it was bright, sunny
and windy afternoon, the comlete opposite to last Saturday. Wick were well on top
in the first half with the wind behind their backs and took a comfortable 2-0 lead
into the dressing room. However, they fell apart in the second half and lost two
goals in the last 5 minutes to lose 4-2. The Locos goalkeeper scored a goal with
a freekick that was well inside his own half and it was up the Harmsworth slope to
boot! Wick were short of a goalkeeper and signed Orkney’s Paul Bain on the morning
of the game.
15 March 2009
After nearly a year in business, I have been surprised by the large number of visitors
to my website and I have decided to include a news page - to keep visitors updated
with the events I have attended and any other photo and sports related news. So
In January, I became a member of the Society of International Sports & Leisure Photographers
(SISLP) which is associated to the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers
(SWPP) amongst others.
The SWPP stage a prestigious photo competition with a big awards ceremony held in
London every January (www.swpp.co.uk). Local photographers, Martina Cross, John
Baikie and Angus MacKay won major awards at this event in January 2009 and this says
a lot for the high standard of photography in Caithness.
To qualify for the awards final, there are monthly competitions where images can
attain gold (outstanding), silver (good) or bronze (acceptable) status. Images which
score more than 80 out of 100 are given gold status and are put forward for the final.
Thousands of entries are received from all over the UK and the world and gold awards
are not given out lightly.
For January I was awarded three silvers and in February I gained another two, but
was delighted to receive my first gold, not for a sports image, but with a photo
of Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, in the architectural exterior category. The new
extension to Eden Court is very modern and futuristic looking (especially round the
back) and it caught my eye during a shopping trip to Inverness in February. I just
happened to have my camera handy!
SWPP Gold award in Architectural Exterior category - Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
SWPP Silver award in Sport General category - O’Neill Highland Open at Brims Ness
SWPP Silver award in Sport ball games category - Caithness RFC vs Glasgow Accies
SWPP Silver award in wildlife category - Sea Eagle Royal Highland Show 2008
SWPP Silver award in digital art category - Cyclist at Caithness Cycling Festival
SWPP Silver award in sport ball games category - Caithness RFC vs Newton Stewart
Caithness RFC played hosts to National League Division Two leaders Whitecraigs on
Saturday 14 March. The visitors ran out worthy winners by 33 points to 0 and in
doing so, claimed the league title. It rained for the whole game and even though
I had a lens hood, I was constantly wiping rain from the lens (and my glasses!).
The match wasn’t for the feint hearted, with a few punch ups and many players carried
off injured - including Scottish U19 international Kris Hamilton.
I had a special photoshoot with the forwards an hour before kick off (also in the
rain). I wanted a “head on “ shot of the scrum and the five forwards were happy
to oblige. However, it was so cold and wet that they were not keen to take off their
jackets or hats. Maybe next time? Click here to see all the photos of the match.