Tag Archives: Life

KarPaiTwenMo 4 : Art Marathon

KarPaiTwenMo 4 by Karen Gadient, 2016

Once again, while the writing world wrestles with NaNoWriMo, I’m going to spend November creating twenty different pieces of artwork for your enjoyment.

I’ve ‘won’ NaNoWriMo twice, but as my life changed, my goals changed too. My writing became a personal exploration of my inner landscape and less of a word count situation. So, instead, I now spend November with art.

I call it KarPaiTwenMo (Karen Paints Twenty in a Month). Five per week.

See my original post here, which shows how this started.

Back then, I did mainly digital art… now, I primarily use traditional media, so the canvas might be different, but the idea is similar―make a lot of artwork of some kind or another. Now that I’ve done this for a few years, I also post with more regularity, so you won’t have to wait long for new stuff.

I usually blog two or three times a week these days, but expect to see posts from me five times a week in November.

Also, despite keeping the marathon name and hashtag I created back in 2013―it’ll be more than twenty; I won’t be counting FingerPaintingFriday and I’ll still be doing those.

Best of luck to all of you participating in NaNoWriMo―and a successful November to everyone, no matter what your plans and goals are. Have fun and keep the coffee/tea pot brewing!

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Filed under Art, Blogging, Coffee, Color, Creativity, KarPaiTwenMo, Life, NaNoWriMo, Painting, Prompts, Writing

Westray, Orkney: Noup Head

Noup Head Lighthouse by Karen Gadient, 2016

Noup Head is a dramatic and simply-beyond-stunning coastal area to hike, explore, and birdwatch. It’s worth the extra ferry to Westray from Kirkwall if you ever happen to be in Orkney.

According to the Northern Lighthouse Board, the name noup is derived from gnupr, meaning ‘headland locality’.

Noup Head Birds by David Gadient, 2016

Noup Cliffs is the nesting home to thousands of birds: gannets, guillemots, kittiwakes, puffins, and other seabirds. It can be a bit of a challenge to snap photos of the birds unless you have the right camera gear―especially if you happen to be fearful of heights (I admit, I was nervous at the edge).

Noup Head Lighthouse by David Gadient, 2016

Noup Head Lighthouse is impressively seated above the sea cliffs. It’s automated now―solar, as you can see by the panels―but is well over a century old.

Noup Head by Karen Gadient, 2016

June was a lovely time to visit the area; the birds were in great numbers and the cliff tops were decked out in wildflowers.

Noup Head by David Gadient, 2016

It’s truly one my favorite views now that I’ve seen it for myself, and a place I hope to return to again soon.

Well, that’s it for the photos from our Scotland trip. For this trip to Scotland, at least―we’re already planning a trip back, although it won’t be right away. Next time, we’ll tackle the western coast on our travel northward.

Hope you’ve enjoyed our photos (most were taken by my husband David) and my ramblings! If you missed any part… here are links to previous related posts:

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay
On a Ferry to Orkney
Orkney Wanderings
St Magnus Cathedral
Skara Brae
Standing Stones in Orkney
Westray, Orkney: Part 1
Westray, Orkney: Noltland Castle
Westray, Orkney: Lady Kirk, Pierowall

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Filed under Holiday, Journal, Landscape, Life, Nature, Ocean, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Sea, Seascape, Travel, Vacation

Westray, Orkney: Lady Kirk, Pierowall

Lady Kirk 1 by David Gadient, 2016

Pierowall’s Lady Kirk is the shoreside ruin of a 17th century church built on the foundations of a 13th century church.

An impressive aerial view and other details can be seen here:
Westray, Pierowall, Lady Kirk: ScotlandsPlaces

In the far back of some of these photos, you may see a clear case protecting something from the elements; within it are several gravestones dating back to 1657. Sadly, we don’t have a good shot of those to share, but there are photos of them―pre-case―at the ScotlandsPlaces site too.

Lady Kirk 4 by David Gadient, 2016

Lady Kirk 2 by David Gadient, 2016

Lady Kirk 5 by David Gadient, 2016

Lady Kirk 3 by David Gadient, 2016

Lady Kirk is a beautiful place, resting near the green grass and blue sea.

Lady Kirk 6 by David Gadient, 2016

Another pair of David’s photos (he’s the one who’s taken most of the photos for these Scotland posts). I particularly like the through-the-window one.

One more set of photos from Westray soon!

Links to previous related posts:

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay
On a Ferry to Orkney
Orkney Wanderings
St Magnus Cathedral
Skara Brae
Standing Stones in Orkney
Westray, Orkney: Part 1
Westray, Orkney: Noltland Castle

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Filed under History, Holiday, Journal, Landscape, Life, Orkney, Photography, Religion, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

Westray, Orkney: Noltland Castle

Noltland Castle Approach by David Gadient, 2016

While in Westray, David took some photos during our visit to Noltland Castle, the castle built by Gilbert Balfour back in the 16th century. On approach, it seems like an possibly-welcoming Scottish tower house… but then you discover it’s speckled with dozens of gun-holes, has a massively thick wall, and is pretty much a fortress. Now in ruins, it’s welcoming enough and open to all guests.

For the intriguing tale behind Noltland Castle, click here. We were lucky to get the background told to us by Graham of Westraak as we explored the property.

Noltland Castle Exterior by David Gadient, 2016

Quite a few gun-holes, aye. Every approach to the castle is covered. 71 gun-holes, supposedly―more than any other Scottish castle.

Noltland Castle Walls by David Gadient, 2016

The upper level is a hall that remains unfinished. The stonework is fascinating and the color of the stone is quite lovely with bits of yellow and green.

Noltland Castle Interior by David Gadient, 2016

Noltland Castle Interior View by David Gadient, 2016

There are bars to keep you from falling as you wander the castle.

Noltland Castle Newl by David Gadient, 2016

The newel post that greets you at the top of the staircase.

Noltland Castle Courtyard by David Gadient, 2016

The courtyard is a relaxing place, especially on a clear day.

I’ll share more photos from Westray soon!

Links to previous related posts:

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay
On a Ferry to Orkney
Orkney Wanderings
St Magnus Cathedral
Skara Brae
Standing Stones in Orkney
Westray, Orkney: Part 1

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Filed under History, Holiday, Journal, Life, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

Westray, Orkney: Part 1

Westray Coast by David Gadient, 2016

We took the ferry to Westray a few days into our time in Orkney. With Graham of Westraak as our local guide, we had an amazing tour of most of the island.

I’ll be making a few separate posts about different areas of Westray, but these are the some miscellaneous ones that David took that I still wanted to share.

Westray Birds by David Gadient, 2016

While at the Aikerness Craigs, David caught quite a few shots of birds. This one is my favorite; they look very cozy on the rocks.

Aikerness by David Gadient, 2016

The Aikerness Craigs. Gorgeous and rocky coastal area. While here, Graham told us the story of Archie Angel, the lone survivor―an infant―of a shipwreck back in the 18th century. The wrecked ship had the word Archangel on it and that’s how the boy got his name. He grew up on Westray and the surname of Angel was found there until the early 20th century.

Westray Airport by David Gadient, 2016

The Westray Airport is home to the shortest scheduled passenger flight in the world, which takes you to Papa Westray (Papay) and is about a two minute flight―or shorter. While we didn’t take the flight, Graham drove David and I over to watch the plane leave and return. We’re usually not fans of tiny planes, but we’ll likely give it a try on our next trip there. Graham also showed us where we could take a boat if we decide just can’t stomach the plane.🙂

Westray Homes by David Gadient, 2016

A photo of a traditional style of house you might see in Westray.

Westray Sheep by David Gadient, 2016

And a shot of some grazing sheep. Baa.

Westray Grobust Beach by David Gadient, 2016

Grobust Beach. Just a lovely place. While there, we also got a bit of an off-season (read: mostly covered) glimpse of the archaeological dig of the Links of Noltland.

Westray Cruise by David Gadient, 2016

On the ferry back, we got to see a massive cruise liner go by. Pretty sure it was a Disney one. While in Kirkwall, we’d seen a liner in port, but I’m not sure whether it was the same one or a different one.

I’ll share many more photos from Westray soon!

Links to previous related posts:

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay
On a Ferry to Orkney
Orkney Wanderings
St Magnus Cathedral
Skara Brae
Standing Stones in Orkney

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Filed under Family, Holiday, Journal, Landscape, Life, Nature, Ocean, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Sea, Travel, Vacation

Orkney Wanderings

Orkney Roads by David Gadient, 2016

After looking over the photos from our time in Orkney, I realized that some things had enough photos to be a post of their own. This post is for a few of the miscellaneous ones. I’m no travel blogger, but I figured it was good place to start.

The top photo is the causeway between Burray and Glims Holm. This causeway is one of the Churchhill Barriers. Check out some panoramas on 360Cities.

As we stayed in St Margaret’s Hope, we did a lot of driving over the causeways to get around (and get groceries, since we were self-catering). Driving over the causeways was a lot of fun―as long as a tour bus wasn’t coming the other way.

We got to see so many boats, from cruise ships and ferries to fishing boats and half-sunken blockships… and even a tall ship!

Ships by David Gadient, 2016

This photo was one I took with my phone, since I loved the look of it:

StMarg_Pier by Karen Gadient, 2016

Our self-catering (for those not familiar with term: a rental home where you can cook for yourself, which worked perfectly for us) flat was more of a house, and was a part of The Creel. The Creel is run by a lovely man named David who went out of his way for us the moment we arrived, even giving us some veggies to cook when we arrived too late to get to a grocery. His sons, who arrived while we were there, were friendly and as brilliant as their father when it came to conversation. While we didn’t join them for breakfast, we stopped down―The Creel has a sitting area next to the restaurant―for drinks and chit-chat with David and sons, plus some of the B&B guests.

Our self-catering home:

Creel by David Gadient, 2016

…which came with a ‘bonus cat’, whose name was Manky, despite no longer being as manky as he’d been when they found him. Manky was sweet and kept us from missing our own kitties too much―two weeks catless is a long time!

Manky by David Gadient, 2016

We did a lot of walking in Kirkwall, but were caught in the moment instead of snapping photos. We have lots of photos of specific sites around Orkney, and I’ll give some of them their own posts. While in Kirkwall, we mostly just enjoyed being there. The streets are great for exploring, and we usually left our car in one spot while taking long walks, even when we fetched groceries.

Kirkwall by David Gadient, 2016

Many people go to Scotland to visit numerous distilleries. While in Scotland, we’d planned to visit one distillery only―and that one was in Orkney: Scapa. Much like our beer obsession with Innis & Gunn, we have a whisky loyalty with Scapa. Hence, we didn’t visit the other distillery in Orkney (which was crawling with tourists anyway). Alas, no photos are allowed on the tasting tour, other than outside of the distillery.

Scapa by David Gadient, 2016

Scapa2 by David Gadient, 2016

The building holding the casks was truly the angel’s share of heaven scent-wise. We got to go in, but couldn’t take a photo. It was a wee bit like this.

Casks Inside by David Gadient, 2016

The view from the Scapa distillery is relaxing too, whether you have a glass of whisky in your hand while there or not.

Scapa View by David Gadient, 2016

St Margaret’s Hope (and Orkney, in general) at night is a thing of beauty, especially in summertime, when the sun never really sets. I snapped these photos just after midnight. Hours and hours of sunset―just wonderful stuff.

Self Cater at Night by Karen Gadient, 2016

StMarg Midnight by Karen Gadient, 2016

Much more from our Orkney trip as soon as I can organize it!

Links to previous related posts:

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay
On a Ferry to Orkney

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Filed under Family, Holiday, Journal, Landscape, Life, Ocean, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Sea, Seascape, Skyscape, Travel, Vacation

On a Ferry to Orkney

Ferry View by David Gadient, 2016

From Gills Bay, we took the ferry to Orkney, and while a ferry ride isn’t that exciting unless you’re on it (and perhaps even then, depending on how you like ferries―I love boats of all kinds, so I had a great time), I wanted to share some of David’s photos from our ferry crossing. I hope you enjoy!

Ferry by David Gadient, 2016

We brought along our hired car. The cars were parked in a loop on their own deck while passengers hung out on the upper deck or had tea and treats on the lower deck. We spent our time mostly on the upper deck, although it was chilly and windy. We didn’t mind, since it was a clear and dry day with a lovely view.

Karen-on-a-Ferry David Gadient, 2016

I’ve been on ferries before, but Orkney offers different scenery than the Staten Island Ferry or Cape May–Lewes. While David didn’t catch a photo, there was even a whale sighting―everyone near me got all excited for a moment, but it was brief. Still, it’s not like we have whales to watch in Arizona! Mostly, gulls followed the ferry; some of them flew close to the upper deck.

Gull by David Gadient, 2016

Orkney has quite a number of lighthouses. I believe the lighthouse in the next photo is Cantick Head Lighthouse. We only saw that one from afar, as we didn’t get to the island of Hoy on this trip.

Lighthouse by David Gadient, 2016

Orkney also has many wind turbines. As you’re wandering the Orkney Isles, they stand in the landscape like waving giants.

Turbine by David Gadient, 2016

We planned to stay several nights at a self-catering flat in St. Margaret’s Hope. Since I’d seen pictures, I could spot the building we’d be staying in as we approached the pier. On the right, you’ll see a yellowish building (The Creel. We stayed in the brick building right next to that (which is also part of The Creel―wonderful stay, more on that in another post).

St. Margaret's Hope by David Gadient, 2016

As the ferry moved to dock, David got a cool shot of the end of the pier.

Pier by David Gadient, 2016

I promise more photos and rambling from me when I have time to go through photos and update. We spent five days―not nearly enough, more than worth a trip back―in Orkney, and I’m lucky that David takes so many photos when I’m mostly the sort to travel with my senses and forget the camera. If you have compliments for any of the photos in this post, previous related posts (below), or ones to follow, I’ll be happy to pass them along to David!

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay

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Filed under Family, Holiday, Journal, Landscape, Life, Nature, Ocean, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Sea, Seascape, Travel, Vacation