MistyNites

My Life in Motion

Archive for the month “March, 2015”

Scottish Castles

There are two things I miss about Scotland: snow and history. Don’t get me wrong, New Zealand clearly has history (and snow for that matter), but with its discovery by Europeans occurring only in the 17th century, and the discovery by any settler suspected to be in the 14th century, its historical background and development are a mere blip in comparison to the 12,000 years of known settlements in Scotland. Getting away from the region known as the Central Belt (the urban region that spans Glasgow to the west and Edinburgh to the east), it isn’t hard to find buildings or remains that easily out-date the point in time when New Zealand was discovered.

Scotland has over 2,000 castles in varying states of repair – some well maintained and open to the public, others a mere crumbling shell left to ruin. Edinburgh Castle is the most well known to foreigners, but for me it is far from my favourite. Living for several years in Aberdeen in the north east, I was within an easy drive of several castles, and over the years of my life and over multiple holidays, I’ve visited and explored many of them in varying parts of the country. Unfortunately I don’t have photos of several of them, having visited them as a child, but below is a mere selection of the castles out there waiting to be explored.

Inverness Castle.

Inverness Castle

Urquhart Castle.

Urqhart Castle, Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle

Castle Fraser.

 

Duart Castle.

Duart Castle, Isle of Mull

Duart Castle, Isle of Mull

Duart Castle, Isle of Mull

Duart Castle, Isle of Mull

Torosay Castle.

Torosay Castle, Isle of Mull

Torosay Castle, Isle of Mull

 

Glengorm Castle.

Glengorm Castle, Isle of Mull

Aros Castle.

Aros Castle, Isle of Mull

Invermark Castle.

Invermark Castle, Grampian

Dunnottar Castle.

Dunnottar Castle, Grampian

Dunnottar Castle, Grampian

Crathes Castle.

Crathes Castle, Grampian

Crathes Castle, Grampian

Crathes Castle, Grampian

St Andrews Castle.

St Andrews Castle

Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Castle

Eilean Donan Castle.

Inveraray Castle.

Inveraray Castle

Slains Castle.

Slains Castle, Grampian

Slains Castle

Dunrobin Castle.

Loch An Eilein Castle.

Castle on the island, Loch An Eilein

Noltland Castle.

Noltland Castle, Westray

Earl’s Palace.

Earl's Palace, Birsay

Ardvreck Castle.

Culzean Castle.

 

Newark Castle.

Artistic License

My favourite thing to have come out of the Christchurch Rebuild is the ever growing amount of colourful and quirky street art. Adorning the sides of buildings as well as hidden amongst the rubble and desertion, some world-renowned artists have left their mark amongst the city. Unfortunately many of them are on buildings earmarked for eventual demolition, and some will eventually become hidden once new buildings are erected next door, but I hope that as many as possible will remain in the city’s new blueprint. Currently running at the YMCA is the Spectrum Street Art Festival which celebrates this art form and is a showcase for some of these same artist’s work. A map can be obtained from the YMCA and an app is available to download which marks the locations of the current outdoor displays dotted around the CBD. I have become a particular fan of the work of Jacob ‘Yikes’ Ryan who is based in Christchurch and BMD who are based between Australia and New Zealand. Most of the outdoor exhibits are large and hard to miss, but in my wanderings I’ve spotted a few smaller hidden gems.

Giraffing Around, Tess Sheerin, 10 Liverpool St (now gone)

Giraffing Around, Tess Sheerin, 10 Liverpool St (now gone)

Mr 4 Square, Artist Unknown, between Hereford St and Worcester St (now gone)

Mr 4 Square, Artist Unknown, between Hereford St and Worcester St (now gone)

Steeple People, Kay Rosen, Worcester St

Steeple People, Kay Rosen, Worcester St

No!, Tony Fomison, High Street and Manchester St

No!, Tony Fomison, High Street and Manchester St

H.M. The Queen, William Nicholson, Christchurch Casino

H.M. The Queen, William Nicholson, Christchurch Casino

Mexican, Jacob Yikes, Manchester St

Jacob Yikes, Manchester St

Hope, Paulie, YMCA Hereford St

Hope, Paulie, YMCA Hereford St

Face, Drapl, Hereford St YMCA

Drapl, Hereford St YMCA

Love Mural, Artist Unknown, Byron St

Love Mural, Artist Unknown, Byron St

Paris, Askew, Colombo St

Paris, Askew, Colombo St

Jacob Yikes, High St

Jacob Yikes, High St

Wongi and Ikarus, High St

Wongi and Ikarus, High St

Wongi and Ikarus, High St

Wongi and Ikarus, High St

Wongi and Ikarus, High St

Wongi and Ikarus, High St

Buff Monster, Durham St

Buff Monster, Durham St

Tilt, Peterborough St

Tilt, Peterborough St

Daek William, Peterborough St

Daek William, Peterborough St

Adnate, Kilmore St

Adnate, Kilmore St

Askew, Gloucester St

Askew, Gloucester St

Jacob Yikes, Hereford St

Jacob Yikes, Hereford St

Jacob Yikes, Tuam St

Jacob Yikes, Tuam St

Jacob Yikes, Tuam St

Jacob Yikes, Tuam St

Jacob Yikes, Tuam St

Jacob Yikes, Tuam St

Jacob Yikes

Jacob Yikes

Elephants, Owen Dippie, Manchester St

Elephants, Owen Dippie, Manchester St

Wongi Wilson, Manchester St

Wongi Wilson, Manchester St

Artist Unknown, Welles St

Artist Unknown, Welles St

Welcome to Christchurch, Dcypher, Welles St

Welcome to Christchurch, Dcypher, Welles St

Artist Unknown, Southwark St

Artist Unknown, Southwark St

Sef, Southwark St

Sef, Southwark St

Jacob Yikes, between Cashel St and Lichfield St

Jacob Yikes, between Cashel St and Lichfield St

Gary Silipa, Lichfield St

Gary Silipa, Lichfield St

The Black Hat, George Henry, Cashel St (now gone)

The Black Hat, George Henry, Cashel St (now gone)

We Got the Sunshine, Fluro and Oche, Madras St

We Got the Sunshine, Fluro and Oche, Madras St

Save the Penguins, BMD, Worcester St

Save the Penguins, BMD, Worcester St

Rapaki Track

It had been a while since I’d headed up this highly popular track within easy reach of Christchurch’s city centre. Starting from the end of Rapaki Road, off Centaurus Road, the first challenge is finding a place to park. With no car park at the bottom, it is street parking only, and at busy times, the entire length of Rapaki Road can be crammed with cars. Part of the reason I hadn’t been in a while, despite living less than a 10 minute drive away, is that it is a very exposed track that winds its way up the Port Hills to Summit Road, and on hot summer days where temperatures can get above 30oC, it would be foolish to go up at any other time than early morning or into the evening. Even setting off before 10am on this autumn day which eventually reached 31oC was pushing it quite a bit.

 

The Rapaki Track is a track of thirds: the initial steady climb up the side of one hill, the flattish section along the false ridge line, and the final push up the steepest section of the track towards Summit Road. Taking roughly 1.5hrs return, it is a nice short walk to do whilst still requiring a bit of effort. Don’t let the shortness of the walk fool you though. The footpath is well marked but quite stony so a proper pair of shoes are recommended, not jandals (flip-flops/thongs depending on which part of the world you hail from).

After a brief walk through the shade of some trees, a bike grid denotes the entry onto grazing land. The path snakes steadily up on the side of the hill, which depending on the time of year, can range in colour from a brilliant green to a starchy yellow. On this most recent of walks, it was dry and yellow as Canterbury is currently in a drought. Whilst cattle are across a fence if they are there, sheep can wander more freely and have been known to be on the path side of the fence. The track is shared with bikers too, so it is best to stick to the left at bends to prevent being caught off guard by a bike whizzing down the hillside. Dogs are allowed on this track, but due to the proximity to grazing animals, are allowed only on a lead (although it is exceedingly common to see this flaunted!).

 

The steepest section is the final section, and depending on recent weather, can occasionally be slippery in places, but the reward at the top, after crossing another bike grid, is the view over the far side of the Port Hills into Lyttelton Harbour with Quail Island directly below and the Banks Peninsula’s highest point, Mt Herbert, directly behind. The view can look quite different dependent on the tide as the innermost aspect of the harbour forms a tidal mud flat at low tide. I will never get sick of the sight of Lyttelton Harbour no matter which part of the Port Hills I go up.

 

Returning the same way, the view on the steep section is of the blue expanse of Pegasus Bay and the glistening of the Pacific Ocean. This view persists till the flat section where it disappears behind the hill, and from then onwards, Christchurch’s city centre pokes upwards, as the houses get nearer and nearer. It may not be the most distinctive of skylines, but it is still a nice vista to look at on the way back. This is certainly a recommended inclusion to any visit to the Garden City.

A Sandy Shore

“Sandcastle”

From the beach its sandy walls rise,
Its turrets reach up to touch the skies.
A tiny moat dissolves the keep.
Its pavers are strong, though only two inches deep.
Tiny footprints embedded in the sand,
Where once a child there did stand.
Its grace and beauty a short time will last,
Before the sea washes it into the past.

Author Unknown

The 4th Annual New Zealand Sandcastle Competition took place this year on 7th February 2015. It was held on the beach at New Brighton, one of the eastern suburbs of Christchurch.

Sandcastle

Dragon Capsizing Boat

Bottlenose Dolphins

Dolphins

Face

Octopus

Campsite

Robot

Octopus vs Shark

Giant Feet on the Beach

Marae (Maori Meeting House)

Starfish

Hatchling

Pacman

Dragon

Dragon within a dragonSandcastle

Sandcastle

Sandcastle

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: