Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

An inexplicable top 20?

20th May 2009

For some time now, I have been tracking the photos that have been bringing people to the gallery that you find here, and the results slightly surprise me. For what it’s worth, here’s the current top 20 in order:

1.  Cenotaph, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England

2.  Caha Mountains, Adrigole, Co. Cork, Éire

3.  Valley Gardens, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England

4.  Bridge End Hill & Capper Law from St. Mary’s Loch, Borders, Scotland

5.  Ross Castle, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Éire

6.  The Roaches, Leek, Staffordshire, England

7.  Slieve Mish Mountains from Maherabeg, Castlegregory, Co. Kerry, Éire

8.  River Arkaig, Achnacarry, Lochaber, Scotland

9.  Shutlingsloe and Sutton Common, Cheshire, England

10. Lackabane, Lauragh, Co. Kerry, Éire

11. Kinder Scout, Hayfield, Derbyshire, England

12. River Ness, Inverness, Inverness-shire, Scotland

13. Conwy Castle, Conwy, Conwy, Wales

14. Innisfallen Abbey, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Éire

15. Y Garn, Llanberis, Gwynedd, Wales

16. Meall na Cruaidhe & Glas Bheinn, Kinlochleven, Lochaber, Scotland

17. Shutlingsloe from Tegg’s Nose Country Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire, England

18. Ben Lomond, Rowardennan, Stirling District, Scotland

19. Sgurr a’ Mhàim, Glen Nevis, Lochaber, Scotland

20. Holy Island, Lamlash, Isle of Arran, Scotland

Search engines clearly have their hand in this because the appearance of Harrogate photos at and near the top would make no sense for a site concerning itself with explorations of the countryside as much as it does. It also highlights that while I head for the remoter parts these days, that wasn’t always the case and urban photos appear in the gallery as if to prove it. Strangely, photos taken while I lived in Edinburgh and on return visits to that wonderful spot are conspicuous by their absence, but there may be plenty from which to choose, and not that many visitors go as far into this website in search of them.

Apart from the urban interlopers, the largely rural feel of the list should come as no surprise and may even lead to a more critical appraisal of the images in question. That may end up giving me ideas for visits to places where I have not been for a while, never a bad thing. Éire tellingly punches above its weight here, but Scotland gets a good showing too, as does Cheshire. In no way am I going to let these observations dictate my future plans, yet ideas are always invaluable.

Of course, using modern technology can allow better image processing but it still leaves me thinking that the output from my scanner is not as friendly to the likes of Photoshop Elements as that from digital cameras. Add to that the fact that I am scanning prints and you might discern that I am putting myself at the mercy of the printing process. Scanning negatives might be a way around this but previous efforts were not so successful, but that might have been with an older scanner. This line of thought is causing me to wonder if digital is on the cusp, if it hasn’t already passed it, of finally surpassing film photography. That’s never to say that the latter will not retain its place (niche?) but film is far from being my main photographic medium nowadays and I am even being led to challenge the need to bring a film camera with me on my various and enjoy the weight saving. A decision on that one is something that I’ll postpone for now but it may never go away.

This posting started with a simple list and sent my mind to places that I would not have expected. As if this weren’t enough to get me thinking about how the destinations for my excursions have changed, I have been let to consider trip ideas and even wonder whether my film photography is worth the upkeep. Inspiration can come from anywhere and an inconsequential list will more than do the trick.


  • Melanie Dutton says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blogs on well… everything

    My husband and myself have a second home in Windermere. So as you can
    imagine we have done quite a few a number of time over again and again,
    but nothing quite like you and your crew.


    Melanie Dutton

  • John says:

    Thanks for the compliments, Melanie, and best of luck making the most of that second home.

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