WHAT IT IS
Here's what's here:
The North Atlantic Arc
Photographs and journals from my annual visit to Scotland, with forays into England, and side trips to Wales, Ireland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, and France, with the occasional layover in Amsterdam. Archeology is a primary focus. Standing stones, brochs, castles, abbeys, etc. Also distilleries, pubs, the odd concert, and loads of scenery.
Travel to places outside the North Atlantic Arc, notably the Pacific Northwest and various Canadian destinations.
Home for various in-depth photo essays, when there are too many photos of a subject (or on a theme) to fit in the journal pages.
All material © Bruce D Allen, aka Mr Tattie Heid.
Suggestions, comments, and questions are always welcome. Email: MrTattieHeid@aol.com
Thanks for visiting!
MR TATTIE HEID
10 September 2017--The first ten days of my 2016 trip, encompassing my visit to the Faroe Islands, has been posted. In the meantime, the planning for this year's trip is pretty much complete. I will spend two weeks in Iceland with Marc, two more in Scotland with Ron, and a few days in England with Win. I might have a moment or two to myself.
6 July 2017--Due to overwhelming demand--Ron asked me twice--there is now a Search function for the website. I put it on a separate page because the code Ron provided me with seems to load very slowly, and I'm too lazy to go looking for a better one. Anyway, it's now possible to look up all appearances of any destinations you might be interested in, or those of infamous characters like Willie and Kenny, or the number of times I've used the word "alas".
Speaking of lazy, I'm afraid I can't report any great progress on the unfinished 2015 and 2016 pages. I'm trying.
26 October 2015--I'm home from this year's trip to Denmark, Sweden, Scotland, England, and Iceland, after an August/September excursion along the St Lawrence River in Québec. I managed to post A Year in Scotland and Incidental Passages, the 2014 trip journal, before I left for Europe. I swear the 2015 journal will be posted long before the 2016 trip. I spent only six nights in Scotland this year, and hope to do an all-Scotland trip (or nearly so) next year.
8 July 2014--A full journal it is: BL2SN 2013 (from the Border Lands to Snæfellsnes). Plans for 2014 are well underway.
4 January 2014--More organized...right. I've just finished GoStL2SotH 2012. Meanwhile, I've been to Scotland, Northumbria, and Iceland in 2013. I'm not sure yet if there will be a full tour diary... there isn't much new in the UK trip, and the weather was generally lousy. But the Iceland segment, at least, will get put up here eventually.
3 October 2012--GF2RoI 2011 is finally finished, and none too soon... I'm flying to Newcastle tomorrow. Domestic issues have slowed me down this past year. I will try to be more organized in the year to come.
19 August 2012--The aforementioned snail has really been dragging his foot this year. The 2011 journal is still incomplete, due largely to evolving domestic considerations; and I'm away on the first leg of this year's trip next week. Something different for GoStL2SotH 2012, a split trip, the first half focusing at long last on the western end of the North Atlantic Arc, in Atlantic Canada. After a hiatus of a few weeks (during which I swear I will finish the 2011 journal), I'll return to Scotland, to visit both old haunts and new territory, notably the Isles of Coll and Tiree.
17 December 2011--In case you haven't noticed, I've been to Scotland (and England, and Paris, and Amsterdam) and back. Work on the journal and photos for GF2RoI 2011 proceeds at the usual snail's pace. The first week is posted, through 29 September. There are also three portfolio pages, for Notre-Dame-de-Paris, Ely Cathedral, and Lincoln Cathedral. And of course, I'm already thinking about where to go in 2012!
27 August 2011--Bookings for this year's trip are complete, and pages for GF2RoI 2011 (from the Great Fen to the Rhinns of Islay) are being set up. The trip commences on 22 September.
50,000th hit today--probably me doing work. My stat service can make me invisible to the counter, but evidently only from one browser at a time. I edit in IE, and check the uploads in Firefox.
9 May 2011--The Iceland 1999 page has been reformatted in my now-standard journal style. The content is unchanged.
31 March 2011--The journal for the 2010 trip, HI2IoI (from Holy Island to the Isle of Iona), is now complete and online.
10 March 2010--25,000th hit, someone passing in and out, as usual. When I started this website, I knew that I was doing it largely for my own edification. A handful of friends look at it as well, and occasionally someone stumbles onto it and actually spends some time reading, which I very much appreciate. It would be nice to find a real audience, of course...but ultimately I do it because I enjoy it myself. If you are reading this, I hope you enjoy it, too. It's always nice to get feedback at MrTattieHeid@aol.com.
31 October 2009--20,000th hit today. If my stat service can be believed, it was someone from Iceland looking at Faroe Islands 2001. Coincidentally, a resident of the Faroe Islands has turned up on one of the whisky forums recently, and our conversation has me hankering for a return. As soon as one trip ends, planning for the next begins. A lot of different ideas will pass through my head before I start to nail things down early next summer.
20 October 2009--The trip's over, the journal complete, as a first draft, anyway. Some letdowns and disappointments--normal on any trip--but on the whole a very satisfying journey, and I've already had some very nice feedback from perfect strangers. Thank you so much! I've already started revision, having decided to begin by replacing the crude multi-image panoramas done in the laptop. I'll add more photos later, and revise the text. Having reread the whole thing, I've noticed a recurrent theme or two that I hope will give the story a coherent arc when I'm done. Coherence is often, for me, an elusive goal....
3 September 2009--The blank pages for WoS2GV 2009 have beem uploaded. All I have to do now is pack!
25 June 2009--15,000th hit today, appropriately enough on Faroe Islands 2001. Most of my hits are from people doing image searches--read something, people, please!--and that page is my most popular hit. If you do an image search for "Torshavn", my photo of the town on a rainy day is one of the first that appears. I do wish it were a better photo. My second-most popular page is SP2BoL 2007 Pt 1, for photos of Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. All of this may change when I get everything reorganized in the standard format.
Speaking of reorganization, I have one regret about it. One of the photographer's great banes is the deadly-dull white sky, and I have more than a few of those. When the pages are white, the white sky disappears into the page, which is actually rather dramatic. That's completely lost with the color pages, and those skies become distractingly dull again. Oh well.
26 May 2009--More revisions--cosmetic (color pages!) to HW2IoE 2008, and a complete reorganization of MF2MoG 2005. I guess I've finally settled on a standard format, and will eventually revise all of the trip diaries in this way. If you see any messed-up links or other technical problems, please let me know. 2006 and 2007 next...but not for a while.
10 February 2009--HW2IoE 2008 is finally revised and complete. In addition to the expanded text, there are now 581 photos in the journals (if I've counted right), and 90 more in the three Portfolio pages. There is also a page featuring a Platial map, for those who'd like to get a better sense of the geography. Thank Emily, it was her suggestion, and a good one it was. I'd like eventually to make similar maps for all of the journals. But for now, back to work on the Normandy/Brittany page....
19 January 2009--This site got its 10,000th hit on Friday, 16 January. Woo hoo!
I've been busily working away on revision of HW2IoE 2008, and expect to be done within a few days. Stay tuned....
2 November 2008--I've uploaded the last pages of HW2IoE 2008, and so it is, in a sense, complete--but not finished. Now I will begin the task of revision, expansion, and elaboration. I expect this to take some time, as I do some rudimentary research on the sites I've seen, insert appropriate links, and assemble some of the panoramic shots I've taken, as well as adding other photos. On the whole, the attempt to stay updated from the road has been extremely successful, thanks to proper preparation in advance of the trip, and the proliferation of wi-fi hotspots everywhere, even in the wild northwest of the Scottish Highlands. The only downside has been that I've spent a lot of pub time glued to the laptop, when I ought to have been having a blether with the locals. I think in the future the despatches will be more skeletal.
Recently I was contacted by Mr John Lamond, representing Whisky Trail Bars, a partnership of nineteen pubs, bars, hotels, and inns scattered around Scotland, all featuring extensive whisky menus. Recognizing the rapidly growing clout of Mr Tattie Heid in the worlds of whisky and travel (these are the jokes, folks), Mr Lamond has asked if I would link the WTB website here. I'm very happy to do so. I've been in five of the member establishments--the Pot Still, the Anderson, Drumchork Lodge, the Highlander, and the Mash Tun--and will plan to visit others in the future. Anyone planning a trip to Scotland should take a look at the site's map page--connect those dots, and I guarantee a great trip, whether you drink whisky or not!
17 October 2008--I'm past the halfway point of this year's trip, and am very pleased to have been able to update HW2IoE 2008 as I've gone along. I expect that there will be considerable elaboration, in terms of both text and photographs, after I get home. As I write, I'm up-to-date through 13 October, and hope to be up to the 16th before the day is over.
21 September 2008--I use a variety of odd fonts for the titles of my travel pages, and it has always concerned me that they do not display properly if the viewer doesn't have that font in his repertoire. My own laptop is missing a number of them, so it's the same for me when I'm on the road. I've decided to remedy this by making the titles part of the badges (those oval emblems at the top of each page). Thus they will no longer be actual text, but part of a jpeg. I did SP2BoL this morning, and will get to work on the others.
Of course, with my trip little more than a week away, I really ought to be getting my stuff together for that....
11 August 2008--The 5,000th hit came on 3 August. After some considerable delay due to health issues and uncertainty over airfare, I am now well into planning for this October's trip. It'll be a little shorter this year, thirty days, but it should be a good one. I'm finally learning to spend three or four nights in each stop. The difficulty, as always, is deciding what to leave out. Of course, this means the next two years' trips are half planned already!
19 May 2008--My report on the Clear Creek Distillery, completed some time ago, is finally public (accessible via the Elsewhere page).
I've been contemplating new content for a while now--too long, really--and hope to get on posting some soon. The embarrassingly unconstructed Ireland and France pages ought to be a priority. Work and the Red Sox stand in the way....
12 February 2008--Yesterday this site garnered its 3,000th hit, from someone on the Isle of Man googling road tunnels in the Faroe Islands. Most of my hits are like this, casual visitors looking for info on or photos of various places, and the Faroe page might be the most popular. I guess that's because there isn't a lot of information on the Faroe Islands out there, and anyone doing a search inevitably finds my stuff. Reminds me that I still need to rescan some of the more amateurishly done photos on that page. I'm also reminded that I want to go to the Isle of Man one of these days.
I did not note it here at the time, but the 2,000th hit was made by Mr Blindhæd his own self.
That last roll of slides is still undeveloped.
18 January 2008--I have completed a massive reorganization of SP2BoL. There are now seven pages with thirty photos on each. Rearranging the pages allowed me to keep them from being too too large, while adding more photos--there are new photos on every page, as well as in all of the Portfolios except Knoydart and Glen Coe. There are also two new Portfolios, Northbound Pt 1 and Northbound Pt 2. These document the sunny week during which I traveled north from Chester to Plockton, all in infrared photos. Some of these had been in the narrative, and have been replaced there with color ones.
I still have an undeveloped roll of slides with photos of Pennan, and intend to insert a couple of them when I finally have them. Aside from that, and perhaps a tweak here or there, this year's project is complete. At sixteen pages and over 450 photographs, it's far bigger than I ever imagined it would be. I'm pretty happy with it! I hope you enjoy it, too.
24 December 2007--SP2BoL Part 5 has arrived in time for Christmas, completing this year's journal. It's a big page, bigger than I'd like, with 39 photos. In fact, this has been the largest project yet posted, with five journal pages and seven Portfolios, including the below-mentioned Callanish and Glen Coe pages, with more than three hundred photographs in all. Thanks to advances in technology, it was done in less than half the time of last year's. Maybe I will finally be able to go back and fill in some of the incomplete pages from previous years.
It's possible that, at some point, I will think about reorganizing this year's journal into six or seven more manageable pages. It's much less likely that I will actually do it! In any case, I hope you enjoy it. Feedback is always welcome at MrTattieHeid@aol.com.
13 December 2007--I had fifteen infrared photos of Caerlaverock Castle that I liked too much to leave languishing in the hard drive, so there is now a Caerlaverock Portfolio page to show them off.
11 December 2007--SP2BoL Part 4 is up. Part 5 will be along very shortly. Astute observers will note that a proper badge has been created for SP2BoL, and that Portfolio pages for Callanish and Glen Coe have already been uploaded. Shhh!
30 November 2007--Part three of SP2BoL has been uploaded. It's a big page, as parts four and five will also be, as I desperately attempt to avoid having to create a part six. There is also a Portfolio page for Knoydart.
Bobby noted that I had gotten rather a bit too fond of the word "alas" in page two. I've edited them all out. Are you happy now? Hardly anybody ever reads all that stuff, anyway...alas.
21 November 2007--Part two of SP2BoL is up. There is now also an introduction at the beginning of part one, and there have been a few other minor revisions.
16 November 2007--Instead of getting parts two and three posted, I have been busy revising part one. I have added photographs and descriptions of two sites that I had neglected to mention, and put in links for websites that have more detailed information on several of the major sites. As well, I have created Portfolio pages of those subjects I felt were deserving of more photos, and dropped several photos of Stonehenge, Avebury, and Salisbury Cathedral from part one, that now appear there. In this way I can do such subjects justice without making the main journal pages any more unwieldy than they already are.
11 November 2007--You may have noticed that I didn't post the new pages during my trip. I decided to enjoy myself instead! The first page of SP2BoL 2007 has now been uploaded, and the groundwork laid for the other pages. It should go pretty quickly now.
17 September 2007--In preparation for my upcoming trip, I have set up blank pages for SP2BoL 2007. With digital camera and laptop in hand, I am hoping to upload material as I go along. We'll see if this pans out!
I have also created a new umbrella page, Portfolios, to act as home for pages of photos that don't fit into the travel narratives. These will include in-depth looks at such subjects as Callanish, various photos taken in and around Quebec City, and who-knows-what kinds of odds and ends. Stay tuned!
1 September 2007--Oregon 2007 is a page of photos from my trip to Oregon in July. There isn't much text, but nobody reads that stuff, anyway! There will be separate pages on my visit to the Clear Creek Distillery and my niece's wedding. Someday. Honest.
9 July 2007--Have added two photos to the October In Orkney photo page, a 360° panorama taken at the Old Man of Hoy, and another view of the Old Man from the ferry.
25 June 2007--This website garnered its 1,000th hit on Sunday, 24 June 2007. Yahoo! Of course, most of those were mildly curious Whisky Magazine forum members popping in and out in a matter of moments. Thanks to those of you with attention spans and morbid curiosity enough to stick around and actually read some of what's here. I guess it's past time I added some content to this site...soon, I promise.
I've gotten quite a few hits here from people searching specifically for the photo titled "Over Bergen" on the Norway page. The google searches have originated from an astonishingly wide variety of countries. If anyone reading this has any idea what that's all about, I'd really like to know! Email me at MrTattieHeid@aol.com.
15 April 2007--I found a 360-degree panorama of the Ardbeg distillery from 2005 that I'd forgotten about, and inserted it into MF2MoG 2005.
8 April 2007--Part 5 of GG2BoB 2006 is complete, and, barring any revision, so is this year's entry. Next project is to fill in the missing day in the Norway trip, and then tackle the Brittany/Normandy and Ireland pages.
2 April 2007--Part 4 of GG2BoB 2006 is done. Part 5 will be along shortly. I've fixed a longstanding oversight, putting titles on the bar at the top of each page.
26 March 2007--At last Part 3 of GG2BoB 2006 is up. It's probably the largest page I've done, with 38 photos; that's more than is ideal for a single page, and will take a while to load, but I hope you will find it worthwhile. Part of the delay has been because I wanted to get all of the remaining photos for GG2BoB scanned, so I'd know how I wanted to break up the pages. As a consequence, it shouldn't be nearly as long before parts 4 and 5 are ready.
You have no doubt noticed that I have overhauled the fonts on all the pages. I hope this will give the site a little more personality. All of the fonts I've used are common ones that were bundled with Windows XP, so most of you should see them as intended. If you still see Times New Roman
28 February 2007--I have added a page detailing my recent trip to Seattle and Victoria. In order to accommodate pages that don't fit into the North Atlantic Arc, I have created a nexus page titled Elsewhere.
I bought a digital camera before going west--nothing too fancy, a Fuji Finepix S6000fd. So far I am very happy with the photos I've taken with it. It will speed up the process of creating these pages considerably. To underline that point, I have made very little progress on the remainder of GG2BoB.
18 January 2007--Have upgraded the panoramas in Faroe Islands 2001. Looking over this page, I note that I was experimenting with techniques for reducing contrast between land and sky, and some of the results are rather embarrassingly clumsy. One of these days I will have to rescan a number of these photos.
10 Jan 2007--Part 2 of GG2BoB is finally up. Work on the rest of it is still in very early stages.
25 December 2006--The panoramic photos in Norway 2004 have been re-presented in accordance with my new panoramic standard. They are shown again at screen width at the bottom of the page.
21 December 2006--I have posted the first page of GG2BoB. The second page will be another week, maybe, and pages three and four (and five?) will be a while yet.
10 December 2006--I have reorganized the internal links. The North Atlantic Ring now will take you to the first page of each year's entry. Multiple-page entries have another level of internal links. This is intended to keep the internal links from becoming too cumbersome. I haven't checked every link, so if you run into any anomalies, please let me know. If you have any thoughts on the logic of these internal links, I'd be happy to hear them, as well.
The new page for 2006 is still a long way off. I hope to apply myself to it soon.
5 November 2006--I'm back from Scotland, and work will commence soon on the 2006 page. I wouldn't expect it much before Christmas, though! Will keep you updated here.