A placid and beautiful Highland Cow, found roaming on the Isle of Skye. Copyright Content Catnip 2010.

Travel: A History of the Beautiful Highland Cow

Highland Cows or as they are commonly known in Scotland Highland Coos are an ancient breed known to have grazed the rugged Scottish landscape since the sixth century. Their genetic origins are still up for debate. They may be native to Scotland or introduced by the Vikings to Great Britain. One scientific train of thought…

Tui - Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

The ultimate guide to collective nouns for New Zealand birds

This post is for all of the New Zealand and global bird-lovers out there. New Zealand has some wonderful and incredibly intelligent birds that also tend to have rambuctious, mischievous and cheeky personalities. Check out this video of a kea being, well... a kea if you don't believe me... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxoCuRuHlt8 Here are some little known…

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand Copyright Content Catnip 2016

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand

A few years ago we went to Central Otago on a trip. It really was a magical time away, At that stage we both had highly stressful jobs and we were really needing to get away from everything. Probably one of the best places in the world to blow the cobwebs out of your world…

On a dark night, Kindled in love with yearnings–oh, happy chance!– I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest. In darkness and secure, By the secret ladder, disguised–oh, happy chance!– In darkness and in concealment, My house being now at rest. In the happy night, In secret, when none saw me,…

Roadtrip on the Isle of Skye. Gloaming sky

Travel: The ruins of Duntulm Castle on Trotternish

I visited Duntulm on the northerly most point of the Trotternish peninsula on the Isle of Skye back in 2010. Many many moons ago, perhaps several thousand years ago, the now mostly ravaged and ruined castle was originally a Pictish fortress, forming one of a chain of duns or forts stretching along the north coast…

Travel: Exploring Ancient Kidwelly Castle in Wales

Travel: Exploring Ancient Kidwelly Castle in Wales

About ten years ago I visited Carmarthenshire, Wales and discovered the ruins of Kidwelly Castle with a friend and fellow couch-surfer. It was a delightful and fascinating day, full of overcast grey weather, souvenirs, bara brith, Welsh rarebit and early medieval history. Perched close to the wind-swept seaside and encircled by beautiful lapwings, ducks and…

Seven Tips for Writing Top Notch Travel Articles http://wp.me/p41CQf-5h

Ancient Word of the Day: Grimmelings

Although similar to the gloaming, grimmelings is a slightly different natural phenomenon at both ends of the rotating sun's traverse across the sky. Grimmelings - The first or last gleams of the day (Scots, esp. Orkney). From the Norwegian "grimla", to glimmer before the eyes, to twinkle or blink. Also "grimlins". Or “the harlot’s hour”:…

Eerie and Glorious Fake Cities Left Empty in China

Eerie and Glorious Fake Cities Left Empty in China

“Entire townships and villages appear to have been airlifted from their historical and geographical foundations in England, France, Greece, the United States, and Canada and spot-welded to the margins of Chinese cities,” according to Bianca Bosker, author of Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China. Tianducheng:  A Fake Parisian Wonder Originally conceived as an homage…

When chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet; As market days are wearing late, And folk begin to tak the gate, While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' getting fou and unco happy, We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles, That lie between us and our hame, Where sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her…

It is the time when crimson stars Weary of heaven’s cold delight, And take, like petals from a rose, Their soft and hesitating flight Upon the cool wings of the air Across the purple night. It is the time when silver sails Go drifting down the violet sea, And every poppy’s crimson mouth Kisses to…

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat held for it by a row of ancient trees; you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight, one journeying to heaven, one that falls; and leave you, not at home in either one, not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses, not calling…

Book Review: Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It by Geoff Dyer

Book Review: Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It by Geoff Dyer

In this travel memoir by novelist Geoff Dyer  I read this book waiting to be immersed into the world of the travel. Although sadly I found the result rather disappointing to be honest. He is a great writer don’t get me wrong - I loved his novel Paris, Trance in the past. This was a…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Wir Bleiben Alle https://wp.me/p41CQf-KHm

Travel: Wir Bleiben Alle, Berlin

Wir Bleiben Alle which roughly translates to We Are All Staying is a punk anarchist squat, bar and multi-level music venue. It's an integral part of the modern resistance movement in Berlin which protests against the rising rents and gentrification of suburbs Prenzlauerberg and Kruezberg. This is where artists, writers and bohemian types used to…

Curious Victorian Fantasies of the Year 2000

Curious Victorian Fantasies of the Year 2000

In 1986, when famed science fiction author Isaac Asimov chanced upon a delightful series of postcards dating from 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1910 France, he couldn't believe his luck! The postcards depicted scenes from a barely imagined future, then a distant figment of imagination. Of the 21st Century, imagined by French artists in the midst…

Hibernal From Latin hībernālis (“wintry”), from hiems (“winter”), hibernal is term for something that refers to winter. On this, the long, long night of Winter Solistice of the southern hemisphere, the dawns and the gloamings grow ever deeper and more thickly velveteen black. Although this point in time marks the darkest, longest night and from this kernel grows the essence of…

Short film: Celestial wonders in downtown London

Short film: Celestial wonders in downtown London

In this stunning short film called Sun Moon London by filmmaker Luke Miller, we witness otherworldly visions of the interplay of the moon, sun and bustling central London. Luke captured the harvest moon on the 5th of October 2017, when the moon was at its zenith of autumnal equinox. Along with footage of the 1st…

Travel: Yarchen Gar, Tibet

Travel: Yarchen Gar, Tibet

Yarchen Gar also known as the Yaqên Orgyän Temple is located in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, China Geographically remote and nestled in a valley some 4,000 metres above sea level, the temple rarely sees tourists or visitors. The monastery is associated with the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism . At Yarchen Gar there is a concentration of…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Seal of Mahia Beach

Travel: Baby seal on Mahia Beach, New Zealand 

While visiting family on the east coast of New Zealand we came upon a little baby seal or what the Scottish would call a selkie (a water spirit) lurking precariously close to the road. She was laying in a clump of harakeke flax and staring up at us with wide, black shiny eyes. I was…

Tapas of bread with fresh sardines, basil, cheese and tomatoes in Madrid, what I actually remember from the palace tour. Copyright Content Catnip 2009

Travel: The Royal Palace in Madrid

It was broiling and steaming at about 38 degrees in Madrid that day. Looking out over the vista of Madrid during the peak of the siesta period it seemed that all the traffic had stopped and all of the sensible people in the city had retreated inside, except for the tourists like me of course.…

Travel: Walks along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh

Travel: Walks along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh

The Polish Bear and I went on a lot of adventures together while living in Edinburgh. One of our favourite walking trails was the devastatingly beautiful Water of Leith. This natural body of water crosses over the Forth and Clyde Canal, which I've written about extensively before. The Water of Leith snakes its way through…