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Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Moray Firth


This is the Burghead Bay, at the Findhorn end, looking out on the firth, which is a designated special area of conservation. It is also home to pods of dolphins who are threatened by European war-games.

The concrete blocks emerging from the out-going tide are military defences.  There are several thousand of these structures along the beach, and these feature at the Derelict Places website:

Roseisle Beach stretches 6 miles along the Moray firth coast from Findhorn to Burghead,

In the 1940s the beach was used by the American and Canadian Military to train for the D-Day landings of WW2,

There are around 15 pillboxes of various design Positioned evenly along the beach, at a guess several thousand anti tank blocks (far to many to count anyway!), wooden anti landing devices and various other concrete prefab structures.

There are also 8 amphibious Valentine tanks, sunk off the coastline during this training in Burghead bay and Findhorn Bay, These have never been retrieved, some have been photographed by diving enthusiasts and can be viewed elsewhere on the web.

The shoreline at Roseisle suffers from constant errosion and this is causing the structures to subside and sink into the sand.

The Normandy Landings were

the landing operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, also known as Operation Overlord and Operation Neptune, during World War II. The landings commenced on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (D-Day), beginning at 6:30 AM British Double Summer Time (GMT+2). In planning, D-Day was the term used for the day of actual landing, which was dependent on final approval.

I wonder about this claim that there was “British Double Summer Time” during the Second World War.  I suppose it helps when one is fighting a war in the same time-zone as one’s enemies.

Posted by bigblue on 17/08/2010 at 08:05 AM
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Monday, 09 August 2010
Positano and the Pistrice


In the end the Metro del Mare ferry we caught on Saturday stopped at Positano on the way to Amalfi and we disembarked. Firstly, my Napolitean friends had recommended it as a better destination on the Amalfi coast than Amalfi itself. Secondly, one of our party was seasick by this time and desperate to reach dry land.

Positano is a splendid little destination where you can visit the local domed church of Santa Maria dell’Assunte, browse numerous street stalls and shops and visit local restaurants. Otherwise it suffers from the unrelenting Medittereanian heat as Napoli and most of the visitors sweat it out under sunflower yellow parasols laid out in close proximity on one half of the beach. The parasols are for hire.

One of the symbols of the town is a mythological (Greek) creature that resembles a mer-dog, and it adorns a wall on the clock tower at the town square as well as broaches, fridge magnets, aprons, tea towels, shirts and various bric-o-brac in the village stalls. The mythological creature represented is from Greek and Roman mythology, known as a pistrice, so is actually half dragon/half fish (or sea serpent).  One of the locals told me it was a symbol of good luck. It does appear that the creature has brought good luck for the tourist industry.

Posted by bigblue on 09/08/2010 at 07:58 AM
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Saturday, 07 August 2010


As seen from the sea. We are on the Metro del Mare to Amalfi. We had intended to go to Positano but that port is apparently closed due to bad weather.

Posted by bigblue on 07/08/2010 at 09:31 AM
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Friday, 06 August 2010
The Ruins of Pompei


We visited this amazing site today, and it’s larger than I expected (or remembered). At Pompei one of us met an old school friend and her family. Then this afternoon/evening we went out with some new friends from Naples (who I met in Scotland last week).

Posted by bigblue on 06/08/2010 at 10:01 PM
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Thursday, 05 August 2010


A scale model (1:100) of the ancient city, built in 1879 and housed in the Archaeological Museum in Naples.

Posted by bigblue on 05/08/2010 at 05:34 PM
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Wednesday, 04 August 2010
Beautiful Naples


After two exhausting days walking this busy city we have decided tomorrow to visit Pompei and Vesuvius.

Posted by bigblue on 04/08/2010 at 07:15 PM
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