100 Weeks of Scotland: Peterhead | Keith Ness

Peterhead. Picture: Alan McCredie
Peterhead. Picture: Alan McCredie
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THIS week, Alan McCredie ventures to the most easterly point in Scotland, as his 100 Weeks of Scotland photo project continues.

Week Thirty One

The East

Six months ago, as I stood on Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly point on the mainland I was in a conversation with an elderly woman about my project, why I was here and why at some point I would be heading to Peterhead, the easternmost point on the mainland.

She, it turned out, was from Peterhead and filled me with terrible tales of the cold & ice that seemed, to her, to eternally grip this Winter seaport. “The Blue Toon” she called it. Blue for cold. Blue for ice. And now, half a year on, here I was standing on Keith Inch, Peterhead, looking out from the easterly point. She was right about “The Blue Toon” although very very wrong about the temperature. Here was a cobalt blue sky above an aquamarine ocean on a perfect, warm day in late May. I was almost disappointed that her warnings of arctic doom had not come to pass. Almost.

I had realised early on that the most easterly point on the mainland would not have the same natural beauty as Dunnet Head in the north, Ardnamurchan in the west and the Mull of Galloway to the south. Keith Inch was once an island off Peterhead but now forms part of the town’s harbour. I knew it would be industrial and google maps had shown me a rather uninspiring view of the area. And yet how easily we can be fooled.

This most easterly point stands on private property and I was unsure if I would even be allowed access. However, I know well how the security guard, the caretaker, the janitor is the photographers best friend. Get them onside and you can go anywhere, and happily the same applied here. I think the guard thought I was slightly deranged, but obviously, and to my disappointment, he clearly thought I was no spy.

The eastern edge of Keith Ness has its own stark and bleak beauty and the moment I saw the huge rusting Oil Rig anchors on the coastline I knew I was going to get plenty of images. These huge anchors, twice my size, are from the oil rigs that dominate this area of the North Sea and to see them quietly rusting in the heat was an impressive sight.

As I wandered around there were so many interesting objects and sights that my task was easy. I even had time to eat my lunch, looking out from this industrial landscape towards Norway hundred of miles over the horizon. And as I sat staring east over the ocean, my back warmed by the heat from the hulking anchor I leant against I thought, yes, Peterhead is blue, and there’s nothing I can do.

About

Alan McCredie began the ‘one hundred weeks of scotland’ website in October last year, and it will conclude in Autumn 2014. McCredie’s goal is to chronicle two years of Scottish life in the run-up to the independence referendum.

McCredie says ‘one hundred weeks...’ is intended to show all sides of the country over the next two years. On the site, he says: “Whatever the result of the vote Scotland will be a different country afterward. These images will show a snapshot of the country in the run up to the referendum.

“The photos will be of all aspects of Scottish culture - politics, art, social issues, sport and anything else that catches the eye.”

You can follow the project at www.100weeksofscotland.com. You can also follow Alan on Twitter.

• All pictures (c) Alan McCredie/ 100 weeks of Scotland