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Tree Study 4 (IR) by Donald Stewart FRPS
CREDIT: Donald Stewart FRPS

Linlithgow Peel & Rock Janet Lowe LRPS & Donald Stewart FRPS

RPS Landscape Group Newsletter, September 2023

Linlithgow Peel and Rock

by Janet Lowe LRPS and Donald Stewart FRPS

On the morning of Friday 4th August seven members, including Group Chair, Colin Balfour LRPS, assembled at the Cross Well in the centre of Linlithgow to meet our guide for the day, local resident and award winning photographer, Viv Cotton ARPS.

Linlithgow is a small town, quite close to Edinburgh, with a long history stretching back to medieval times. In its early days as a royal palace it was the birthplace of both James V of Scotland and his daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. The Palace was reputedly one of Queen Mary’s favourite residences. The Palace and the equally impressive St Michael’s Kirk are currently undergoing renovations and scaffolding somewhat detracts from the impact and enjoyment of these two ancient buildings. Viv’s advice was to embrace the scaffolding and look for interesting shadow effects. There were, in any case, plenty of different photo opportunities.

In Victorian times Linlithgow and the nearby village of Blackness became important staging posts on the Union Canal which was part of the route linking Glasgow to Edinburgh. The Canal Basin is still a popular venue for visitors and locals wishing to enjoy the more tranquil and leisurely pace of life aboard a canal barge.


The Green Man © Janet Lowe LRPS


Starting from the spectacular Cross Well which is backed by the equally impressive Burgh Hall we made our way to the sunken rose garden which contains a splendid statue of the 7th Earl of Hopeton, first Governor General of Australia, in an equally fine setting. The statue is known locally as the “Green Man” due to the Verdigris which now covers it. From here a winding, gently sloping path leads down to Linlithgow Loch which provides a magnificent setting for the Palace and its surrounding buildings. A large grassed area in front of the Palace containing many fine large trees provides an excellent foreground for photos, as well as subjects for infrared images.  Though the day was calm and dry but not overly bright, a cloudy sky provided a good balance for photos taken from this viewpoint. The loch itself, its edges, colourful wild flowers, swans with cygnets and a small jetty provided members of the group with a range of photographic opportunities. A short walk along the paved shoreline, passing a variety of waterfowl, leads to a small wooden footbridge which yielded excellent views back to the Palace with tall grasses and reeds forming foreground interest whilst the calm water of the Loch provided good reflections. There was a bit of competition for tripod spots here!

A fine lunch was taken at the 4 Marys pub, much recommended, before we set off to walk in the opposite direction to the morning to find more splendid locations to photograph the Palace from different angles with a variety of foregrounds and stunning reflections as the day continued still, bright but not very sunny.


Linlithgow Palace Reflection © Janet Lowe LRPS


From here a steady rise back towards the town centre took the group up to the canal, the canal basin and the Learmonth Gardens with its bright floral displays and impressive ancient dovecot, known locally as the “pigeons’ palace”. The canal basin provided the final photographic stop with a variety of decorated and brightly coloured barges set in a large reflecting pool.


Linlithgow Palace From The West © Donald Stewart FRPS


All in all an excellent day’s outing made all the more enjoyable by Viv’s local knowledge and willingness to spend ample time in any of the locations to allow her “charges” to fully explore these before moving on. Given the peripatetic nature of photographers it is to Viv’s credit that the entire group was still together when we reached the final location! This was a tribute to her excellent planning and guidance.


Group in action © Janet Lowe LRPS


Linlithgow Loch And Jetty © Janet Lowe LRPS


Image: Mary And Linlithgow Palace © Donald Stewart FRPS


Header Image: Tree Study 4 (IR) © Donald Stewart FRPS