About Janet Canning

Traveler, CT/TECHED Teacher, Costumer ScotsIrishEngWelsh Punk, PostPunk, Celtic, Irish Punk

Aurora Hunting: Chasing the Aurora Borealis

 

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Photo by Image by McBeaner

While we go back into restrictions in many countries due to Covid, this late-fall and early winter if you are lucky enough to be at a certain latitudinal line in the northern hemisphere, or the southern (Australis Lights), you can see a spectacular show of ribbons of lights in the night skies. We see our sun’s solar winds colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere, which is changing in composition, and we get amazing ribbons of spectral dancers. Places to see the this amazing show include the Shetland Islands and mainland Scotland, in the 52°-55° latitudinal lines, and Ireland is also well situated to see these amazing light displays.

The Aurora Zone

Countries within or near the 52°-55° latitude are considered the best places to observe the night time light show. However, if the geomagnetic activity is high (Kp index) the lights can extend further. There is not a season per se for the lights, however winter is usually better with longer nights. And as far away from large cities as possible.

Scottish Sites: October to March

Isle of Lewis, Harris, and Skye (North), Orkney and Caithness . The farthest Northwest part of Scotland: Applecross Peninsula, Lochniver, Ullapool. Cairngorms range, Galloway Forrest Park, Perthshire

Coast of Fife, Morray Firth , Nairn, Cairn o’ Mount

Ireland Sites: Best months September and March

County Donegal, Inishowen Penisula and surrounds. County Kerry, Kerry Dark Sky Park. County Mayo, Mullet Peninsula (Standing stones and Northern Lights), Downpatrick Head. County Sligo, Mullaghmore 

Iceland: All of it

Norway: The Lofoten Islands, Nordkapp, Kirkenes, Tromsø, and Svalbard

Canada: In some places you can see them 240 nights out of the year

Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, and Newfoundland Labrador

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Image by Martin Solhaug Standal

Share your Aurora hunting stories.

The Aurora Australius Is a Wild Night of Lights

Seven Epic Spots For Stargazing In New Zealand

Puffin Prowess

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Photo by Frank Liebmann

Where are the best places to spot puffins? And why would you want to? I’ve been fascinated with puffins since I was very young and picked up a classic book published by Puffin Books. I wanted to know what a Puffin was, and since we didn’t have any on the west coast of America, I was fascinated with them for a time. Many years later, and after one attempt to go Puffin spotting while in Inverness in 2017, unfortunately time would not allow me to head to the northern islands, I decided it would be on the list for next trip. 

Puffins are member of the Auk family of seabirds. The inhabit borrows and live on cliff faces. Their brightly colored bill is a great boon during mating season, however there is another feature to that splendid beak. It glows. Great for mating flashing about. My theory, it’s very useful when you have tiny Pufflings, yes the common name for baby Puffins, crammed in a cliff face with very little sunlight? Strange head coming in, where’s the food? Read more about it here:

Puffins Amp Up Their Sex Appeal With Glowing Beaks

The best places for Puffin spotting, cliff faces across Scotland and the isles. St Abbs, Isle of May, Faraid Head, Shetland, Orkney, Noss, Island of Handa. The best time of year is breeding season in May and through to August.

British Isles

In Ireland? Skellig Islands and Skellig Michael in Co. Kerry.

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Image by hrw1973 from Pixabay

Where Can I See Puffins in Scotland?

Post-COVID Travel! So Ready For It.

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I have just had another health scare. Not of the COVID variety, but one that made me take stock of life in general. When I have had adversity and serious health concerns in the past, I have had to have a goal to get through the stress. Usually it’s the typical healthy one, I want my body back! But since I have had to go back into isolation for a reason other than COVID and follow some of the same protocols, I decided it’s time to think about a life Post-COVID. One year from now I want to be in Scotland and Ireland again. So time to get my health back in order, exercise, eat right, so when I get there I can go for hours walking and hiking around. And hopefully make it back to NI and Ireland as well. Time to find all of the Game of Thrones Doors.

Back To Ireland and Scotland

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Both countries are going back into restrictions. Not surprising, the UK and Ireland being islands, that with people still not practicing social distancing and rebelling against mask wearing they are getting hard hit. The world is going into a second wave of the Coronavirus.

In looking at the travel planning sites for Scotland, the go to standard VisitScotland.com has COVID travel advice, and sadly their trip planner is unavailable now. So, it’s back to the basics with that folder in G-Drive and a list of the things I want to see and do this trip. That is always the best way to start your travel list, just keep it simple.

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Where To Stay

During the pandemic, short term lets through Air BNB and other companies have been restricted, with countries calling for large online booking firms to act responsibly and not book short term lets. Landlords have had to go back to longer term leases on their rentals. Some in the cities are rejoicing as rental housing has become a premium because so many land lords were running vacation rentals that do not have as many restrictive laws binding them and they can turn over a faster profit by the night. See my accommodations pages for places to stay, at least it is a contact you can work with to test the waters on your trip.

So what will the landscape look like coming out of Covid restrictions in the summer months? I’m aiming for Fall 2021, as looking at the CDC and other reporting sites, projections show the worst of the virus should be mostly played out by then. Check each country’s travel restrictions to check if they are still requiring a negative Covid test prior to flying.

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Most of all, I have made some Twitter friends in Scotland and would love to meet or at least check up on them to see if they are alright. I feel that traveling a year from now would show me that the world is going to be okay, not perfect, definitely changed.

So, I will be starting my list with an animal, the Puffin, and standing stones. I did not get to see either of these on the last trip. Well, then there’s The Flying Jacobite train. Ireland, well, west coast this time and another historical train if I can. Oh, and some Irish and Scottish islands. There’s three weeks easy. The Fall is the best time of year with the leaves changing colors. And if I get my game plan on for hiking more this year, I might make it up my first Munro!

Alley in Edinburgh

Warning: If you break the 14 day travel isolation rules you will face serious fines. If you must travel for business, please check with the embassy in your country.

Travel During Covid Restrictions Scotland

Visit Scotland

Scottish Government Page

Travel Durning Covid Restrictions Ireland

Irish Government Covid Travel Page

Citizens Information Pages

Travel During Covid Restrictions N. Ireland

NI Government Advice Pages

Visit Belfast

Travel During Covid Restrictions Wales

Welsh Government Covid Advice Pages

Visit Wales

Travel During Covid Restrictions UK

UK Government Travel Site

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Word Of Warning: Security

Be aware that when planning an itinerary or using a booking platform, that these companies have had breaches of security over the years. Monitor all you activity on this platform and close out your account when you return. I also advise that when you return from and international trip, you close out your credit cards and get new ones issued. Skimming cards has become so technologically easy and you don’t have to use it, just be standing somewhere. Keep your card in a sleeve to protect it at the airport and beyond. Just the same, many travel planning sites have been hacked and information taken. Sadly, it takes these companies months before they alert you and the damage is done.

Don’t use  your ATM cards abroad. Get a pre paid reloadable card. Sadly some of these companies have gone through insolvencies with the COVID economic crash, so do your research.

Aviation Consumer Protection: Airlines Bankruptcies and Your Rights

7 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Visiting Ireland

Scottish Airbnb Host Gets a Rude Awakening When She Finds Over 23 Extra Guests Camping in Her Garden

Travel in the Time of Coronavirus-19

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by Catherine Poh Huay Tan February 2020 

I haven’t been writing much about travel lately since sadly, we have all had to curtail our travel plans for the unseeable future. I will be writing a few articles on travel, which is considered necessary to travel and rethinking the staycation.

For now, please use social distancing practices while having your daily health walk or bike ride. Please wear a mask, even if you think you are too fast on a bike, don’t be foolish. Besides, it helps with the pollen.

Stay tuned for articles, but here’s some reading to keep you busy. Also, plan that trio you will take when this is over, that I Survived amazing trip.

If you are going on a plane for business or checking on loved ones, wear a mask and nitrile gloves.

The big question now, how much will it cost to travel post-COVID-19 as airlines mothball their fleets. Hotels may be cheaper to get business back, but it’s gonna cost to get there.

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/air-travel-expensive-coronavirus/index.html

Travel Bubbles for Tourism

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/tourism-coronavirus-travel-bubble-lockdown/

Europe Planning on Reopening Borders

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/12/eu-reopen-borders-tourists-covid-19-recovery-plan

Travel Restrictions on Returning to The United States

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html

 

Outlander Locales: Stirling

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Castle Stirling

Stirling has been a hotbed for filming these past few years. Filled with history, Robert the Bruce Country, and amazing forests and hillwalking opportunities and many woods and exterior opportunities make it a great place to film. Although crews work tirelessly at all hours and under weather conditions from snow and ice to heat and full on midge attacks, the beauty and hospitality of the area make it a fantastic shoot. Not to mention the fabulous Stirling Castle, with some of the best living history examples I have seen at an estate. Stirling and the surrounding area boast several locations for Outlander filming, including recent filming for Season 5. Oh, and then there are a few films, like the recent Netfix film, Outlaw King, that have filmed in the surrounding areas.

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Doune as Castle Leoch

Fall is one of the most spectacular times in Scotland. The tourist numbers go down a bit, and with recent climate changes there have been Indian Summer days a plenty. However it’s still a country of four seasons in a day, so pack accordingly. Stirling is a great place for hillwalking, and locations like Mine Woods, where some of Season 5 has been filmed, is just one such area to have a peaceful ramble.

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Doune Castle as Winterfell

 

And if you are a fan of great series and film, why not check out the surrounding areas for your favorites. And many other Outlander and other filming locations are within an hour of the city. The city is reachable by train and there are some public buses and touring companies that can get you to these sites.

 

  1. Doune Castle – You know it as Castle Leoch, has also been Winterfell in S1 of Game of Thrones, and Monty Python’s The French Castle.
  2. Dunblane Cathedral – Near Doune Castle. S4 Kirkyard burial.
  3. Drummond Castle Gardens – S2 Gardens at Versaille Outlander GREAT FALL COLORS!
  4. Abercairney Estates – Creiff S4, S5 Plantation River Run
  5. Bridge of Allan (Mine Woods) – Wolfs Hole Quarry S5 Regulators camp
  6. Cambusbarron – Stirling Outlying village and woods area.
  7. Touch House, Touch Estate, Stirling S2 Culloden House Outlander
  8. Pathfoot Building, University of Stirling S2 Roger and Bree meet Geillis Duncan 

Links

Stirling Films  and Map

12 Movies Filmed in Scotland by Hillwalk Tours

Outlander Locations Listing

Outlander Lallybroch Filming Rescheduled for September?

Cambusbarron, Stirling Area Night Shoot August 9, 2019

Outlander Season 5 Bridge of Allan Night Shoot May 6, 2019