From Source To Sea

November 09, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

From Source to Sea – My River Dee Project

Spires of Aberdeen – the River Dee snakes into the city beneath the Brig o’ Dee

Spires of Aberdeen – the River Dee snakes into the city beneath the Brig o’ Dee
 

Early in 2017, I discovered I would be repatriating to the North East of Scotland. A move had always been going to happen once my daughter finished school but the location was an unknown. Moving “home” was not my first choice but needs must and I had to get my head around it. One way to do that was to start thinking about a new project to get me out and about and looking at a very familiar landscape in a new way. The River Dee flows into the North Sea at Aberdeen and I have photographed it, the breakwater and the Brig o’Dee before. This sowed the seed of an idea to expand on these images and explore upstream. Researching the river my interest was further piqued as the 85 miles of landscapes through which it runs vary from mountainous to rural to urban and industrial. 

The Dee has its source deep in the Cairngorm Mountains at the Wells of Dee on the plateau of Breariach, which at 1296m the top is the third highest mountain in Scotland and forms the highest source of any river in the UK I will have to increase my fitness levels somewhat to make it to this high, remote spot – these may well be the last images of the project! The Linn of Dee, beyond Braemar on the Marr Estate is the last point upstream to which you can drive on public roads and I photographed it late last year.  It will take a few trips and long hikes into the Glen of Dee to explore the upper reaches of the river into the mountains. 

 

“Rush” The  Linn o' Dee (from the Gaelic meaning a pool or cascade of water). 300m long chasm where the Dee suddenly changes from being a broad, gentle river into a raging torrent forcing itself through a gorge just a couple of meters wide.

After the Linn, the river once again winds itself gently though the landscape, past Braemar and into the more rural agricultural lands of Royal Deeside, which I have captured over the winter with snow on the ground.

“Echoes” Creag Bhaig over the River Dee near Braemar

 

“A river runs through it” Creag Ghiubhais & Creag Nam Ban near Ballater
 

One of the things the Dee is so well known for is the salmon fishing. People come from around the world to fish here and many of the riverside estates depend on this.            

Fisherman’s Hut, Invercauld

All along the river are bridges – 24 in all and the project will eventually include them all. Two prominent ones are Potarch (which has a wonderful café close by) near Kincardine O’Neill, the oldest village on the banks of the Dee and the Brig o’ Dee in Aberdeen. 

Potarch Bridge - Dating from 1811-13 by Thomas Telford this bridge carried the old Edinburgh to Fochabers military road across the River Dee.

Brig o’ Dee - Dating from 1527 this once was the only access to Aberdeen from the south.
 

As you approach the tidal end of the river in the city of Aberdeen the river rises and falls with the tides. The banks boast old and new residential housing, a business school, a cemetary, sports fields and industrial buildings as it converges into the busy Aberdeen Harbour before flowing out into the cold North Sea. 

Caledonian Oil  - Despite the downturn, Aberdee harbor is still bustling with the activity of the oil industry.
 
The Dee meets the sea  -  The contrast of the old Customs house (now the Silver Darling Seafood Restaurant) and the new Shipping Control buildings at the mouth of the Dee with the South Breakwater to the right. 

The project has a long way to go but it spurs me to get out and do photography for my own pleasure as well as learning more about the history of my local area.

To follow the progress of the project you can visit the gallery "River Dee Project" under the Landscapes Gallery tab where I will post images as I create them.

 

* This blog was first published as an article in the Royal Photographic Society BeNeLux Overseas Chapter E-Magazine. 

 

 

 


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