Category Archives: Human Geography

The Bridge to Nowhere and the Bays Road

Just three main roads radiate out of Stornoway, the capital of the Isle of Lewis. One heads across mountains towards Tarbet and Harris to the south; another goes east past the island’s airport and along the Eye Peninsula to come … Continue reading

Posted in Human Geography, Islands, Scotland, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

All along the supple river: following the Ystwyth to the sea

  ystwyth (Welsh) adjective:  supple, flexible, pliable The harbour at Aberystwyth on the west coast of Wales holds the confluence of two rivers. One of these, the Rheidol, is probably best known for the narrow-gauge steam railway that plies its … Continue reading

Posted in History, Human Geography, Walking | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

San rock art – Drakensberg, South Africa

One of the highlights of my recent trip to South Africa was to see some really well-preserved rock art. The cave paintings were made by the San people, the hunter-gatherers who inhabited the Drakensberg mountain region in KwaZulu-Natal province close … Continue reading

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Great Yarmouth: the View from the Monument

The strangest place in the wide world Charles Dickens I wrote a post about Great Yarmouth’s Time and Tide Museum some time ago. The museum continues to be one of the town’s cultural highlights but for inquisitive visitors, especially those with … Continue reading

Posted in Human Geography, Norfolk | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Birmingham Edgelands Part 2

Edgelands are not necessarily always on the urban edge. Not physically anyway – the important thing is they are perceived as different from the zones that lay beyond. Neither strictly urban nor rural but an overlooked amalgam of the two … Continue reading

Posted in History, Human Geography, Midlands | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Birmingham Edgelands Part 1

Some cities draw you straight in from their edges by dint of gravity or beckoning pathways – officially designated walking routes or desire roads shaped by regular footfall. Not so Birmingham: here the momentum at the city’s outer limits is … Continue reading

Posted in Cities, Human Geography, Midlands | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Arslanbob – In Walnut Tree Shade

It had been almost eight years since I was last in Arslanbob, a tantalisingly spread-out settlement in Kyrgyzstan’s Jalal-Abad province. As before, I had arrived at the start of Ramadan – the moon was new, the mosque was full; a holiday … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Human Geography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Edgeland

Edgelands are everywhere, orbiting our towns and cities like unbeautiful rings of Saturn: non-places, junkspace, transitory transition zones that lie between that which is unequivocally urban or rural. Transitory because they are spaces in flux, with fluid geography that today … Continue reading

Posted in History, Human Geography, Norfolk | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Botanising the asphalt

The German philosopher and literary critic Walter Benjamin referred to the unwitting psychogeographical practices of the urban flâneur as that of ‘botanising the asphalt’: a way of experiencing the city as a repository of collective memory by means of a … Continue reading

Posted in Human Geography, wildlife | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Jezero to Jajce

Incompetence can have its benefits, it can even sometimes lead to adventure – that is my experience. A simple small error or misunderstanding can lead the way to the unexpected: an experience that perhaps you did not plan for but … Continue reading

Posted in Balkans, History, Human Geography | Tagged , , | 5 Comments