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#NatGeoTravelStories // Follow our account this weekend as @JimRichardsonNG shares 12 travel recommendations from his Islands of Obsession photo series, taken in Scotland's Hebrides and Orkney Islands. #4 Night at Callanish - It’s only been about 5,000 years since the folk at Callanish erected these stones. And unlike the more famous upstart at Stonehenge, the Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis are freely open — nothing to stop you from sitting amongst these giants late into a Scottish summer evening, letting the stars swirl above as you ponder time and immortality. If you should nod off, the first birdsong on the morning’s breeze will probably wake you at 4:00 AM. You might think these stones are ancient, but nothing compared to the rock from which they are hewn: Lewesian Gneiss that is, over 3 billion years old, forged in Earth’s furnace time and again to layer them with eternity. If old stuff doesn’t appeal to you, something almost entirely modern is just down the road: Carloway Broch, an iron age tower house only about 2,000 years old. #islandobsession #scotland
Photo by @edkashi/@viiphoto: Helicopter "Sky Cranes", used by the CDF for dropping water on hard to reach fires, uses nearby #ShastaLake to load up their water tanks. Shasta County, CA 1999. A Sept. 2014 article on theatlantic.com states, “According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 82% of the state of California currently falls in the "Extreme Drought" category. The years-long dry spell has tapped groundwater reserves and left reservoirs at record lows…Shasta Lake is currently near 30% of its total capacity, the lowest it has been since 1977.” Because of this drastic decline in capacity due to a #climatechange-fueled drought, this lake would not be as valuable a resource in extinguishing #forestfires now as it had been when this photo was taken. @everydayclimatechange
#Yemen, the poorest country in the #MiddleEast, was once described as the Happy Arabia. Now it’s a war-torn land, often met with bombings and rebellions. Amid all the war and politics, it’s easy to lose sight of the actual place — a breathtakingly #beautiful country rich with history. Here, a Yemeni man stands atop the #JebelShugruf village in the #Haraz mountains. Click the link in our profile to see more photographs. (Image: Corbis, Arne Hodalic)
#NatGeoTravelStories // Follow our account this weekend as @JimRichardsonNG shares 12 remote travel recommendations from his Islands of Obsession photo series taken in Scotland's Hebrides and Orkney Islands. #6 Return to St. Kilda Now we come to an island of aching melancholy. St. Kilda and the story of the islanders echoes down history and clenches the heart of anyone who hears the tale. Once heard, the story almost always elicits a vow to visit this remote archipelago, out beyond the outer Outer Hebrides. Briefly here it is: After several thousand years of living on these craggy islands and beyond the ken and calling of more sedate mainland civilization, the islanders in their dwindling numbers had had enough. Facing starvation, they sent a note in a bottle on the sea petitioning the British government to take them away. On one day in 1930 two ships came. That was the last day people lived permanently on St. Kilda. Today a day trip will bring you here (if you are lucky and the weather holds), and you can climb up to the gap for a look down upon the abandoned village. You may stroll among the forlorn black houses, startling as you do some of the Soay sheep that now live wild (once again) on their island sanctuary. Perhaps you will wonder about human tenacity, and a longing will tug at your heart. If at some point your eyes do not well up with sadness, then you are made of sterner stuff than me. #islandobsession #scotland
#NatGeoTravelStories // Follow our account this weekend as @JimRichardsonNG shares 12 remote travel recommendations from his Islands of Obsession photo series taken in Scotland's Hebrides and Orkney Islands. #7 Sample the Whisky Island - The remedy for Scottish island melancholy is rare single malt whisky sipped slowly around a peat fire in a cozy island inn. For this I would send you to the Isle of Islay. You should pronounce this eye-luh and know that you are actually being redundant, since Islay means island in Scots Gaelic. Pronouncing the names of the island’s whiskies will be more difficult (try Laphroaig), but then learning such things is what long Scottish island evenings are for. Scottish single malt whiskies are eternally tied to their land. You can only make Caol Ila at the place called Caol Ila (which you see here); It’s both a place and a whisky. Such island distilleries live hard by the sea, and you can taste the sea breezes as you sip, as well as flavors of the island’s smoky peat, a bit of a bonfire on the beach, the aroma of seaweed, and island timelessness. It’s as if your nose can tour the tiny island from the comfort of an armchair, but if you are the exploring type then Islay has ten distilleries. No place evokes the history of Scottish whisky with so much power, nor layered with so many flavors, as Islay. (Eye-luh, remember?) #scotland #islandobsession
"Located up in the High Atlas Mountains at the edge of the Sahara Desert, you'll find the most dangerous road in Morocco. The cleft features cliffs towering up to 1,600 feet tall with some of the roads going through fissures only 30-feet wide. Driving down, I opened the window to let the wind in so I could let the acceleration ignite my adrenaline." -@thetravelsaurus Dades Gorge, Morocco Keep on sharing your most memorable and thrilling travel moments by tagging #passionpassport!
#NatGeoTravelStories // Follow our account this weekend as @JimRichardsonNG shares 12 travel recommendations from his Islands of Obsession photo series taken in Scotland's Hebrides and Orkney Islands. #10 Stones of Stenness: Time Before Time - Orkney has no shortage of mysterious places. These islands off the northeast tip of Scotland have one of the world’s greatest collections of ancient sites, lying thick on the land, places for the living and the dead, built 5,000 years ago and built to last. If I had to recommend just one, I think it would be the Stones of Stenness, the most ancient stone circle in the British Isles. This place is more than 700 years older than Stonehenge. But I don’t have to recommend just one because the others are only a mile or two away. Out in pastureland is Maeshow tomb, and up the road about a mile is the Ring of Brodgar, and in between is the new excavations at the Ness of Brodgar, a Neolithic temple complex. Another couple of miles will take you over to the coast to the Stone Age village of Skara Brae, so perfectly preserved you'll wonder if should be snooping into these people’s living rooms. And if in the evening a fog should roll in at Stenness, the mystery will deepen and you might listen for the whispers. #islandobsession #scotland
#NatGeoTravelStories // Follow our account this weekend as @JimRichardsonNG shares 12 travel recommendations from his Islands of Obsession photo series taken in Scotland's Hebrides and Orkney Islands. #11 At home in Papa Wetray - Stone Age villages are rare (of course) but in Orkney you can pick and choose. I love Skara Brae, but I’d encourage you to go further afield. Take the ferry up to Westray, and then the little ferry that will get you over to Papa Westray, home to all of about 70 people and the touching pair of neolithic house called the Knap of Howar. These are the oldest human dwellings in northern Europe, built around 3,800 BC, when the first farmers were settling the land, growing crops, and raising families. If you take a picnic along on a nice evening you’ll most likely have the twin rooms all to yourself, few people bother making the voyage I just set out for you. Should it rain you can shelter in the passageway that connects them. If not then the sun will set over Westray as you look out over the North Sea. #islandobsession #scotland To see a live lecture by @JimRichardsonNG, check out his upcoming National Geographic Live event, Islands of Obsession at: events.nationalgeographic.com/speakers
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A volcano blows its top in eastern Papua New Guinea: http://bit.ly/10x50B6 (Subscription Required)