Articles Chris Hill-Scott’s photo blog

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Kim Walker New Romney

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Kim Walker Denge

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Denge

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Denge

30ft

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Denge

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West Highland Line

24 / 4 / 2017

A train journey from Glasgow to Mallaig and back.

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Loch Treig

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Rannoch Moor

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Morar

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Morar

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Morar

Skinny dippers

Skinny dippers

Morar

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Mallaig

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Mallaig

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Mallaig

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Mallaig

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Mallaig

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Rannoch Moor

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Loch Lomond

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Denham

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Denham

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Denham

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Denham

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Denham

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Denham

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Denham

The walk from the old centre of Pisa to the airport took just over an hour. Without a suitcase or a heavy backpack there was no need for the expense of a taxi or the schedule of a bus.

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Pisa

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Pisa

Along the way I broke the no carrying rule. I stopped into a pasticceria and, using my best hand signals and words that sound similar in French and Italian, bought 300g of baked goods as a present for my colleagues.

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Self Pisa

I put my carrier bag in the plastic tray for its ride through the x-ray machine. It was strange to have something and then be apart from it.

On the plane I tucked it under the seat in front of me. I considered what else it could have held. Maybe some warmer clothes, a book or a proper camera. I considered these things not regretting their absence, but for the possibility that they represented—how little extra would be needed to go somewhere colder or away for longer.

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If you had to carry everything you owned around with you every day you’d probably choose to own a lot less stuff. Imagine taking a full-size, wheeled suitcase to work. Having to find somewhere to put it if you went out for dinner in the evening. Unpacking and repacking. This, somehow, is normal when we go abroad.

On a long journey, the amount carried is always minimal, relative to the number of weeks or months. You’re forced to think about what you need, rather than what you could bring.

These 5 days felt like one of those long journeys. The sense of freedom was the same.

I can’t know whether it would’ve been different with a bag. But I chose Cinque Terre because it was amenable to travelling in this way. And perhaps I loved it for the same reason: that there, I needed nothing else.

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Stansted Airport

It was time to go home. I took the Regionale train from Corniglia to La Spezia. With time to spare I wandered through the city and out to the harbour. There’s a lovely anonymity about going somewhere you didn’t plan to. Hidden even from your own imagination.

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La Spezia

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La Spezia

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La Spezia

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La Spezia

Back at the train station in La Spezia I caught the Inter City to Pisa. My flight home was just after lunchtime the next day.

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Carrara

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Pisa

Tuttomundo

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Pisa

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I stayed in a serviceable hotel near the leaning tower, which is spectacular in the way that a theme park is.

I wandered the backstreets as the glare of the afternoon turned into the glow of the evening. A smartphone is liberating in that way. You can walk towards a rough congruence of where you want to go and what looks interesting, and every now and then bring up the blue dot to course correct. For better or worse, it would be harder to give up the phone than it was to give up a few changes of clothes.

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Pisa

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Self Pisa

How to quickly dry clothes in a hotel room

How to quickly dry clothes in a hotel room

Pisa