The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #34



by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

Well, the snow, the large body of water frozen, and the dull twilight sky suggest that this is somewhere in the extreme northern latitudes.  I'm going to be different from everyone else who will probably guess Alaska or Iceland and go with Churchill, Manitoba.  It sits on a large body of water, Hudson Bay, that would likely be frozen solid at this time of year (which leads to the town being a big tourist haven for people who want to watch polar bears).

Another writes:

I never even attempt these contests because I'm intimidated by the sheer amount of work people seem to put into the posted correct responses. But in this case, the photo reminded me so strongly of Deadhorse, Alaska that I felt compelled to try. I spent a summer there after high school working for an oil company as a "stickpicker", picking up debris that gets swept to the tundra while the snow is high and must be cleaned up during the summer thaw lest it endanger the local wildlife. My dad (an oil company employee, who had gotten me the stickpicking job) also had tons of pictures of the "town" during the winter, and this could be one of them.


Based on the short distance between waves, I would infer that this is located on one of the Great Lakes. One thing I’ve learned living in Michigan is that waves on the Lakes are “closer” than oceanic waves (don’t ask me why). I’m going to guess that this is Kingston, Ontario. I really don’t have any profound reason to say so, other than I am currently reading Margaret Atwood’s novel Alias Grace, which is partially set in Kingston, and I’m a great believer in serendipity.


Is this Fort Ontario, in Oswego, New York? Looks like the furthermost eastern shore of the Great Lakes. I know them well, having attended college on the same shore just 1/2 mile away.  Burr.


I can't pinpoint it, but this looks to be a photo from somewhere in the vicinity of Skagen, Denmark. I'm guessing that's the Kattegat Sea out there, and that's the coast of Sweden visible on the horizon. What I can't find exactly is that stone house with the chimney. Darn.


The photo was taken from the third floor of a house in the Molbogholman area, on the island of Skorpa, near the town of Kristiansund, Norway. Judging by the relative reflections of the window, the cameraperson was sitting on the edge of a bed, probably the "Bjørn Irkestøm-Slater Walker" model.


Kirkwall, Orkney, in northern Scotland? Several clues were preset. The house on the Screen shot 2011-01-25 at 1.26.39 AMedge of the frame is unmistakably Scottish and there are possible runway lights, indicating we are close to an airport.  Kirkwall seems to be the only airport close to the coast and the photo vantage point is clearly where the airport perimeter is closest to the coast. The light is also that of midwinter Scotland.

Here is a screenshot from Google's satellite view. There is some sort of tower visible at the highest magnification and this would be the actual vantage point.  I also include an image of the airport for illustrative purposes (and probably fair use) and it shows the low headland and a wider expanse of similarly flat terrain behind it.


I believe this is RAF Leuchars airbase, in Fife, Scotland.  The block of flats is unmistakably built of Scottish stone, and the body of water is the local estuary.  The snow on the ground would not be surprising for January in that area.


Inverness, Scotland? Just a guess. I spent a year in Aberdeen doing graduate work, and in viewing this photo I began to feel as depressed as I felt during that year of bleakness.


Instant reaction - that's St. Andrews!

Looking north along the beach, with a tricksied-out snow-covered Old Course on the left. RAF Leuchars in the background, almost, at the other side of the inlet. Sheesh - haven't been there since I was a laddie.



The Home of Golf.  Just across Links street from the 18th Hole of the over five centuries old “Old Course.”  White golf balls not recommended in January.


This is a view from the Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews across the middle of the 18th and 1st holes, made somewhat tricky by the fact you can't see the famous bridge over Grannie Clark's Wynd. The four bright lights in the background I assume are from Leuchars Airforce base - soon to be closed down.  I originally thought this was the Moray Firth and Inverness airport, but a bit of effort on Google maps yielded the right answer.


Finally, a VFYW that I recognize!  Although I wasn't entirely sure at first, the giveaways are the tire tracks across the Old Course and the wire meshing on a section of the sand dunes (they were damaged last year during a storm and they're meant to re-establish and protect that section).  It's also helps that I've lived here for going on three years now!


It looks like the North Sea on the right and the Old Course off to the left. It's probably around 3PM and already twilight. All sensible Scotsmen are already at their favorite pub.


The way these contests have been going, I know I’ll lose to someone who was conceived in that room and later shattered its window with an errant slice from the Old Course.  The closest I’ve been to St. Andrews was hitchhiking down that coast from Aberdeen in the seventies as a college student. I got a lift from two gregarious Scots who took me along on their all-day pub-crawl down the coast. When, at each new pub, I’d try to turn down the second dram, one would fix me with a squint and say “Aahndy, yer too serious”.  He was right.


It's Saturday and I don't want to work on my English paper so I'm scrolling through the Daily Dish expecting to log maybe five solid minutes of procrastination. And two hours later this is what I've got:

I recognized that beach View1immediately as the West Sands of St Andrews. I spent last fall semester abroad at St Andrews University, and on nice days I would run or play frisbee on that beach. On windy or rainy ones, I'd detour by this beach on my routes to and from class to watch the waves froth (as they're starting to do in the photo). The path that cuts through the middle is Grannie Clark's Wynd, where it's wise to look both ways and up before crossing unless you're looking to add a golf-ball-sized lump to the top of your head.

The general location was easy but it took me a bit of work to find which building this was taken from. After a bit of work with Google Streetview, I have to conclude that this picture must have been taken from a room in the Macdonald Rusacks Hotel, located between The Links and Links Crescent, right off the 18th green. The wall on the right side of the VFYW image is also part of the Rusacks hotel, and there are only a few other windows in the hotel from which this wall would be visible, so I've circled in my first attached image the exact window that this picture was taken from.

More evidence attached. Here are the hyperlinks for the Streetviews that I've used: View1, View2, View3, View4. Thanks for the opportunity for procrastination!


Upon my first glance at this, I thought "wow, this is a hard one." Then the British Open popped into my head.  I've never been to St. Andrews or to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, but as a fan of golf, I recognized the architecture of the building's edge as being similar to some of the buildings I have seen around at least one of the Open Championship courses.


ViewFromYourWindowStAndrews This was the first VFYW that I got instantaneously, as I imagine just about any hardcore golf fan would.  I've never been to the old course, but my father has, and I recognized the terrain and style of building from the photos he brought back.

After that it was simply a matter of tracking down exactly which building the view was taken from.  Attached is a screen grab from GoogleEarth.


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