In recent years the growing use of drones has made aerial photography much more affordable . Along with drones there have been other major advances in aerial photography itself with the use of Lidar which has enabled archaeologists to find historical sites hidden by forestry plantations.
Aerial photography
In recent years the advent of the drone has revolutionized the art of aerial photography but unfortunately it has come too late to record many important and significant changes in our landscape.
Another important change in the past fifteen years has been the introduction of Google Earth which does give us the ability to look at recent aerial pictures of our neighbourhood. However to look at past aerial photographs using Google Earth , one has to use the old version of Google to access these.
A great resource however is the online map service provided by the National Library of Scotland . This enable one to look at an ordnance survey map going back say to 1858 and to use the slider bar to reveal an aerial photograph of the current view from the air. This is done with great accuracy and is a wonderful tool.
Using a combination of modern techniques I have managed to locate the site of some Prehistoric huts near Hyndford House and the adjacent quarry. Interestingly one of the houses has been built over another. I decided to do this as I was informed that there were archaeological investigations going on in that area. Whilst I was doing that I also found a Prehistoric hut to the north of Robiesland Farm. It will be interesting to find out what the archaeologists unearth as it is possible that these dwellings could date back to the Bronze Age about 2000 -1000 B.C , there again it may be that they belong to the Celtic Iron Age . Why? There is an Iron Age Crannog nearby which may have some bearing on the date.
As for myself, I have been involved in aerial photography for over forty years since my first aerial sortie. That was in a Gruman spotter plane dating back to 1943, an excellent plane for aerial photography. The photograph for this article was taken in September 2001 at which point in time I was in a Cherokee Archer which was another great platform for aerial photography.
In 2001 I photographed Lanark and New Lanark as well as many other places. I have a number of aerial shots which I have put up on Clydesdale’s Heritage on Facebook including the view for this article.
I have chosen this picture as a way of illustrating the importance of regular aerial photography. The changes since this photograph was taken are quite revealing. This was taken pre Lanark Street Scape which has not proved an unqualified success as traffic now struggles up the High Street causing more pollution.
I am not going to go through each change but I can assure readers that they will be able to spend a profitable half an hour noting all the changes that have taken place over the past twenty years.
ED Archer July 2021