Saturday, 5 December 2015

Spitchwick Winter Highlights

A brief gap in our weather stormathon saw me traipsing up to Leigh Tor the hard way (through the bracken and brambles with boulders buried beneath - nothing like an alliteration to wake up the ears).

The trip allowed me to explore Spitchwick Common and New Bridge.  I give you a few OKish photos:

New Bridge, Spitchwick - Medieval, built c1413

Silver Birch below Leigh Tor Dartmoor

Woodland clinging to cliff by River Dart, Dartmoor

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Shared Planet Parliament walk to Crockern Tor - a Message to COP21 that responding to Climate Change Matters

Dartmoor mizzle with 50 mph winds saw at least 100 people trudge up to Crockern Tor from Two Bridges, some carrying a near life-size polar bear.  The atmosphere was great and it felt good to be there.  Crockern Tor was the site of the ancient Stannary Parliament, where meetings were held in the open air for the governance of the tin industry from early medieval times.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Grenofen by the Walkham River - Remember Sunshine?

I don't know about you, but I NEED the sun, and not just filtered through the clouds to give life.  If I don't see it for a while I start to wither.  So, amid the grey gloom of mizzle that currently resides over Dartmoor and Tavistock, I am posting some shots of the River Walkham at Grenofen when the sun made a rare appearance, just so I don't forget what light at 5500°K looks like (nerdy photographer's reference there, sorry).

River Walkham at Grenofen

Back-lit trees in Autumn at Grenofen

Autumn on Walkham River at Grenofen

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Sunrise over Tavistock from Barn Hill

A beautiful sunrise on Dartmoor.  Firstly, the mist around North Hessary gave the appearance of flames for a firey sunrise, then the view over Tavistock was calm.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Wild Camp on Dartmoor - Blanket Bog and Golden Light

The weather on Monday was glorious, with the promise of more on Tuesday morning.  That did it for me - a solo wild camp on Dartmoor was on.  (One of the benefits of being self-employed - I can massage my working hours.)

Cosmo & I camped by the East Dart River near Sandy Hole Pass, having hiked up to Flat Tor and experienced the delights of blanket bog.

The Dartmoor Mires Project is currently monitoring restoration work up there.  It is not an easy place to walk through.

Anyway, a lovely camp and back to Postbridge after watching the sunrise.  25km in all.

The golden light on the hills was breathtaking.  A few shots:

Dartmoor Mires Project Area

Sunrise in the East Dart River Valley

Morning sunlight skims the hills

Sunlight starts to warm up the day

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Combestone Tor, Dartmoor - Morning Light and the Treasures of the O Brook

Snuck in a walk all around Combestone Tor this morning, after nearly veering off the road whilst looking at the amazing slithers of fog that were floating around the moor in the morning light.  (I swear my vehicular comeuppance will be from gazing at nature's wonders or when a spider decides to abseil from the car ceiling into my face.)

Combestone has to be the most accessible tor on Dartmoor, but it's a good one; great rock basins and loads archaeological history all around it.

A colour photograph of the tor (unusually for me - it really was like that.  Beautiful.)

Combestone Tor, Dartmoor - Morning Sunlight

A more conventional photograph, at least for me...

Walked down the O Brook to the amazing blowing houses at Week Ford.  I've never seen so many fantastic mortar stones (at least 16 basins).

O Brook near Week Ford

Mortar Stone from tin stamp at Week Ford Blowing House

Monday, 28 September 2015

Tavy Cleavage in All its Glory - Dartmoor's Hidden Gem

Had the most amazing wild camp on Dartmoor this weekend at Tavy Cleave.  The weather has been a gift, gratefully received and used.

The Cleave was stunning, especially in the evening and at first light; the low sun carved deep shadows out of the hills and the River Tavy was as busy as usual, cascading down the steep gradients.  It was, however, extremely cold as a quick dip proved within 0.3 seconds of entering the water before hyperventilating whilst scrambling to get out again.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Watern Tor and Tolmen Stone - Big Holes in Stone on Dartmoor

I rounded the Gertaven Mire recently, taking in Rival Tor, Watern Tor, Manga Rock and the North Teign River at Scorhill Down.

It was the first time I had some time to study the granite at Watern Tor.  It is text book pressure release jointing of the finest order.  Two of the outcrops have been so weathered as to form what they call a 'Thurlestone" meaning holed stone like the arch at Thurlestone Bay.  Though not strictly a hole, it was once and now offers a pleasing profile:

Watern Tor "Thurlestone", Dartmoor

Watern Tor "Thurlestone", Dartmoor

Further on, near Scorhill is the famous Tolmen Stone, also meaning hole in stone (Celtic).  This is fabulous - the river has eroded basins in a massive granite boulder with small rocks constantly spinning in them with the eddies of the flow.  Over millennia these smooth basins enlarge to the point where the bottom is removed, leaving a hole.

It's interesting to think of the normal river levels over the past 30,000 years or so that would have made this possible.

Passing through the stone is suppose to bring healing benefits, so long as you don't fall into the river and break your leg.

Having photographed it, I did the deed and felt ridiculous and pleased.

Tolmen Stone in North Teign River, Dartmoor

Friday, 18 September 2015

Sheepstor at Dawn on a Misty Morning

Coming back over Dartmoor after an early morning in Plymouth, I stopped near Sheepstor with a coffee to see if the sunrise would give a show.  It didn't, but the mist was interesting...

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Italy 2015 - Medieval Aesthetics and Chic

Just a few snaps from Bella Italia, Umbria to be precise.  Beautiful architecture, food and some OK kids I suppose.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

New York City

On a bit of a catch-up here.  Busy busy busy.....Snuck in tag-along trip to New York last month.  Endless - surprises, buildings, people and opportunities.  Love it.

Here are some pictures of iconic New York City.

New York Billboards

New York Bus

New York streets in the morning

Walkway to One World Trade Centre Tower

Monday, 29 June 2015

Rose Petals in garden - new Nikon Micro 200mm 1:4D lens

I've been wanting to do some macro photography for a while and researched the best lenses for my camera and quickly realised that this lens, although old, has a monumental reputation for quality and crispness.

I am thrilled with it.  I only had a 10 minute play in the garden, but WOW! I love it.  Prepare to be macroed.

Poppy Seed Heads - hand held

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Field of Poppies in Cornwall

Had a quick weekend of surfing and camping at Pollyjoke; one of the best campsites and beaches in Cornwall.

On the hill on the way to the pub for a well-earned (not!) pub meal and bevy, came across a field of poppies which was literally breathtaking.

Field Poppies in Cornwall

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Lew Wood, near Coryton

Beautiful sunshine on the new beech leaves yesterday during my morning walk with the mut.

How lucky we are.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Bristle Bent Grasses at Knack Mine, Steeperton on Dartmoor

I've just been writing up about Steeperton Tor, and its nearby tinners hut (brilliantly preserved) and mining activity (fascinating).

I wanted to share this photograph of the almost indiscernible mine platform of Knack Mine (originally called Wheal Virgin, in 1799).

The tinner's hut even has a little cubby hole shelf at one end.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

More from Lofoten Islands - Mountains, Ice, Sea and Fish. Lots of fish.

A few more shots from Lofoten, showing Spring in Northern Norway.  We totally lucked-out with the weather, seeing not only an incredible display of the aurora borealis, but during the days had cloud free skies.  The wind was icy though and lots of places smelt of fish.  A lot.

The sea was so clear - there seems to be no sediment around, giving glimpses of deep green water at the edge of the fjords.

And so to the fish.  The temperature and humidity here (i.e. zero for both mainly) means than drying fish in early spring enables the massive catches of cod to be preserved and exported.  Massive triangular hanging racks are everywhere, laden with cod; their heads removed and stored in bunches on the lower racks.  It is big business and an ancient business.  And it smells.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Solar Eclipse on Dartmoor

It was a bit last minute, but I decided to take a punt on photographing the partial eclipse using just Neutral Density (ND) filters.  Bit of a risk really, could fry the camera's sensor, so decided to use old camera.

Unfortunately, with FX lens on DX camera, plus teleconverter, plus 2 x ND400 filters taped together meant there was too much glass and interfaces to get a clean image.

Ho hum.  I'll show it anyway:

Yes, it's fuzzy, but it's OUR sun.  How cool is that?

More Lofoten Islands photographs soon......

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Aurora Borealis in Lofoten Islands, Norway

I know that it isn't exactly local, but I just have to share some photographs from a long weekend in Norway's incredible Lofoten Islands with a brilliant friend:

Monday, 9 March 2015

Fox Tor and Childe's Tombe on Dartmoor

A finally managed to get to Fox Tor recently, my first visit, having negotiated around the edge of the infamous Fox Tor Mire (inspiration for Conan Doyle's 'Grimpen Mire').

An interesting feature of Fox Tor is the so-called "Mammoth's Skull" (Named as such by Eric Hemery).  It's actually two adjacent rock basins on a toppled slab, but looks at first glance like the eye sockets of a, well, mammoth:

Nearby is Childe's Tombe, supposed to mark the place where Childe, a Saxon Hunter, was stranded in a terrible storm.  In an attempt to survive, he disemboweled his horse and climbed inside.  Unfortunately it was not enough to save him.  Grim.

That's it for today, folks - enough of eye sockets, skulls and disemboweled horses...