Thursday, 1 December 2016

Misty Morning on the West of Dartmoor

This morning was totally irresistible.  The layers of mist curling along the valleys was stunning, I simply had to nip onto Dartmoor for a quick walk.

What a place to live.

Mist in the Trees with Dartmoor Behind

Misty Streaks up the Lyd Valley

Monday, 21 November 2016

New Website for StarBed Hideaways

Just launched a new website I've done for StarBed Hideaways at Buckland Abbey.  They provide THE most luxurious glamping experience you could imagine.  It's just been reviewed in the Sunday Telegraph.  A couple of photographs and a link to whet your appetite:

Luxury Glamping
StarBed Hideaway Luxury Glamping
Halcyon StarBed Hideaway
Star Watching by the Firepit

Monday, 14 November 2016

Dartmoor Autumn Landscape Photographs - Part 4

Popped up the back of Sheeps Tor a few days ago, initially in haze.  By the time I got to the top, having explored the Bronze Age four concentric stone circles at Yellowmead, the air was achingly clear.  The views and colours were superlative.

Leather Tor Viewed from Sheeps Tor, Dartmoor

Sheeps Tor, Dartmoor

Dartmoor Panorama from Sheeps Tor to Leather Tor

Friday, 11 November 2016

Dartmoor Autumn Landscape Photographs - Part 3

Yes, more orange and green pictures.  The Autumn has been THAT good.

This time, near the ruins of Deancombe Farm near Burrator, Dartmoor.  Ambled up from Norsworthy Bridge, by Deancombe and then up the back of Sheepstor (that'll be Part 4).

Dartmoor Autumn Colours Near Deancombe, Burrator

Dartmoor Autumn Colours Near Deancombe, Burrator

Dartmoor Autumn Colours at Norsworthy Bridge, Burrator

Dartmoor Autumn Colours at Norsworthy Bridge, Burrator

Monday, 7 November 2016

Dartmoor Autumn Landscape Photographs - Part 2

I walked Cosmo around Cullever Steps near Okehampton Camp for a quick fix of dog exercise and sanity-preserving wilderness.  Tucked away in nooks on the moor are beautiful clusters of natural aesthetic, showing off in particular this Autumn.  Backlit grasses in a low sun, misty sunlight straining through yellow ferns and dew clinging to Rowan berries and hawthorns.  These little wonders can lift the soul just when you need it.

Anyway, a few more photographs from the delights of Cullever Steps on Dartmoor.

Dartmoor Black-a-ven Brook in Autumn
Dartmoor Black-a-ven Brook Pool near Cullever Steps in Autumn
Dartmoor Black-a-ven Brook near Cullever Steps in Autumn

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Dartmoor Autumn Landscape Photographs - Part 1

I don't think I can remember an Autumn like this one.  At all.  Usually a Dartmoor Autumn is typified by brown soggy leaves that turn swiftly into mush in the rain with frantic winds that cannot move them.  Not this Autumn; this one has been absolutely glorious.  We have bathed in warm sunny days with little wind for weeks.  Instead of the leaves turning brown and being whipped off their branches by a series of storms, we have been given a display by Mother Nature, like Gaia's very own firework display in slow motion.  (As an aside, I actually met Professor Lovelock who originally proposed the Gaia Hypothesis back in the 1070s - an incredible man and gentleman scientist across all fields.)

The leaves stop producing chlorophyll which makes them green.  This let the other pigments show, like carotenoids (yellow and orange) and anthocyanins (red, pink and purple).

The beech trees seems to be particularly good with their carotenoids I must say.

Here are a few photographs from a Burrator Walk.

Dartmoor - Burrator Beeches in Autumn
Dartmoor - Burrator Beeches and wall in Autumn

Dartmoor - River Meavy at Burrator in Autumn

Dartmoor - River Meavy at Norsworthy Bridge, Burrator in Autumn

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Autumn Sunrise over Dartmoor

What a beautiful morning today.  There was mist in the valleys and clear skies above.  A quick jaunt up Pork Hill to Cox Tor car park and I couldn't help myself; I had to stop and take a photograph of the dawn over Tavistock.  I wasn't the only one.  A fellow photographer was just finishing before going on his way.  We exchanged nods and smiles; words unnecessary.

Great Mis Tor was showing off as usual, drying out in the low sun and throwing a huge shadow over the Staple Tors.

Having a wilderness on your doorstep is such  a privilege.

Dawn over Tavistock from Pork Hill

Sunrise over North Hessary Tor and Mast

Mistor Pan Rock Basin - Royal Forest Boundary Marker on Great Mis Tor

Dartmoor Abstract - land and clouds reflect - or is it just me?

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Tavistock Goose Fair 2016 - Funfair Colour Fest

An brief visit to Rowlands Fairground at Tavistock's Goose Fair last night allowed me to top up on more night colour scenes.  They're addictive.  The patterns and colour clearly appeal to the OCD in me.

Tavistock Goose Funfair 2016
Tavistock Goose Funfair Dodgems 2016

Tavistock Goose Funfair Dodgem 2016
Tavistock Goose Funfair Waltzer 2016

Tavistock Goose Funfair Waltzer 2016

Tavistock Goose Funfair 2016

Thursday, 6 October 2016

The Milky Way from Our Back Garden

Such benign weather we are having; a truly golden Autumn, with warm sun and crunchy leaves.  We have also had some beautiful night skies and shooting stars.  I had my first attempt at photographing the Milky Way from our house; we are so lucky where we live.

Milky Way from Tavistock

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Crystal Clear Day for Abbot's Way on Dartmoor 2016

What an absolutely glorious day for the annual Abbot's Way walk across Dartmoor -Buckfast to Tavistock along the paths marked by ancient crosses for the monks who travelled between them.

Friday, 26 August 2016

A Spectacular Crepuscular Sunset on Dartmoor

Evening DSRT training on Dartmoor allowed us to witness one of the best sunsets on Dartmoor I have ever seen.  The crepuscular rays were stunning.  I kept tripping over just watching the sky change by the second.  I only had my iPhone, but it did a reasonable job of recording it.

Dartmoor Sunset with Crepuscular Rays

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Tavicinity Goes to Snowdonia

Summer holiday of sorts allows for a few days in Snowdonia.  The camera did not make it out of its bag due to excessive fog and rain.  Really excessive fog.  So, the photographs are iPhone's finest, but capture the time when we did see the dun briefly climbing down the north face of Tryfan.

Did Snowdon via Crib Goch in ridiculous fog and high winds.  Not really recommended (in terms of safety, but great fun).

Then did the horseshoe and finally dropped out of the cloud.  Next day was up Devil's Kitchen to Glyders (again in fog) then up Tryfan and down its north face (tricky).  But, the sun emerged and all was forgiven.
The Path to Ideal Slabs, Glider Range

Up Devil's Kitchen, Snowdonia
View coming down North Face of Tryfan, Snowdonia

Me on the Canon on Tryfan

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Haytor Rocks and Quarries - Lush Beauty in Dereliction

Crossing back over the moor from Bovey Tracey I decided to revisit Haytor before the inevitable crowds turned up on a rare sunny morning in Dartmoor's summer.  Where is our summer?  Did I miss it?

We scrambled up and onto the summit to sample the fierce winds blowing.  The smell of fresh bracken in the air was amazing.

Hayer Rockface and clouds

The quarries around the back of Haytor are fascinating.  Opened around 1820 by George Templer to produce fine grained 'blue' granite for building London Bridge.

You can walk through the quarry and out the other side.  The pits are filled with water, lily pads and rushes and look beautiful.  Even the old rusty derrick from a crane looks charming.

Haytor Quarry and Lily Pads

Haytor Quarry Pond and Crane Derrick Base
Hayer Quarry and Foxgloves

Hayer Granite Tramway - Templer Way
Out of the quarries you encounter the granite tramway than transported the granite to Teigngrace (8.5 miles).

Follow the tramway round to Holwell quarry and you pass a superb granite apple crusher that has come a cropper during transport, and the quarry itself which has stunning views over the Becka Brook valley towards the famous Hound Tor.

Best of all is the quarryman's beehive hut hidden on a ledge just beyond the quarry floor and tramway.  Truly a hidden gem.

Beehive Quarryman's Hut at Holwell Quarry

Saturday, 4 June 2016

White Tor and Langstone Stone Circle on Dartmoor

Weather doesn't get much better than this; a pleasantly warm air temperature, light breeze and fabulous sky.  Dartmoor looks like a picnic rug in this.  It's all deep blues and greens, not much yellow or brown in May and early June.  Wondrous.  I've even kept my photographs in colour to prove the point. (mostly)
So, up the Smeardown Down track and a quick glance back at the green and pleasant land.

Then on to Setters Tor.

Another glance back along to Boulters Tor.

Finally a sunny stroll to the Langstone Menhir and Langstone Stone Circle.

These were both used as target practice during the Second World War.  The menhir has bullet holes in it still and the stone circle (previously restored in the 19th century) has been shattered; bits of standing stones lie around broken stumps.  Heartbreaking.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Abbot's Way in May

I decided to do a solo Abbot's Way walk, as you do.  Strictly speaking it's not solo as Cosmo was my walking buddy.  The conversation got a bit one sided towards the end though.

So, I started 6:30am this morning from Tavistock and finished at 4pm at Buckfast Abbey.  9.5 hours and a little over 21 miles.  I didn't take my camera (it's amazing how weight-conscious you become at the prospect of lugging stuff over the moor for a day).  So I only have a few phone-snaps to share.  Be happy I haven't included a picture of my blister.  It's a doozy.

Early sun-beams on Whitchurch Common

View over West Devon near Hollow Tor

Merrivale Bridge

View to Staple Tors

Avon Valley
Old Clapper near Cross Furzes
Abbot's Way off the Moor & into Bluebells

Buckfast Abbey