Monday, 26 March 2012


Me, Chris and Dave recently had a trip down to Coniston Water as Chris wanted to go on an "electric" boat. Unfortunately her luck was out as it was out of season so had to board a "non-electric" launch down to Torver instead. The weather was beautiful with clear blue skies all round so the walk back along the lake shore was a pure joy.

We had an amusing interlude at Coniston Hall where the local farmer was attempting to round up his sheep but was having very little success. Instead of them going into the pen as intended, they continually evaded or broke free from both him and his sheep dogs. I don't really think he saw the funny side of things and his sheepdogs certainly didn't judging by his constant bellowing of obscenities towards them. Still we had a good chuckle as we watched the proceedings unfold.

He was still trying as we headed off towards Coniston desperately seeking out an ice cream shop. We tried the Coniston Fudge Shop who didn't sell ice cream but did sell fudge and Chris, unfortunately for Dave, fell foul of the assistant's sales pitch and came out carrying three bars of fudge.We decided on a pint instead just to calm Dave's shattered nerves.

We popped up the hill to The Sun Inn at the foot of the Old Man and had a couple of beautiful pints of Lowswater Gold whilst sitting outside in the beer garden. I can't recall being able to do that this early in the year before.

Sitting out there brought back some lovely memories of last summer when I came across to Coniston to see Sal. We always called into the Sun after out days out and had a quiet final drink here in the late evening sunshine. Happy times.

Coniston launch

The Gondola and The Old Man

Sal's camp site


Woods at Torver

Coniston Water from Torver

Woods near Torver

Coniston lakeshore path

Coniston Old Man

Coniston Hall Farm

Sheep gathering

Miners cottages, Coniston

Beer Garden with a view

Magnolia, Sun Inn

Magnolia, Sun Inn

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

'funkiest town in Britain'

Hebden Bridge was recently termed the 'funkiest town in Britain' by an article in a magazine and who am I to argue. It always sems friendly enough and certainly has an eclectic mix of people. One thing I do know is that in no other town have I ever seen a Bill Bailey lookalike wandering about with full beard and wearing a pink mini-skirt with matching black leggings and top plus high-heeled shoes. I'm told he is a local character plus he didn't seem to be turning many heads so I presume this is the case.

Anyway my visit wasn't to catch sight of the local drag queen but to pass away a couple of hours by having a walk along the Rochdale Canal. I was going up to the Lakes the following day so didn't really want to travel far and Hebden Bridge isg only about ten miles away as the crow flies.

It's hard to get excited when writing a blog about a canal because by nature they are flat and more or less straight and run through industrial areas but there was plenty of interesting things to photograph and see on my short walk. One interesting place was the Alternative Technology Centre and in particular the Cycle Recycle workshop. Here they take old bikes, parts and accessories and re-cycle them making new or re-furbished models.

I've later learned that I turned around just before reaching the Stubbing Wharfe pub which has a reputation for serving some excellent real ales. The pub was also featured in a poem by Poet Laureate Ted Hughes who had a rather eventful and tragic life and was born a few miles away in Mytholmroyd.

Before setting off back I did call in at one of the local hostelries, the White Lion for a pint. It had just been refurbished and was lovely inside but, come on, £3.50p is a bloody lot to pay for a pint even if it is Moorhouses!! 

It just goes to prove that being funky comes at a price.

Rochdale Canal

Rochdale Canal

Rochdale Canal

Rochdale Canal


Rochdale Canal

Colourful barge


A deranged mind!

Rochdale Canal

35 miles to go

Mighty Quinn

Ship's cat

Canal Reflection

Monday, 19 March 2012

An inhospitable landscape

This is a series of photos I took coming over the high road from Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria to Keld in Swaledale. It is probably the bleakest road I have been on and I certainly wouldn't like to break down on it. Today the weather was benign and quite pleasant even though there was a cold nip in the air but I have traveled across it in all kinds of weather; mist, rain, gales, the lot! Even the Pennine Way refuses to cross it and, once it has been over Great Shunner Fell, descends into the safety of Swaledale instead of sticking to this high inhospitable ground. I did spend a lot of time sat in the car waiting for the sun to break through the fast moving clouds but the curlews and skylarks kept me company..

 I did made a few friends on my journey as well. The local sheep thought I must have been the farmer bringing their feed and flocked to greet me when I got out of the car to take a photo. They were most bemused and a tad pissed off when they realised I had nothing for them.

I imagine I could travel this road another dozen times before I get light and weather like this so make the most of these photos, they could become collectors items!!

Distant High Pike Hill

Sheiling, Birkdale Common

Looking towards High Seat

Birkdale Common

A case of mistaken identity 1

A case of mistaken identity 2

A case of mistaken identity 3

High Seat and Birkdale Common

Looking back to High Pike Hill

Birkdale Common

Back of Mallerstang Common

Back of Mallerstang Common

Birkdale Common

Birkdale Common with Gt Shunner Fell behind.

Birkdale Common with Gt Shunner Fell behind.

Sunday, 18 March 2012


I must apologise for being a bit behind with my photo blogging. These shots of Derwentwater were taken a couple of weeks ago and I just don't seem to have had the time since then to sit down and gather my thoughts.

The caravan site was pretty quiet and none of my close friends were there so I made an early start due to the good weather. I must point out at this stage that an early start for me is about half nine!

The skies were clear which didn't really bode well for photography but bits of fluffy clouds appeared as I made my way down Borrowdale and by the time I had parked up by the Lodore landing stage, the top of Skiddaw was covered.

I was joined by a couple of mute swans, one of which was very accommodating and posed perfectly for my photographs, the other seemed to spend most of it's time with it's head submerged and it's arse stuck up in the air. The Canada Geese proved a bit more troublesome but I find that if you throw a pebble at them and make that scatter, you can get some good "take off" shots. I should clarify this and say I throw the pebble near them at not at them!

The cloud started to lift off of Skiddaw so I replaced my normal lens with a 10mm wide-angle lens and managed to get the whole of the Skiddaw range plus the lifted clouds and lake shore all in one shot. They turned out to be amongst the best shots I've ever taken of this part of Derwentwater.

I love Derwentwater, Sal says it is my "muse" ie my source of inspiration and who am I to argue. All I know is that it very rarely lets me down. Even in the grimmest of conditions I can fine beauty and peacefulness in it. I love to go down there late evening time, long after the day trippers have departed and just sit and listen to it's wildlife and it's waters rippling against the launches and shoreline. Also there can't be many finer views in the whole of the Lakes.

Derwentwater and Skiddaw

Mute Swan

Lodore Landing Stage and Skiddaw
Wide angled shot of Skiddaw from Lodore
Wide angle shot of  Skiddaw and Derwentwater
Canada Geese taking flight
Swan on the Lake
Lodore Landing

Scattering geese on Derwentwater


It must have been over twenty years since I was last in Cartmel and as you'd expect from this sleepy corner of Cumbria, the place hadn&#...