Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Derwent Valley, Castleton and The Devil's Arse!


I had this day out and took these shot's at the beginning of June when all the rape was in bloom in the fields above High Bradfield. The cloud cover was kind to me as well, letting the sun burst through intermittently,  lighting up the yellow fields beautifully.

I love this area which is on the edge of The Peak District and can't thank Sal enough for introducing me to it. The view over Bradfield Dale to the distant Derwent Edge is one of our favourites and has to be one of the loveliest in the area. Coupled with this are a pair of nice pubs, a beautiful Church and a brewery which makes Bradfield an ideal stopping off point. No pubs for me today though.

Sal had often mentioned The Derwent Valley so I thought I'd go and have a bit of an explore and then drive on to Castleton. The moor road over to the main A57 passing Strines resounded with the call of the Curlews so I presumed it was their mating season. I love their call, it is an unmistakable, plaintive, and lonely 'cour-leee' from which apparently it derives its name.

The sun came out in The Derwent Valley so I parked the car up and went for nice walk along the permissive path which the Water Authority had kindly constructed. This area is a  magnet for cyclists and so was very busy. I tried to get a spot in the large carpark at the head of the reservoir so I could have another walk up there as well but it was chocca; the sunshine had certainly drawn out the crowds. Giving it up as a bad job, I made my was across to Castleton via Ladybower Reservoir. The Derwent Valley is an area I will definitely be going back to in the future and hopefully with Sal.

 I usually have a walk up into Cave Dale when I am in Castleton with the hope of having some decent light to get some photographs but the cloud won the day again. Cave Dale is a fascinating place, it's like a small limestone canyon and seems totally out of place in this area. It's more Yorkshire Dales scenery and wouldn't be out of place in the Malham or Three Peaks area.

I also had a walk up the the Devil's Arse or to give it it's Sunday name, "The Peak Cavern" which is a massive show cave at the rear of the town. Unfortunately the guided tour lasted an hour and I'd only put two on my parking ticket which had mostly been used up. The Devil's Arse was something else I'd have to leave for another day.

I'd had a good full day out though and also had better weather than I anticipated. Enjoy my photos.

Above Bradfield

Above Bradfield

Above Bradfield

Distant Derwent Edge from Bradfield

Above Bradfield

Road to Bradfield

Above Strines

Above Strines

Derwent Reservoit

Derwent Reservoir

Derwent Reservoir

The Devil's Arse, Castleton

Castleton

Castleton

Cave Dale, Castleton

Cave Dale, Castleton

Storm clouds above Castleton

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Lowry and the IWM North


Sal and I thought we'd have a change from the norm and decided to shoot across the Pennines to visit Salford Quays and in particular, the Lowry Gallery and Theatre. The M62 isn't my most favourite of road but at least it gets you there quickly. I don't think she was all that impressed with me showing her the Theatre of Dreams on our way but then again, I never expected her to be! A few wrong turnings and we arrived in the Imperial War Museum car park which is a very impressive modern structure.

It was designed by Polish born Daniel Libeskind who said that he sought to "create a building ... which emotionally moved the soul of the visitor toward a sometimes unexpected realisation". Libeskind envisaged a 'constellation composed of three interlocking shards'  with each shard being a remnant of an imagined globe shattered by conflict. These shards in turn represented air, earth and water, and each formed a functionally distinct part of the museum. The 55m high air shard, provides the museum's entrance way and a viewing balcony above the Manchester Ship Canal with views of the Manchester skyline.The earth shard houses the museum's exhibition spaces, while the water shard accommodates a cafe with views of the canal. We decided to make that our last port of call.

The Quays are a photographer's dream especially in clear sunny weather when all the modern structures are reflected off of each other because most are constructed mainly of glass and steel. Today was a rather dull day though but it still made for a pleasant walk and good photographs.

Our first port of call was the Lowry Complex for a customary cappuccino (which scored 10/10), followed by a walk around the galleries and it ended with Sal's traditional visit to the tat shop where, if I recall, she was very good and didn't buy a single thing. It's certainly vibrant, colourful and interesting building, .

We then had a walk around the Quays which have been very tastefully renovated over the years. It's surprising how quiet it is because you are only a stones throw from the hustle and bustle of Manchester. The only downside about the place was the lack of a decent pub. We called into the local Beefeater Inn but I can't say either of us was impressed.

Finally it was the Imperial War Museum which housed a mightily impressive display of wartime memorabilia and artifacts from the First World War onwards. Amongst the more up to date exhibitions was one of the Falklands War which I found interesting as I had a friend who was sent over there and served on HMS Bristol which was a decoy ship for the aircraft carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invinsible.

Another was by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller which examined the devastating impact of modern terrorist war. There were two main pieces to this, one was a car destroyed in the bombing of the historic Al-Mutanabbi street book market in Baghdad on 5 March 2007 and this was sitting next to a 7-metre piece of steel recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Centre.

The aftermath of the bombing was also shown on the walls of the main exhibition centre. For this the lights are all turned off for a 360-degree audio-visual reminder of what the survivors must have gone through. Seeing things like these really brings home the horrors of modern warfare. The bombing killed 38 people and wounded many more, no one has ever claimed responsibility for the attack.

We stayed there until it closed and I think we could really have stayed a lot longer. Then it was then back over on to the right side the Pennines and to Hebden Bridge for a pint before heading home.


Imperial War Museum

Part of Media Centre, The Quays

Golden Reflections

Bridge over The Ship Canal

Sal by the Lowry Centre

Part of the Outlet Shopping Centre

The Lowry

Lowry interior

Salford Quays

Salford Quays

The Theatre of Dreams

Bridge over the Quays

Salford Quays.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Trossachs


 I can't believe that this trip was the first opportunity I've had this year to re-visit the Trossachs, time just seems to have flown by. Having said that though, the Scottish weather has played it's part a bit. Every time I have planned a visit the forecast has been against me.

It was good to see that the upgrade to the A80 has been completed which made my journey up a lot quicker. I think it only too me just over two hours to get from Penrith up to Stirling. The weather started off beautifully sunny but started to cloud over as I neared Glasgow. By the time I was on the A80 there was thick low cloud and my spirits sunk somewhat. However as I approached Aberfoyle, the clouds started breaking and the rest of the day was beautiful.

I started off in Aberfoyle where I bought my provisions for the day at the excellent local bakery. Across the road to the Coop for drinks and then I was set for the day.

The first loch I arrived at was Loch Ard with it's famous boathouse. I don't think any photographer can pass this spot without taking a few shots of the jetty and boathouse with the backdrop of Ben Lomond. A few miles farther on the road and it wass Loch Chon. Fortunately my trip coincided with the bluebell season so the surrounding forest was a carpet of blue. This area is very popular with fishermen but it was very quiet, possibly due to the recent bad weather which suited me fine, lots of photos were taken.

I then drove up to Loch Arklet and was greeted by a cuckoo call which if  I remember rightly was there last year. Onwards down to Inversnaid by Loch Lomond and then back across to Stronachlachar on Loch Katrine for a late lunch in the delightful Pier Tea-rooms. My last port of call was was the far end of  Loch Katrine which was maybe only ten miles as the crow flies but it entailed driving back to Aberfoyle and then over the beautiful Dukes Pass. The pass is named after the Duke of Montrose who constructed the road in 1885. It was opened to the public in 1931 when the Forestry Commission acquired the land.

The weather and light were both gorgeous as I parked up by the old Trossachs Pier so I went for a walk along the loch side. The Loch was so still, it was giving some great reflections. These were unfortunately spoilt by a lone sailor but not before I had take some beautiful photos. I returned to the car at about six o'clock and began the long journey back to Cumbria. The advantage of returning so late was that the Glasgow traffic had quietened down so it was a speedy trip back to my caravan.

It had been a long but worthwhile day out.

Loch Ard

Boathouse. Loch Ard

Loch Ard

Loch Chon

Buttercups

Loch Chon

Loch Chon

Bluebells

Highland Cattle

Highland Cattle

Waterfall, Inversnaid

Loch Katrine pier

Reflections, Loch Katrine

Reflections, Loch Katrine

Reflections, Loch Katrine

Reflections, Loch Katrine

Looking down Loch Katrine

Road around Loch Katrine

Ben Venue

Loch Katrine

Loch Katrine

Close up at the RHS garden in Harrogate.

A series of shots I took at Harlow Carr RHS garden just outside of Harrogate. They were mostly taken with the Nikon 60mm f2.8 Micro lens. I...