A Southwold Birthday

I always like to visit the seaside on my birthday. This week we were blessed with excellent weather for the 16th, so we decided to venture south-east, and to see somewhere in Suffolk, instead of Norfolk. Southwold is a genteel town on the East Coast. Recent popularity with visitors from London, and others buying second homes there, has also made it a desirable destination, as well as prohibitively expensive to buy property in the town.
(The photos all look better if they are enlarged)

The pier was built in 1900, and is as popular today as it ever was. Unlike some coastal piers in this country, it conceals its commercial side very well.

Along the pier is the famous water-powered clock. The metalwork is suffering a little from exposure to the elements, but it still tells the correct time!

Further into the town, you will discover the imposing St Edmund’s Church. It was built in 1430, and is considered to be one of the best examples in the county.

Unusually, Southwold’s lighthouse is in the town centre, rather that at the edge of the coast. It still operates today, and has been seen in many films and TV series too.

The town is dominated by Adnams Brewery, which still operates in its original premises there, brewing Suffolk’s famous beer. There is a popular Brewery Tour, run every day. As well as a small market, held in the old Market Place, the town has a wealth of small shops, delicatessens, and restaurants. Most are of the ‘exclusive’ kind, catering to the many wealthy new residents. A visit there is highly recommended, as it will give you a snapshot of the British Seaside, almost unchanged for over 100 years.

The Lakes: More great photos!

I am pleased to report that my good friend and companion for the trip to the Lake District has now put up a selection of his photos onto his own website. Please follow the link for a great shot of Ollie, as well as some truly arresting images of the region.
While you are there, you can take the opportunity to look at some of Antony’s other photos, including London, the South Coast, and some abstracts too.
Feel free to add any comments on this post, or by using Antony’s contact page on the website.

**Update** As Antony has now closed his site, pending a transfer to a blogging platform, I have removed the link to that site for now. This is a link to his new blog, and more Lake District photos will appear soon. In the meantime, enjoy his roundup of 2016, as well as some great photos of London.

2016 Photo round up



The Lakes: Pete and Ollie

All photos are large files, and can be clicked on for detail.

Antony has kindly sent some of the many photos he took of myself and Ollie. I know that most of you love to see Ollie, so I have overcome the embarrassment of seeing myself looking worn out, to show you a selection.

Head down, determined to get to the top.

We made it to the gate!

A well-earned rest.

I hope that you enjoy these extra photos. I am sure that you will agree that Antony excelled himself with these.

Grasmere: The last day

All photos are large files, and can be clicked on for detail.

Grasmere is a picture-perfect village in the centre of the Lake District. It has famous literary associations, not least with the poet William Wordsworth. He lived in the village for many years, and is buried in the churchyard of St Oswald’s. Other famous writers known to have stayed there include Sir Walter Scott, Thomas de Quincy, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This has all led to the village being very popular with tourists, as well as making house prices unaffordable for most people. There is also the small lake of Grasmere nearby, which we did not go to on that occasion.

Because of all the aforementioned tourists, I didn’t bother to take any photos of the village. Anyone interested in seeing or learning more about the place can follow this Wikipedia link, or search Google images. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grasmere

We were there to make the hike up to Easedale Tarn, passing the small but attractive waterfall on the way. Unfortunately, it was another very dull day, but I took some photos anyway.

Once at the tarn, we stopped for lunch. A local shepherd was rounding up a large scattered flock. He was using a quad-bike, and two very thin collie dogs. His shouting and whistling attracted Ollie’s attention, and he walked into the frame. (Ollie’s image is not sharp in this photo. I was focusing on the centre of the shot at the time.)

Trying to get a wider shot of the tarn, I stepped onto what I thought was solid ground, only for my left leg to sink into a muddy bog! I managed to pull it out, but had to spend some time cleaning off my boot and trouser leg. I chose a firm path for the eventual photo.

On the long walk back down to the village, using a different route, I took this photo of some dilapidated farm buildings. The sheep farmer has moved to a modern complex much lower down, and these have been abandoned to nature.

This proved to be the last photo I took during my trip to the Lake District. We went out to eat in Keswick that night, and left for home at 9.30 the next morning.

Ashness Bridge and Walla Crag

All photos are large files, and can be clicked on for detail.

Thursday was our last but one day of the holiday, and we set off in another morning of dull weather. The plan was to take the short ferry trip to Ashness Bridge, on the eastern side of Derwent Water. From there, we would make the climb up to Walla Crag, which has panoramic views over Keswick, and the lake. After getting off the boat at the first stop, there was a short steep ascent to the bridge.
Antony informed me that this was the most photographed spot in the region.

As we continued up to the crag, the weather improved slightly. I got this shot of the view behind us. The cluster of white houses you can see is the town of Keswick, in the distance below.

After my exertions going up Helvellyn, I must have been getting used to the walking, as the final push up to the crag didn’t seem so bad at all. Once at the top, we unloaded our gear, and enjoyed a rest, and our lunch, as we admired the views of the lake, the islands, and the town beyond. It was well-worth the climb, especially as the weather had brightened up too.

During the walk back into Keswick, we encountered the only consistent heavy rain of the whole trip, as we walked through lower woodland. That lasted for less than thirty minutes, but it did mean that I took no more photos that day, as we skirted the lake to get back to our accommodation.

A dull day in Ullswater

All photos are large files, and can be clicked on for detail

On Wednesday, we decided to return to Ullswater, and try again for the ferry that had been cancelled in the mist on Monday. Unfortunately, we were losing the excellent weather that we had enjoyed since arriving in the region. Low cloud, a sharp drop in temperature, as well as occasional showers provided a dull atmosphere for both walking, and photography. We had to sit inside this time for the longer boat trip, which would drop us at the far end of the lake.

Once off the boat and walking, it was obvious that the weather was not going to improve that day. We had to carry on for more than seven miles of paths around the lake, many of them away from the shoreline. I still paused to take many photos, but the light was poor, so I will show only two on this post.

Ullswater from a higher section of the path. The sky appears to have been painted grey.

The rain came and went, just a series of short sharp showers as we carried on. There were to be no sunny breaks that day though, which was a shame. I had to content myself with an old farm building, the roof covered in moss or lichen. It is still in use, for the farming of hill-sheep.

With stops for lunch, and for taking the photos of course, the walk to Glenridding took almost five hours. We arrived back at the village in the late afternoon, and popped into the outdoor equipment shop where Antony used to work, when he lived in the area. He was able to catch up with his former colleagues, as I enjoyed a short rest on a bean-bag.

Buttermere: A gentler walk

All photos are large files, and can be clicked on for detail.

The approach to the peaceful lake at Buttermere was made through the hair-raising Honister Pass.

Perhaps when I was 25 years old, I might have enjoyed that drive. My MPV chose first gear all the way up, and the diesel engine was sounding like a tractor by the time we stopped before the descent, for the above photo. The downhill section was also a fairground ride, as I was on and off the brakes all the way into Buttermere. I concluded that I was happy to only have encountered light traffic during that trip.

The weather remained kind for the promised easier walk that Tuesday. Most of the path was close to the water’s edge, or not far from it.

After a much more relaxing day, it was back to Keswick, to get ready to go out to eat that evening.