Monthly Archives: December 2014

Gullane Bents

Gullane Bents is a beautiful setting for an early morning or early evening walk. 
The combination of a sweeping long beach coupled to undulating dunes looking out over 
to Fife and the Firth of Forth, is a real treat as well as a mouthful at sunrise or sunset.
Gullane Bents

Gullane Bents

Gullane (from Scottish Gaelic A’ Ghualainn, meaning “the ridge/shoulder”)[1] is a town on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth in East Lothian on the east coast of Scotland.

It is also where my sister has lived for a very long time, I therefore have visited numerous times over the years, and at every opportunity I take a walk with her on the beautiful beach.

Gullane Bents beach Scotland, Golf East Lothian

Gullane, East Lothian

Gullane Bents beach Scotland, Golf East Lothian

The Bents

Gullane Bents beach Scotland, Golf East Lothian

Gullane Bents, the village’s award-winning beach, is backed by large sand dunes that in recent years have become rather overgrown by invasive shrubs like sea-buckthorn. Gullane is part of the John Muir Way, a long-distance footpath along the coast between Musselburghand Dunglass.

Gullane Bents beach Scotland, Golf East Lothian

More beach

Gullane Bents beach Scotland, Golf East Lothian

And more…

Gullane Bents beach Scotland, Golf East Lothian

Gullane Bents beach Scotland, Golf East Lothian

Gullane Bents beach Scotland, Golf East Lothian

Gullane bents

 

 

 

 

Fountains Abbey and a Boxing Day walk

Little Red Robin

Little Red Robin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pictures should say it all, fresh air, no shops, no sales, no internet, no crowds,no television; just the beautiful countryside.

Every year on Boxing Day, after a short service, hundreds of pilgrims walk from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey, Studley Royal, just as the pilgrim monks did in1132; what better thing to do but join them?

Our Christmas presents to each other were to renew our NT membership and get out and about more across Yorkshire in the new year, so lets start on our own doorstep at this amazing place.

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

Multi colours at Fountains Abbey

Multi colours at Fountains Abbey

Multi colours at Fountains Abbey

fountains abbey mrs B in grounds of Fountains Abbey, Studley Royal

Swans in grounds of Fountains Abbey, Studley Royal

Swans in grounds of Fountains Abbey, Studley Royal

Chair in grounds of Fountains Abbey, Studley Royal

Chair in grounds of Fountains Abbey, Studley Royal

Studley Royal

Studley Royal

Studley Royal gardens

Studley Royal

Studley Royal gardens

Studley Royal gardens

Food and drink in Studley Roger for pilgrims on Boxing Day

Food and drink left out for pilgrims on Boxing Day

 

Christmas in Ripon, North Yorkshire

festive decorations

festive decorations

I wanted to upload a short post today and wish everyone a ‘Happy Christmas’ from Ripon, North Yorkshire.

Roaring fire, Christmas cards and chestnuts roasting

Christmas fire and cards

Christmas is a special time and it is always nice to be at home with family, celebrating and sharing with those closest to you. I hope you like my simple images from God’s county.

Christmas tree in Ripon Cathedral, the day of the Messiah with Ripon Choral Society

Christmas tree in Ripon Cathedral, the day of the Messiah with Ripon Choral Society

 

Ripon Cathedral is a special place any time of the year, but especially at Christmas –  I was very lucky to hear the Messiah performed by Ripon Choral Society this Christmas; and I will make sure I go every year, it was amazing!

Ripon Cathedral at Christmas time, ready for the Messiah

Ripon Cathedral at Christmas time

 

Dressing the tree & Christmas lights and decorations are something that everyone can join in with – family time at its best, even if you have lost half the decorations through moving house…

christmas tree with lantern

Christmas tree all ready to go

Stag and lights with family photos

Stag and lights with family photos

Christmas candles

Christmas candles

Bokah christmas tree

Christmas Tree

That was a lovely Christmas, said the Robin in the garden…

That was a good day!

That was a good day!

Epic Sana, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal

Praia da Falésia, Miles of golden beach edged with red & white cliffs, plus sun beds, watersports, a restaurant & bar

Praia da Falésia

I love the Algarve; that’s what I said to myself as I thought of somewhere to take the family for a short break in the Autumn.

Having said that, when I checked, I had only actually been to the Algarve once,  and that was all of twenty years ago on a trip to a rented villa on the cheap; so perhaps I don’t like it as much as I thought I did?

Time to check it out again I thought. Time for Epic Sana.

luxury five star epic sana algarve resort

A truly Epic resort, five star luxury awaits inside

Epic Sana Resort Entrance, Algarve, a 5 star newly built haven for frazzled families

Epic Sana Resort Entrance, Algarve

well, it was rated #1 of 162 hotels in the Algarve, so I thought, lets just go there http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g189112-d3874674-Reviews-EPIC_SANA_Algarve_Hotel-Albufeira_Faro_District_Algarve.html

Epic Sana Resort, Algarve

Epic Sana Resort, Algarve

Epic Sana Resort, Algarve

Epic Sana Resort, Algarve

The EPIC SANA Algarve is just 200 m away from Falésia beach which, in addition to its surrounding 8 hectares of green areas, make it the first resort owned by the SANA Group to be the space of choice for lovers of beaches and countryside – or that is what the internet told me.

Epic Sana Resort Reception, Algarve

Epic Sana Resort Reception, Algarve

Epic Sana Resort Gardens, Algarve

Epic Sana Resort, Gardens

Built in 2013, this is a very plush swanky affair, the position is fabulous; 200m across the manicured gardens and down some wooden steps down to the amazing Falésia beach, or hop in a taxi to nearby Albufeira, or Faro Airport, around 37 Km away in 45 minutes.

Epic Sana Algarve five swimming pools algarve luxury swimming

Many a dip in one of the five swimming pools

The Hotel is beautifully finished off with a main hotel building, resort suites and apartments, all with lovely views and mixed up around five pools or overlooking the ocean.

We stayed in two family deluxe rooms with ocean views, fantastic size, all mod cons and an open air bathroom should you wish to recline in some suds while watching the moonlit beach from afar.

Beautiful Algarve beaches and sunstes

Beautiful Algarve beaches and sunsets

Beautiful Algarve beaches and sunstes

A stroll down to the beach each night before dinner for sunset is a must

Great service, lovely food and good attention to detail. We will come back here for piri-piri chicken, sunsets on the beach and generally lounging around in 5 star luxury for a few days.

Epic sana Beach steps private beach algarve

Your own steps down to the beach

All in all a rewarding experience for five days with the family, I would recommend Epic Sana to anyone who wants to get away from it all and needs a rest come the autumn in 2015!

Algarve family fun beach Epic Sana Sunset

They liked it; and that is all that matters.

Lastly, this proved to be the final international outing for my Leica X2, to be replaced with a Leica M the following month, hence all photos from September 2014 will now be out of focus; oh how I miss that focusing!

 

 

 

 

 

Sheep of Wensleydale

Home alone this weekend; so no excuses; had to get out there.

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So I started in the beautiful landscape of Wensleyday, following a short drive to West Burton, three miles south of Aysgarth, deep in the dale and suitably off the beaten track.

The locals were pleased to see me

The locals were pleased to see me

West Burton must win some awards each year as one of the most picturesque villages in Wensleydale.

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A very helpful local with a black labrador set me off on a circular walk, taking in the sights and the sounds of real Wensleydale, and it was at this point that I realised it was really only about me and the sheep, so I dedicate this post to the sheep of Wensleydale…

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although I did take in some other sights also – including a beast of a castle at Bolton Castle, a place I will be visiting again once it re-opens (14th Feb 2015)  Bolton Castle

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as well as the much overlooked West Burton Waterfalls

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and the beautiful dales countryside between Hawes, Leyburn and Aysgarth

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I hope you enjoyed my pictures today!

 

 

 

Ilkley, Yorkshire

Ilkley, Yorkshire

Some friends have moved to Ilkley, and it may just be one of THE best places to live in the UK.

Ilkley Moor is part of Rombalds Moor, the moorland between Ilkley and Keighley inWest Yorkshire, England. The moor, which rises to 402 m (1,319 ft) above sea level is famous as the inspiration for the Yorkshire “county anthem” On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at. (Wikipedia)

If you are looking for a town that has everything, you have children and preferably at least one dog, then Ilkley is a great place to be.

In addition, you will need a disposable income that enables you to visit Betty’s Tea Rooms at least once a week, and a love of food, and real Yorkshire ale.

 

One year on, and It’s great to see that Ilkley is as popular as ever, Wharfedale is a fantastic place to live, and Ilkley is the jewel in the crown with its own rail link to Leeds (unlike Ripon), amazing scenery, propper shops and a booming property scene.

 

Imperial War Museum, Salford

There is always a lot going on at the Imperial War Museum, Salford, or the IWM North as it is known to its mates.

Since I zoomed in on MediaCityUK in spring of this year, I have come to love the constantly changing waterfront, full of surprises both as somewhere to work and also somewhere to live, when not in Yorkshire.

As a business we had our Christmas party at the IWM North last Christmas, it’s a great venue! Here are some alternative war pictures – make love not war!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como is somewhere in Italy that everyone should visit.

I am going to show this beautiful place to you with some images from a trip I took in the summer of 2013

No nicer place for a rustic picnic

No nicer place for a rustic picnic

We spent a week here as part of a rail trip across Europe , that was booked with Great Rail Journeys,  all of these photos were taken on my Leica X2, which has now been replaced with something i can’t focus as well!

This was a special trip.

The notes below are from the very good goitaly@aboutguide.com written by Martha Bakerjian 

Lake Como, Lago di Como in Italian, is Italy’s most popular lake and also its deepest. Lake Como is shaped like an inverted Y giving it a long perimeter. The lake is surrounded by mountains and hills and dotted with beautiful villas and resort villages. There are good hiking paths, boat trips and water activities. Popular since Roman times, Lake Como is a top romantic travel destination and a great spot for photography.

Lake Como is in the region of Lombardy and is part of the northern Italian Lakes District. It lies between Milan and the border of Switzerland with its southern tip about 40km north of Milan. See location on this Lombardy Map.

Lake Como is a popular weekend destination for people from Milan so the weekdays may be less crowded. July and August are the most crowded months. Spring and Fall are the best times to visit as it is less crowded and the weather is usually pleasant.

anyhow, back to the trip – Lake Como is on the Milan to Switzerland line, and that’s how we arrived, the train stops in the town of Como itself and you can easily drag your cases down onto the lake-front, where there is a tourist office and plenty of hotels; we stayed at the metropole

What a great few days; Lake Como is beautiful, you need to get on a boat and visit the many towns and villages by hopping on and off, taking a picnic and your camera….

I hope you enjoy my snaps!
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Bollington, Cheshire

Bollington. This is where we lived for the last sixteen years, a fantastic town in East Cheshire, set 20 miles south of Manchester, near Macclesfield, but not really near anywhere; a splendid place to raise a family, go for a walk, own a dog, and preferably, do all three (I never got the dog).

According to Wikipedia…
Bollington is a small town and civil parish in the county of Cheshire (County Palatine of Chester), England, in the unitary authority of Cheshire East,to the east of Prestbury.

In the Middle Ages it was part of the Earl of Chester‘s manor of Macclesfield, and the ancient parish of Prestbury.

According to the 2001 UK census, Bollington had a population of 7,095 (7593 in 2011 census), it certainly has too many cars, and I should think not enough affordable housing.

Bollington, which is locally nicknamed “Happy Valley”, is on the River Dean and the Macclesfield Canal, on the south-western edge of the Peak District.

Rising above the town is Kerridge Hill that is surmounted by White Nancy, a monument built to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo in the Napoleonic Wars.

The helpful man walking to the right below is setting off to that very landmark……a spot we have all climber to thousands of times over the years!

Bollington is beautiful, I will add to these snaps over the years as I go through my files, but here are a few to get you started – walking up the hills towards Kerridge at the back of our house, after a bad day, you can be walking in lovely fresh air within minutes.

Wensleydale, Yorkshire

Beautiful Wensleydale has been the backdrop to many a trip with family and friends over the years, there is something very special about this part of the world – everyone should come and experience this amazing bit of English countryside for themselves.

Yorkshire at its best.

Having moved back over here recently, Wensleydale is somewhere I want to spend more time; whilst eating more cheese from the fantastic creamery in Hawes!

The amazing Wensleydale cheese is made at the creamery in Hawes,
well worth a visit and very good value for a tour of the creamery and
a nice drink and meal in the cafe and visitor centre.

There is a wide variety of cheese to go at……

…as well as other healthy snacks in nearby towns and villages – not to mention the amazing beer

and a warm welcome in the local public houses, of which there are many to choose after a hard days walking

I will be posting many cycle and walking trips through Wensleydale in 2015, moving further afield than the obvious Leyburn and Hawes, covering the route of the 2014 Grand Depart on two wheels, once the weather improves!

Everyone should go to Yorkshire and see why it is one of Europe’s best kept secrets

I hope you enjoy this little film from the people at Welcome to Yorkshire

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJTMeXUfLJ8

Lyme Park, Cheshire

For more pictures go to my flickr stream

Lyme Park House

Lyme Park House

Here is a beautiful place in monochrome, some of the first photos taken on my Leica in May 2013; a nice walk with my equally beautiful wife.

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According to Wikipedia…

Lyme Park is a large estate located south of DisleyCheshire. The estate is managed by the National Trust and consists of a mansion house surrounded by formal gardens, in a deer park in the Peak District National Park.[1] The house is the largest in Cheshire,[2] and is designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building.[3]

The estate was granted to Sir Thomas Danyers in 1346 and passed to the Leghs of Lyme by marriage in 1388. It remained in the possession of the Legh family until 1946 when it was given to the National Trust. The house dates from the latter part of the 16th century. Modifications were made to it in the 1720s by Giacomo Leoni, who retained some of the Elizabethan features and added others, particularly the courtyard and the south range. It is difficult to classify Leoni’s work at Lyme, as it contains elements of both Palladian and Baroque styles.[a] Further modifications were made by Lewis Wyatt in the 19th century, especially to the interior. Formal gardens were created and developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The house, gardens and park have been used as locations for filming and they are open to the public. The Lyme Caxton Missal is on display in the Library.

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The most obvious structure in the park, other than the house, is a tower called the Cage which stands on a hill to the east of the approach road to the house (53.34453°N 2.05189°W). It was originally a hunting lodge and was later used as a park-keeper’s cottage and as a lock-up for prisoners. The first structure on the site was built about 1580; this was taken down and rebuilt in 1737, possibly to a design by Leoni for Peter Legh X. The tower is built in buff sandstonerubble with ashlar sandstone dressings. It is square in plan, in three storeys, with attached small square towers surmounted by cupolas at the corners. The Cage is a Grade II* listed building.[25]

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Lyme Park House

Lyme Park House

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Bridlington, the land that time forgot

 

Bridlington Harbour

Bridlington Harbour

Bridlington; the land that time forgot

A place I have visited so many times, as a kid, as a grown-up, a brother, a son, an uncle and a silly old man with a rangefinder camera; Bridlington is inextricably linked to my family; it is a place that evokes strong memories and continues to divide loyalties with so many conflicting views on the land that time forgot.

Not always open to outsiders...

Not always open…

Bridlington is not always viewed favourably and is seen at best as ‘a cultural magnet to the rich and famous’ indeed you could argue that it fully deserves the title Bridlington; the land that time forgot.

http://www.timeout.com/travel/features/595/britains-other-best-towns. Once home to the largest Lada car park in Western Europe, Bridlington now has a world-class marina only a few feet from a medieval old town jammed with convivial hostelries. Alan Bennett comes here for fish and chips in the shadow of Flamborough Head’s chalk cliffs and David Hockney is in residence. Hockney’s recent paintings of the Yorkshire Wolds publicised the area’s understated beauty.

The land that time forgot

The land that time forgot

and at worst as ‘The Chav Capital of the UK’

http://www.ilivehere.co.uk/bridlington-chav-capital-of-the-uk-without-doubt.html. A random patchwork of violent council estates and traveller sites by the murky waters of the North Sea makes this town one of the worst places to live in England even before the extra bonus of the entire Giro cashing population of Hull, Sheffield & Doncaster (three of the nastiest towns in the north) decamping here for the summer months.

Whatever the view, and whatever the weather, Bridlington is an amazing place to take some photos that truly reflect the state our nation has got itself into. I will let my Leica and the sea breeze do the talking.

windswept cafe down by the harbour; Bridlington, the land that time forgot

windswept cafe down by the harbour; Bridlington, the land that time forgot

A mobilty scooter is almost obligatory; Bridlington, the land that time forgot

A mobilty scooter is almost obligatory; Bridlington, the land that time forgot

The statistics show that Bridlington is home to a higher level of older individuals, many of whom depend on the state - and have health issues out of kilter with better off areas of the UK.

The statistics show that Bridlington is home to a higher level of older individuals, many of whom depend on the state – and have health issues out of kilter with better off areas of the UK.

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Not always open to outsiders...

Not always open to outsiders…

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The land that time forgot

The land that time forgot

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Let me have your views on my photos and these comments, good and bad, I would love to compare notes on this rarest of places.