A weekend in Bideford

Saturday: What an amazing sight- Bideford has been Yarn Bombed!

It is like a rainbow has wound itself around the town, on the quay, on trees, railings and lamp posts. Inside shop windows, cafes and the Pannier Market there are wonderful creations. They have all been knitted and displayed for the Children’s Hospice’s 25th celebration.

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At Westward Ho! I tried a Devon cream tea at the Pier House and watched the waves rolling into the bay. There were surfers on the beach waiting for the waves in the sea. I had hoped to see the remains of the old Victorian pier but it was hidden by the sea – maybe next time the tide will be out.

Sunday: Walking to the village of Clovelly

I walked down the steep cobbled streets in the rain towards the small harbour. The cobbled street is known as ‘Up-along or Down-along’ and was made using the poebbles from the beach. There are no cars in the village, although Jeeps take visitors to and from the quay. The village and estate have been owned and maintained by the Hamlyn family since 1738. Many years ago visitors rode donkeys down to the harbour, but today sleds are used to transport goods and furniture to the houses and shops. I came back by Jeep and stopped off to visit the donkey stables.

 

The quay dates back to the 14th century and Clovelly was once a busy fishing village, catching herring and mackerel. The museum depicts village life in the cottages and the importance of fishing to the community. The coastline is known to be dangerous and Clovelly has had a lifeboat since 1870.

 

 

 

 

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The Floating Piers

3rd July 2016…

On the final day of Christo’s art installation ‘The Floating Piers’, I joined hundreds of other people to experience being part of Lake Iseo and walk across the water on the wrapped floating platforms to Monte Isola.

On a hot day, I joined a long queue after leaving the train at Sulzano, to start walking through the town and onto the lake. The  Virgili del Fuoco were on standby ready to spray us all with water, so along with hats and umbrellas, we survived the heat.

 

Christo had decided on Lake Iseo as the place for his project in May 2014 and the next two years were spent developing and designing the materials and construction method to be used. The Floating Piers were finished and opened to the public from 18th June to 3rd July 2016- just sixteen days.

The three kilometre walkway was 16 meters wide and I certainly felt I was on the water as it moved with the waves. The fabric covering the piers had folds creating textures and shadows, while the edges changed colour from yellow to orange as the water lapped onto it. The thousands of people sat, walked and captured their own images of Christo’s creation.

I walked from the town of Sulzano, to the island of Monte Isola and on towards the small island of San Paolo, feeling privileged to be walking on Lake Iseo and be part of this fantastic work of art.

Pendeen in Cornwall

 

I found my private beach in Cornwall near Pendeen lighthouse in July 2014, while walking along the South West Coast Path (www.southwestcoastpath.co.uk) to Portheras beach. Portheras beach is Pendeen’s private beach according to some.

My beach could not be reached from the path, but it looked beautiful with its clear turquoise water. Eventually at low tide on another day I scrambled down the rocks and sat on the beach watching a seal sunbathing in front of me.

With plenty of rocks and stones at the foot of the cliff, I left a temporary piece of art on the beach, enjoying the perspective it gave as I looked beyond it to the sea.

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I returned to this little beach a few weeks ago, to find the storms over the winter and effects of the sea, have changed it a little but it is still secluded and has a great view  of the waves crashing over the rocks, where men fish and dolphins play.

From the lighthouse there are great views along the coast towards Lands End, where I watched a kestrel hovering above the cliffs and swooping down for its prey.

The lighthouse is about a mile away from the village of Pendeen, and there is room for a few cars to park. There are walks from the lighthouse towards the tin mines, to Portheras cove or to Lands End. After my visit I found a collection of walks by Peter Wilkinson which are currently only available as PDFs on his website ( http://www.pendeenwalks.co.uk).  I look forward to walking to Pendeen Carn next time. The National Trust also have walks in the area (www.national trust.org.uk).

Geevor tin mine is fascinating, and looking along the coast you can spot the remains of many mines. Geevor was the last working mine in the area and along with Levant mine, is well worth a visit (www.geevor.com). The tin mines have been used as locations in the Poldark series on television (www.visitcornwall.com/poldark-locations)

After all the fresh air, walking, climbing and taking photographs, I discovered Heather’s Coffee Shop, in the village (you can find the coffee shop on Facebook). The home made scones have to be among the best I have tasted – served warm with plenty of jam and clotted cream. Definitely a place to return to!

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Photography on the North Norfolk coast

 

4 locations for landscape photography on the North Norfolk coast

 

I spent a day with Chris Herring in North Norfolk, learning about landscape photography. He runs several photography courses in Norfolk and Suffolk for small groups of people. For more information, have a look at his website: www.TheUklandscape.com or his Facebook page: Chris Herring Photography

Location 1: Holkham Beach

Park in the pay and display car park on Lady Anns Drive (£2.00 for 1 hour, £6.50 all day), which is opposite the Victoria Hotel (NR231RG) and walk on the raised path to the beach. There are three possible places for taking photographs here – on the beach, on the sand dunes and in the wooded area. At this location I experimented with composition, including setting up a cover photograph for a travel magazine and repeating shots with differing cloud cover and sunshine.

Location 2: Brancaster Staithes

Park in the Quay pay and display car park on Harbour Way (PE31 8BW), and walk towards the harbour. There is a toilet next to the car park.

There are many opportunities to work on composition, with boats of different types and stages of repair; the wider angle for the marsh and harbour and close up detailed shots around the lobster pots and old buildings.

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Location 3: Thornham

Park at the end of Staithes Lane towards the Holme Dunes National Nature Reserve. The car park is free but can be flooded at high water. It was once the site of a large grain store and is on slightly higher ground. In front of the car park are strange trunks, which are best seen at low tide. While taking photographs of them, I used filters to adjust the contrast between the sky and land and explored the composition.

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Walking back down Staithes Lane away from the car park, Thornham harbour and the old Coal Barn provide further interesting subjects. The harbour is a collection of landing stages in the deeper creeks on the marsh. The Coal Barn was used by smugglers in the 18th century off loading their haul and has been used as a subject by many artists. Looking over the harbour and marches, the dark stormy sky created atmosphere and contrast for my photographs.

Location 4: Old Hunstanton

Park in the pay and display Cliff car park which is reached from Lighthouse Close (PE36 6EL). The car park is near the disused lighthouse, ruins of St Edmunds church and the pitch and putt course. Park as near to the end as possible (£1.80 for 1 hour, £5.00 all day) and walk down the path towards the beach.

Once on the beach head towards the sea where at low tide, the cockle beds can be seen marked by posts in the water.

Walking further along the beach, head towards the striped cliffs and wait for the sunset on the west facing beach. The cliffs are striped red, white and a grey/green colour. The white and red chalk sections contain fossils and you may be lucky and find some at the foot of the cliffs. The beach has many boulders, which were interesting to shoot, while waiting for the elusive sunset. The nearest I came to capturing a sunset, was seeing a ray of pink through the clouds. Hopefully there will be one next time.

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The Telegraph Travel and Cruise Shows

Sunday 10th January 2016

…. I set off early today to go to London for the Telegraph Travel and Cruise Show with my friend and travel writing colleague. I went hoping to meet some interesting people and be inspired to explore new locations, both at home and around the world. This is a snapshot of what I saw and the people I met.

I did meet some fascinating people, who talked about their travels and adventures with great passion, including Eric Cauchi from ‘Eternal Greece’ (www.eternalgreece.com) and Damian Croft from ‘Esplora’ (www.esplora.co.uk). Eric talked about the Peloponnese area of Greece, which he shares with link-minded travellers, who want to get to know more about the country than the beaches. Damian spoke about his tours, covering the island of Sicily in seven days visiting many beautiful and ancient sites, including the Pyramids!

Mongolia on horseback was very appealing, when Olly Reston talked about his company, Goyo Travel (www.goyotravel.com) and the experiences they arrange for travellers. Rachel Marsh spoke about Guernsey and the Channel Island Heritage Festival when I stopped at their stand (www.visitguernsey.com).

Will I need insect repellant in Mongolia or Guernsey? A small stand ‘Natural Patches’ was promoting insect repellent patches (ww.natural patches.co.uk). Each patch lasts for 36 hours and smells like marmite. I think I may add marmite and other forms of vitamin B1 to my diet before I next travel and also give the patches a trial.

As happens at events like this, the bags got heavier and heavier as they were filled with brochures and information to read later. I need to say a big ‘Thank you’ to the ladies on the ‘French House Party’ stand (www.Frenchhouseparty.eu), who took pity on me and looked after the bags for the day – a great relief to my aching shoulders. Walking away bag free,  I was invited to have a massage from Daniel Auguste (www.eurotherapy.org.uk), which sorted out those muscles and I was soon ready to move on again.

Turning a corner as I wandered around the stands, I came face to face with a huge and impressive Viking, standing outside the Viking Cruises space. There was a large area devoted to Cruising and as a novice cruiser, talking to representatives from the cruise companies helped me to consider what would suit me as an independent traveller!

Tasting wines and sampling cheeses does not equate to lunch but I enjoyed sitting and sampling some delicious Italian wines with Mike Truscott from Shawbury Vintners (www.shawbury-vintners.co.uk) I especially enjoyed the Passaturo, a soft fruity red wine. After this I went to the Italian Piazza and had some lunch and Reflected on all I had seen and heard.

Thank you to The Telegraph for organising a great show and as I look forward to making contact with some of the exhibitors and their companies from today, I am also thinking about …..

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Witham Way Country Park

Tuesday 29th December 2015

…a beautiful day in Boston, winter warmth from the sun and crisp air took away the Christmas lethargy. I parked next to Boston Town Football Club, off Tattershall Road and set off with my camera for a walk around the Witham Way Country Park. My aim was to take a photograph of Boston Stump from the river- but I almost slipped off the rocks into the water in the attempt!

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The park was developed by Boston Borough Council for residents to enjoy walking, cycling and there is even a fitness trail funded by NHS Lincolnshire. The footpath goes from the Grand Sluice at Witham Bank East to Anton’s Gowt Lock and runs along the old railway line. It is called the Water Rail Way and follows the river with accessible Tarmac paths. The cycle route continues to Waterside South in Lincoln. The park was designated a Local Nature reserve in 2012.

I went home with fresh air in my lungs and a few photographs for my first Travel Post!