24 hours in Brighton

I think if I was forced to live in a big city in the South East of England, I'd probably choose Brighton.  It has hills, seaside, quirky shops, lots of rainbows, and it's not too far to escape to the countryside. (Obviously I would still prefer to live in actual countryside, sorry big cities!)

I hadn't visited for over a decade (!!), but last weekend I popped down to meet up with a few friends. The drive down on Saturday was horrible.  So much rain, spray, and generally bad visibility.  Yet still there are far too many drivers who don't think... continue reading »

Blenheim Palace

This is Blenheim Palace.  We visited right at the start of August, to watch the summer jousting tournament.

There was a falconry display...

...and the actual jousting, which was very scripted and not quite as exciting as we'd hoped.  I think it was aimed more at kids (with the 'bad' black knight eventually, predictably, getting his comeuppance).  But enjoyable nonetheless - certainly something you don't get to see every day.

Watching all that took up quite a bit of time, and we spent another few hours wandering around the rest of the grounds.  Including a trip on the little train to the 'pleasure... continue reading »

East Lyn gorge

So the flooding got worse, leaving me semi stranded due to road closures.  Luckily I can work from home, and didn't have to wade far to reach 'dry land' and friends willing to give me lifts to other places.

Including to Lynmouth.  The East Lyn is well beyond my kayaking abilities, but others are good/mad enough to run it, so I went along to take photos - a much needed change of scenery!

And an ideal opportunity to play with shutter speeds again (and, to a lesser extent, the variable ND filter).

Shooting in aperture priority, this is a 1/6s exposure.  I'm reliably... continue reading »

Tyne Tour

Tyne Tour - a new one for my kayaking repertoire!  I wanted to go last year but was away working, so was quite excited about actually going this time.

Hexham is a long way away, so we left at lunchtime in order to get there at a reasonable hour and perhaps avoid the worst of the traffic.

But nooo. There'd been an accident on the M42, so it took 2.5 hours to go about 8 miles. Then we hit rush hour around Nottingham, and at some point stopped for food too, so eventually reached our Travelodge (yes, really) in Gateshead at something... continue reading »

I can see for miles

I bought some new walking boots.  No more squished toes and worn down soles!

Good excuse for a quick wander up the local highpoint - Robinswood Hill.  A mighty 198m above sea level, topped with trig point, some sort of jubilee beacon and another pillar that probably should have a toposcope on it, but in fact just had holes and bits of old glue/cement.  Useful.

Anyway, the scenery was fairly obvious - Gloucester (including my house!), the Cotswolds, May Hill, Bredon Hill, some of the Malverns (hiding under a rain cloud), and these:

Both Severn bridges, 25 miles away.  Wasn't expecting to be... continue reading »

a weekend in Norfolk (and Suffolk)

On Saturday, I got up disgustingly early (5am?!) and drove for four hours with a somewhat hungover passenger.  We ended up in Diss (and on a side note, the A14 is a very very boring road).

Obviously there was good reason for this - a weekend away with friends from Keele :D  Scarily, this July will mark 6 years since graduation, thus 6 years of camping trips, days out and sleeping on other people's floors.  All good.

I refused to do any more driving that day, but off we went to the seaside at Southwold.  Which has a pier.  Quite a nice... continue reading »

Bore Surfing!

On Saturday, there was a 3* Severn Bore.  That's an entire star better than the one I saw last month!

And, well, it was.  Standing in a field this time, rather than on Over Bridge, to watch people try and surf it in kayaks (as well as on surfboards)

I could have taken my boat and had a go, but I thought I'd watch other people do it first!  'Inspection', if you will.  Think I'll have a go next time though :D

Anyway, there were loads of people congregated on the riverbanks, and quite a number in the river too!  5 (maybe 6?)... continue reading »

Severn Bore

Today's activities so far: cycling to Over, then standing on the bridge for the best part of an hour waiting to see this:

It's the Severn Bore Hooray for large tidal ranges messing up rivers :)

Only a 2* bore today, but still quite impressive to watch - especially as I've not seen it before. 

There was a 3* late last night, and more 3 and 4* ones due next month, so plenty of opportunity to find a better viewpoint for photographing it...

There were a few people attempting to surf it, although without a huge amount of success.