After our encounter with the Giant Spoon and the AlienSophie and I got back in the car and headed off to Druridge Bay and the country park there.
The History Bit
Druridge Bay is a 7 miles long bay on the coast of Northumberland. During World War II, defences were constructed around Druridge Bay as part of the anti-invasion preparations. The defences included scaffolding barriers and anti-tank blocks overlooked by pillboxes; and behind these were minefields and an anti-tank ditch. Between the hamlets of Druridge and Cresswell, anti-glider ditches were dug and there is still a brick-built decoy control there somewhere. But there was a bitter wind coming in off the sea and we didn’t spend a long time photographing on the beach. Job for summer.
In the 80’s there were plans to site a Pressurised Water Reactor nuclear power station there. There was a long campaign to prevent that happening, and with new government rulings on Nuclear Power happening, the plans were shelved in 1989. In 2015 the Banks group Mining company applied to do open cast mining in 900 acres immediately to the west of the beach, for the extraction of 3 million tonnes of coal. Six weeks after the application was submitted the UK government announced that all coal-fired energy generation would cease by 2025. Over 1800 letters of objection were received but Northumberland County Council approved plans for the open-cast mine in July 2016. In September 2016, the plans were put on hold subject to a government inquiry. Instead the Banks Group are open cast mining near Cramlington, but that will be covered in the next post.
Northumberland Wildlife Trust purchased the sand extraction site from RMC Group in 2006. The shore is known for populations of birds including the golden plover and the purple sandpiper. Druridge Bay is best known to birdwatchers for hosting, in 1998, the Druridge Bay curlew, a controversial bird which was eventually accepted as the first record of a slender-billed curlew in Britain, although this identification is still disputed by some. I don’t suppose the birds care, being as controversial as they like, and we didn’t see any anyway :). Druridge Bay is also used by naturists. The North East Skinny Dip, first held in 2012, is an annual event to raise funds for MIND, the mental health charity. It is held around the time of the Autumn Equinox in late September each year. We didn’t see any of those either. Thankfully.
Those were my last shots there, as the main event for us was the 1.5 mile walk around Ladyburn Lake at the country park on the other side of the nature reserve. The park is centred on the lake with surrounding meadows and woods which has been restored from an old opencast coal mine and is maturing into a very pleasant landscape for walks and picnics. It’s reasonably quiet here in February, a few dog walkers of course, and a couple wrapped up well and having said picnic, as you do when it’s 3 degrees outside with a wind chill factor of -6!
The lake and surround is home to quite a few birds,
We could see swans and other birds on the far side of the lake but meandered slowly around, enjoying the sunshine and having a natter.
Although it was cold and the wind was snappy, we had some sunshine, everything seems better in the sun don’t you think?
We normally think of catkins as being yellow, but the Alder trees have lovely purpley ones
That will do for Part 1, but stay tooned for Part 2 when we find some strange rocks, and beautiful swans.
For the past 3 years we’ve had a pair of Robins visit our garden and The Happy Eater tree, but this year have hardly seen them. Today though Phil spotted this little robin jumping from the car window ledge onto the mirror back and forth, we think he thought there was another robin in it! He seems to be alone so am not sure if this is one of the pair and the spouse has died or if this one is a different one all together.
this next one’s a bit out of focus but you can see his reflections in the mirror and window,
Not the best of weeks, so am late with my post, Sunday came and went and I couldn’t find the words really. regular readers will know my little cat Storm was diagnosed with renal adenoma back in September and not given long to live. But she carried on unaware of her future and we loved her lots and even hoped they’d got it wrong, she seemed so OK. But last week she started going downhill, and though we tried convincing ourselves she was just having a bad couple of days, by Thursday night we knew the time had come. Unfortunately I had promised to visit my son and grandson this weekend, and couldn’t let them down. So I went off down south to see them, and Phil had to take Storm to the vets on his own. Really that’s all I need say, anyone that has had a beloved pet will have gone through the rest.
It was good to see Ben and spend the day with him. He looked too skinny so I took him out for lunch and dinner 🙂
and then we went to pick up Lewis from school and took him to Toys R Us so he could choose christmas presents. That didn’t turn out too easy as the store is so huge, but he loved trying out the cars.
On Saturday I went to visit my friend Helen, and the weather was really bad so we stayed in, apart from food shopping, and then has a yummy dinner.
I got home Sunday and have had a couple of days off. Had to take Phil to hospital today for laser eye surgery for his glaucoma, which was over and done with really quickly, and he’s OK, though he says everything looks a bit darker.
Not much photography done then on the whole, I had a strange sky to drive home to,
and I put up the Christmas tree last weekend and forgot to take a picture of it so here it is 🙂
and am trying to take pictures of the birds in my front garden, but failing to get anything decent, so here’s a not so great one of Mr.Robin. Must improve on that!
So that’s my week and a bit, off to work tomorrow then more days off, fingers xt to do something with my camera!
Well I missed last Sunday as I only had 4 pictures, and as a result have now got too many, so lots to look at this week 🙂
The weather has not been kind, but I have had some long journeys to see clients, so have come across some quite lovely views, and my little Nikon S1 has been doing a cracking job. Last week I went to North Yorkshire again, and the sun was arguing with the clouds to see who would win out.
On my way back I went through a village called Ravensworth and came across this ruined castle.The remains here date from the 14th Century, although it’s thought there has been a castle there since Norman times. The chap who built this one was Henry Baron FitzHugh. n 1391 he enclosed 200 acres (81 ha) around the castle, creating a park.The castle started to be pulled down in the 16th century, and the stone was used for other buildings in the area.
hmm blew the sky out a bit in t hat 2nd shot but I like the composition so all is not lost.
Last weekend Phil worked on Sunday and I spent a little while trying to get some decent shots of the birds in my garden, through the front window as it was too cold out.
I tried to get a decent shot of the Lady Robin too, but she’s a bit more bashful and quicker to jump back into the bushes out of sight as soon as she’s got something from the feeder.
This week I had a 3 hour drive over to the west go the country, visiting clients in Whitehaven on the West coast, Penrith,Dalston,and Kewick. Lots of long driving times, I set off at 7.15am and eventually got home at 6.30pm, but was hugely compensated by seeing the mountains and Lake Bassenthwaite on my travels. It’s been quite a while since I had to go there, and it was lovely to visit old photo haunts and take new ones with snow in place.
That was the photo highlight of the week really. I am very impressed with what the tiny Nikkon S1 can do, especially with the 11-27mm lens that it comes with which I used for the landscape shots, and I also used the little 300mm zoom I got for it, for taking the bird shots, to the point where I no longer take the big D700 out for work journeys and everyday use. It captures a fair amount of detail, granted that that has to be brought out in Lightroom, but at least it’s in there to begin with.
There are some jobs though that only the D700 can do, and one of those jobs was for me to take some decent photo’s of Phil’s bass guitars. (A commission no less!!) I decided I would shoot each one separately and use a light painting technique. This was a bit of a faff as of course the room has to be completely dark and the room I use is quite small so lots of bumping elbows and knees. I had a black backdrop specially bought on Amazon, it came all the way from china,worked really well and a was a bargain. The photo’s have come out really well, and I am going to do some close ups and arty farty shots to go with, here are a couple of the ones I took.
and finally my shot for The Sunday challenge~ theme Gadgets….
I can’t claim originality, I saw a similar picture way back when, and always fancied doing my own version.
And now it’s Sunday night, I’ve burned my fingers cooking Sunday dinner, spilled boiling milk on myself, sigh, but had a lush roast ham dinner. Shelley and Cal came for a visit and Cal fell over and bumped his head in 2 places at once for heaven’s sakes. I don’t think he will be someone who does things by halves, or even singles! Now Phil’s practicing bass lines over a C maj 7th chord 🙂 and I am saying goodnight WordPressiverse,
It is so wintery here now, we’re trapped in a cold air bowl apparently because the damned jet stream has shot down the west side of us and then up the east and away, so goodbye to mild temperatures for a week or so. It has been snowing a lot too, but it hasn’t settled where we live, (no snowy pictures 😦 ) though other parts of the country have got a good layering of the white stuff. I haven’t taken many pictures as I haven’t had time while working, it’s been non stop between one client to the next. Phil’s been on holiday this week, doing house jobs and modelling and playing bass. We’ve been to ASDA to do grocery shopping for a trip out haha, but mainly stayed in the warm. On Saturday evening we had Cal for a sleepover, and that was fun as he’s bonkers and funny, and we’ve started watching Breaking Bad which everyone raved about but we missed the first time around. One of Phil’s work chums lent it to him. Well it’s OK, the acting is fine but I don’t get the hype, the plot is downright silly. I’d still rather have The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones any day. Have been getting through a lot of books and can highly recommend Tom Wood and his series of books about an assassin called Victor, Andrew Taylor for his periodic novels and am currently reading The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, strange and wonderful and really well written. Have spent quite a bit of time redesigning my photo website over on Smug mug as they’ve added a carousel display function,and it’s looking mint, still got loads to do but I like faffing on it’s quite therapeutic and I get to remember my holiday visits and days out with Sophie and Mike on our photography trips. Can’t wait until some warm weather comes along and we can go exploring again. So only a couple of photo’s this week,
and a visitor to the garden today
Mr. & Mrs. Robin are back and enjoying my tree of treats. I also had to do some selective colouring for the Sunday Challenge group, am not a fan of this type of processing ( I mean, I don’t get why you would want to), but I suppose it’s ‘Art’ so I had a go.
I also managed another polaroid for my SX70 project, and also wasted 3 films in the attempt!
I started my ‘picture a day for 365 days’ 114 days ago, not realising at the time how my working life would change so drastically. I’m working 6 days a week now, and a fair amount of home time is taken up with processing the work, or doing related study etc etc. Bit by bit my 365 has degenerated into bulk uploads and camera phone shots late at night in desperation to keep it going, but that’s not the way I wanted to do the 365 and I’m not enjoying it, so have decided to call a halt. Of course I’ll still take pictures when opportunity arises, but quality, not quantity feels more important and relevant right now.