Greeting to anyone who celebrates this ancient event rather than Christmas. From today, there will be more light (except for readers S. of the equator).
21st Dec09, Alnmouth, 8am
Ages since I've been here and we headed North from Alnmouth a bit further than previously explored. As usual at this time of year we started in the gloom, witnessed a fantastic sunrise and then headed home as the light flattened and the wind rose.
Oyster Catchers (known as "Scolders" in Orkney, which is a much more poetic name)
This is a cracking, quiet beach at the N end of Alnmouth Bay.
A good fall of snow yesterday covered all the trees and they looked magical. It all happened just as the evening fell so I couldn't get any photos of the beautiful scene. Next morning, and the trees are bare of snow but it's still beautiful.
20th Dec09, Christon Bank, 8am
20th Dec09, Howick Estate, 1pm
Such a nice day, bright, crisp, cold and calm. The roads were a bit slippy which is why it was quiet out and about.
This is a magnificent Scot's Pine in the Howick grounds.
The colour is from the branches of the tree, not foliage.
Huge bird prints in the snow. We think it's a Grey Heron out for a walk. Fully 6 inches from back to front.
Spectacular Big Sea with a stong North Easterly behind it. Beside the bathing house at Howick there is a door that leads down to the sea - presumably for bathing purposes. The sea didn't look very inviting framed through the door.
19th Dec09, Embleton Bay, 8am
One of these mornings when I knew it was going to be a nice sunrise. There was a couple of inches of snow on the car but nothing at the beach. These colours are nature at her best.
The field is still flooded which is bad news for the crop and the farmer but it's much appreciated by the wildfowl. This flight of mute swans was coming in to land...
14th Dec09, Little Mill Quarry, 8am
Someone suggested this walk to me. Too many sheep for Trooper and not enough running around for his taste but it appealed to the explorer in me and I enjoy industrial archaeology as much as the ancient variety. This is one of many quarries around here, some old and some current, that exploit the hard whinstone that outcrops frequently throughout Northumberland. A fine grained igneous rock formed by volcanic activity underground which has been exposed by weathering of the sandstone over the millenia. Most famously, a large chunk of Hadrian's Wall is built on the whin sill.
Another fine morning. All was frozen, even the wind seemed to be stilled by the icy temperatures. Stillness and birdcalls; Silence with staccato interruptions filling my ears. It was enough to make me leave off the headphones today to fully appreciate the atmosphere.
12th Dec09, Embleton Bay, 3pm
Lots of couples out and about today. It's a cliche but a winter beach is a fine place for a romantic stroll with your loved one. Today, as it's the weekend, I had Su with me so I can confirm this is true.
It's sad to see a seal pup on the beach - there have been a couple of dead ones in the last few weeks. This wee guy was still in there fighting and hopefully would have headed off on the next high tide. They are such curious, trusting creatures that everyone on the beach was wanting to help somehow.
The photo's a bit rubbish as I didn't want to get too close and it was still nearly dark even after my luxurious lie in until Trooper insisted on getting up at 9am!
6th Dec09, Low Newton, 9:30 am
Note: Being a gentleman, I kept my camera in my pocket and my binoculars in my jacket when the students ran topless into the sea and gambolled playfully in the waves this morning. They didn't stay in for long! Ah, to be young...