Saturday 31 July 2010

Return to the woods

30th July10, Newton Links, 8am

Today was Daisy's first time to be allowed free rein around the beach as her vaccinations are all done. She was very good on the lead as there were so many smells and things to see. It's great that she doesn't have Trooper's stubbornness - He used to know his walks and he stuck rigidly to where he wanted to go. It was nice to be in charge for a change!

Daisy bites the sea!

31st July10, Fallodon Woods, 06:30

Here's another example. Trooper hated this walk for reasons known best to himself. Daisy met sheep without any angst as we crossed the field, enjoyed the woods and encountered a deer as it blasted across our path a few feet ahead. It was lovely to be out for a simple walk with her. Many years of this ahead of us...

Thursday 29 July 2010

Flat Calm

29th July10, 8am, Craster

Cratster for this morning's training course on a damp, grey morning. Even the greyest clouds can yield some interest on a simple "U2 album cover" kind of a composition.

Another piece of old rope - I do like my old rope...

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Nice Quote

On "Who Do You Think You Are", the geneaology programme on the BBC, Bruce Forsyth's Great Grandfather was featured. A bit of a cad with his families but a writer and garden designer of some repute in Victorian times.

Anyway, I loved this quote from one of his books:

"This world abounds in beauty and light and Nature yields an everlasting inspiration which is to be gained only by true admiration of herself in all her moods." Joseph Forsyth-Johnson

You couldn't ask for a more apposite quote for my view of the natural world.

28th July10, Embleton Bay, 8am

The mood today was calm, peaceful and pleasant. On a day when a pile of Ansel Adam's glass negatives, bought in a yard sale for $40, have been valued at $200,000,000, I thought I should have a couple of B&W landscapes on here. It does strike me that as Ansel Adam's finished product was his prints and he spent days in the darkroom perfecting a single print, this means that the negatives are without value. Without AA's magic in the darkroom, they will never be AA prints, no matter who, or how cleverly, they are printed.

I'm not bitter; each of my original digital files is probably worth $2.

So much for trying to emulate someone else. This is what comes naturally to me; from a lofty perch atop the dunes, it's fun to watch the world go by on the beach below.

Tuesday 27 July 2010


27th July10, Newton Links, 07:30

Newton Links is handy and safe for Daisy walks but only 5 days to go before she can go anywhere and I can't wait to get back out and about properly after 6 weeks of limited beach activities...

27th July, Dunstanburgh, 11:30

Meet Daisy's sister Lola! You can see the border collie in Lola easily enough... she's a gorgeous furry puppy. Lola lives in the next village to us so we may see her now and again...

Sunday 25 July 2010


24th July10, St Aidan's Beach, Seahouses, 9am

This starfish is a Sunstar. Not uncommon says the book, but we were pleased to see it. Judging by the marks in the sand he'd been moving about recently.

This stretchy little toy had been stretched once too many times...

25th July10, Embleton bay, 06:30

Up early with Daisy and down to Embleton Bay for the first time. I thinks she was impressed. Despite the early hour we were joined by a jogger, a walker, two cyclists and a photographer. It was a lovely morning but I was still in my 'winter' gear and was far too hot for the season. It's been anything from 11 - 23C in the last week but I should have checked my thermometer before I left the car...

The horizon was a confusing picture of clouds, sky, sea, waves, sand and reflections.

Friday 23 July 2010

like normal

23rd July10, Newton Links, 8am

Back to the old schedule with Daisy for the first time because I had no work on this morning and it was low tide at 8am.

We discovered rockpools (wet paws), saw a horse (fascinating) and a jogger (fascinating), and met a few other dogs back at the car park (friends!).

After a half-hour running around, Daisy went off to bed and slept until noon. I think life will get a lot easier after next week when I can take Daisy out and about to tire her out.

Thursday 22 July 2010

when it rains...

Craster this morning. Who put the "rain" into "Training"??

We went to the woods for a bit of shelter and later, after the rain eased, we ventured to the harbour.

22nd July10, Craster, 8am

When it rains, I always think monochrome. I've gone for a very contrasty black and white conversion here.

This is a view peeking over the harbour wall behind which we were sheltering. It's a view of Dunstanburgh I've not seen before and the rocks and waves make an interesting foreground.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

same place, 3 days

19th July10, Embleton Bay, 8am

Harebells are such beautiful, delicate flowers and they've just started appearing along the dunes. After the heavy rain, they seem laden down with a burden of raindrops.

20th July10, Embleton Bay, 9am

Overnight rain eventually petered out but it stayed dull. Nice clouds reflected in the skaith.

Just as the day was warming up, a sea fog rolled in obscuring the castle and bringing the air temperature down by several degrees in just a few minutes.

21st July10, Embleton Bay, 8am

The rain was very heavy overnight and I thought my course would be cancelled this morning, Northumberland's changeable weather came to our rescue and I was joined by David who wasn't put off by the overnight conditions.

Soon the sun came out and it was pleasantly warm for the walk.

Monday 19 July 2010

daisy on the loose

17th July10, Newton Links, 3pm

A nice afternoon walking along below the tide line with Daisy and friends. As far as the Tern colony warning sign and back. Dasiy slept well for a bit of walking.

18th July10, Newton Links, 5pm

For the first time we let Daisy off the lead on the wet sand and tried to get her to chase the ball. She chased a bit but generally just ran around enjoying the off-lead experience.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Threatening Clouds

15th July10, Craster, 8am

After getting soaked last night on a training course at Embleton Bay, I was hoping to avoid rain this morning. This we did but we spent two hours surrounded by threatening clouds.

Cow Parsley. Each flower head is a composite of hundreds of mini-flowers.

On the way home, looking back to the coast, I had to stop the car to get this shot of a retreating storm. Back home, and the village was flooded from a torrential downpour I'd managed to miss.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

quiet this morning

14th July10, Embleton Bay, 8am

As Europe reportedly basks in temperatures that cause the inhabitants to wilt, we have a bracing 14C, rain, and a strong SE wind. It didn't feel much like July but once you have all the wet weather gear on you realise it's warm under all those layers.

I was greeted this morning by a hearty " Where's your dog?". I thought it was someone who had known Trooper but it transpired to be a rye comment on the total absence of anyone except dog-walkers on a foul morning such as this. Dog-walkers and me; A Scottish West-coaster who needs to get wet now and again to feel alive.

Last night Daisy very reluctantly went out to the garden in the rain - she'll have to learn to enjoy it or she's in for a miserable time!

Friday 9 July 2010

Field Trip

8th July10, Newton Links, 3pm

Daisy's getting too heavy to carry to the clean sand from the car park but she's starting to really enjoy a run along the sand. Today she discovered jelly fish (taste bad) and digging (very good fun)

9th July10, Howick Coast, 8am

A very low tide exposing all the fantastic rock formations of the Howick fault. I went right down to the shore and scrambled about in areas I've not been to before. Even though the fault must have slipped many thousands (or millions) of years ago, you can see the power of the thrust in the twisting of the rock beds and the huge (200m) vertical displacement between the limestone to the North and the sandstone to the South of the fault line.

The vertical dispacement is seen in this view (note the 25l barrel on the shore for scale)

Whin sill has subsequently intruded at the fault zone to add to the confusion.

Away from all the fossilised violence, the fulmars and kittiwakes sit peacefully on limestone ledges.

Something, perhaps a swallow, has a taste for a brightly coloured breakfast and obviously didn't fancy the wings.