Lake District

On our drive back to London from Scotland we decided to make a stop at the Lake District. I’ve wanted to go to the Lakes for years so I was really looking forward to it. We were lucky with the weather too, as it was bright, sunny and a complete contrast to the day before at Loch Lomond.

We drove to one part of the area called Ullswater and got out to have a look around. Here there was a pier and a gift shop alongside a brilliant blue lake. Walking around the lake the scenery was just beautiful with vibrant blues and greens everywhere you looked.

Having walked for a while the kids were getting tired and the older ones getting bored (teenagers eh!) so we headed back to the car. We next drove to another part of the Lakes and this time leaving the grumpy teenagers behind with their gadgets we went for another walk.
We came across a couple of families that were getting their boats into the water at a part of the lake that was low enough to do so. We watched for a while intrigued to see that people did this.

After some time we continued down a road and then some smaller paths. It was quieter and less busy, and anyone we did pass said hello which we thought was very friendly. There were also people swimming in this part of the lake as it was less deep. My niece found some blackberries which I helped her pick and we also came across some strange rock formations. No idea what these were for.

We eventually went back to the car to check up on the teenagers and then we drove to our final spot in the Lakes. We drove uphill to a small church that was tucked away in the hills. From there we were able to hike up to the top of steep hillsides.

The climb was easy because the earth and grass were soft and it wasn’t slippery but it was difficult because of just how steep it was. After walking uphill for about 10 minutes I found myself breathing harder than I expected! It was well worth it though. As we climbed higher and higher the view became more and more breathtaking.

When we finally reached as far as we could due to time restraints we stopped and just took in the view. The landscape was stunning, and the sun bursting through the clouds casting light spots and shadows across the hills was just wonderful. It really was soul food to just look around and see how beautiful this world can be.

We soaked in the view for a while and then carefully and steadily made our way back to the church where the car was, passing lots of friendly smiley people along the way. We were a bit disappointed to not have been able to make it to the top so my brother in law took a short cut and drove up to a high point. From here you could see the hills, the lake glittering in the sun and the tiny sailboats on the water. It was an amazing view.

We finally started making the long journey back home, hoping to beat traffic and arrive early evening. It was a great summer break, visiting the Peak District, Scotland and the Lake District. I’m so pleased to be able to tick off a few places off my bucket list and it was a nice reprieve from the city and the tough year that 2020 has unexpectedly been.

Scotland Trip – part 3

After having spent the morning at a market and a museum we decided to spend the rest of the day at Loch Lomond, which is a well known beauty spot in Scotland. One little village which sits on the loch is Luss so we started there.

It was a grey, overcast day but we decided to make the most of it. Due to the mishaps of the morning we arrived a at Luss in the late afternoon so we decided to go into the shops first as they would close soon. They had a strange but interesting fairy house and a giant toadstool nearby.

As we arrived so late we missed the chance to take a ride on a speed boat.

We instead decided to take out a pedal boat which were still available to hire. It was harder than it looked but the slower pace allowed us to take in the scenery around us. The lake was huge and the distant hills seemed to go on for miles.

After the boat trip we decided to go to some other notable points around the lake. One tucked away spot was where there was a waterfall. We took a beaten down path through the woodland and followed the sound of roaring water.

The waterfall looked amazing, but I didn’t get a chance to try any fancy photography tricks as the air was filled with tiny little midges which were flying into our faces! There was also an iron tunnel nearby which led to a closer view of the waterfall.

Having spent a while exploring the area and getting tired of waving our hands around our faces we moved onto the next, hopefully midge free spot. Driving further around the loch we found a walkway that stretched out over the water which was very peaceful.

This last stop we made was to a viewing tower over looking the loch. There were also benches to sit on and lots of wildflowers around to admire.

Climbing to the top it was now dusk. If the weather had been clear we would have a seen a beautiful sunset over the lake. I was a bit disappointed but not too much as the view was still pretty amazing.

After spending some time at the top and taking in the view and the quiet we decided to start the long journey back to the hotel, along dark, winding, narrow roads to get some rest and some food. Although the day didn’t quite go as planned we still enjoyed it and managed to explore some of what Scotland has to offer.

Southend

We’ve had some unexpected warmer weather recently so to make the most of it I made a trip to the nearest coast; Southend. My last visit was a few years ago so I was keen to see what had changed. I love being by the sea, I find it so calming and it’s always a welcome change of scenery.

When I arrived it was still a little hazy and misty so the sea wasn’t quite as clear as I expected. Looking across the fairground rides the sea looked welcoming. Walking down to sea level, the first thing I did was head towards the longest pleasure pier in the world at 1.34 miles long. Walking along the pier is a must for me and I wanted to do this before it got busy.

Walking along the pier there were benches where you could rest. I loved that each one I came across had a pretty seaside themed silhouette scene on the backrest.

Eventually I reached the top of the pier where there surprisingly, some colourfully decorated beach huts. I thought they looked great, especially as the sun had now come out through the clouds and made the colours pop. I think my favourite was the rainbow one with the giant silver ball on the roof.

There was also a restaurant and a RNLI Lifeboat base and giftshop, so I bought a few souvenirs for my sisters.

After taking in the view and soaking in the warm, bright sun at the top of the pier I decided I should head back to the coast and get some lunch. There’s a train that runs along the pier too but I decided to walk back as I was in no rush.

Having had lunch I decided to take a walk along the beach and take in the view from the coast end to the pier. The beach is a pebbly one and there were lots of seashells and oyster shells scattered throughout. I picked a few up before finding a spot to rest. By late afternoon the wind was feeling cooler so I headed back to the station. On my way back I found some really cool street art, which I stopped to look at and admire.

The train home was quick and easy and I left Southend feeling refreshed. I hope to visit again soon and would definitely recommend a visit.

St Katherine Docks

I passed through St Katherine Docks a few weeks ago. The docks are tucked away near Tower Bridge and hold lots of different types of boats, from modern yachts to boats of a more older style.

There was also a nice surprise of seeing the Queen’s royal barge Gloriana situated in the marina.

There’s lots to take in as you stroll across the bridges and sidewalks, including some panels of vibrant colours and prints along one wall. I personally always love to take in the details of the older boats; the way the ropes have become frayed after years of use, the rusty anchor and chains and the pretty lettering of the names of the boats.

St Katherine Docks is a calm space in a bustling part of London and it’s a great spot to take a stroll through or to stop and have a drink or a meal and admire the view.

Afternoon Tea on the Thames

Afternoon tea is quintessentially British, and it seems to be a big craze at the moment in London. I’m not particularly keen on it (how in-British of me, I know) as I don’t particularly drink hot drinks and I prefer a big tasty lunch to sandwiches and cake, but when I was came across afternoon tea on the River Thames with a guide that would inform me of Muslim history in London, I thought it would be quite fun. As a cruise linked to Eid I decided to buy myself and my mum a ticket hoping she’d enjoy it too. My sisters, my sister in law and her mum also joined us.

The meeting point was at Tower of London and after we were all checked in we were able to get on the boat. Once we were in our seats we had tea to start with and then the some delicious looking food.

As we enjoyed our food and the view, the guide started telling us about some of the connections of Muslims to the city of London, which was quite interesting. When we reached Westminster Bridge the boat turned around to go back towards the port. By this point I’d had enough to eat so I grabbed my camera and went above deck. The sun was out and with the cool breeze it felt so refreshing. We passed some iconic landmarks that sit on the banks of the River Thames.

After spending some time above deck taking in the sights and some photos we headed back downstairs. The organisers held a competition that my sisters and I (and it seems no one else) entered so we won a big box of chocolates, as the odds were definitely in our favour!
As we docked back into the port we gathered our things and headed for the exit. It was a lovely afternoon that we all really enjoyed, and I thought it was a real treat to actually go on a boat down the River Thames instead of just watching the waves from the shore.

Slowing Down a Waterfall

I tried my hand at creating a misty water effect on a waterfall in the park yesterday. This is usually achieved by slowing down the shutter speed to allow the light into the lens for longer and creating a sense of movement as the water falls.

Here’s the fountain on a normal shutter speed. You can see that the water is frozen in time and is broken into droplets.

In this second photo where I slowed down the speed of the shutter you can see that the water looks continuous and misty, like flowing water.

The key thing with trying to create a misty effect is that you need a tripod to hold the camera completely still while the shutter closes, as any movement causes the photo to become blurry, like the second photo is a little as I was holding the camera in my hand trying to be still.

I’m pleased with the results so far but hopefully I’ll get more practice and a tripod so the next time I come decide to shoot a flowing river, rapid stream or just a pretty fountain I can aim to get some great photos.

Brighton – part 2

The Royal Pavilion is one of the most famous sights at Brighton, but you can’t come all the way to the coast without making it to the sea, and that was the next stop on my trip earlier this year.

It was a beautiful, sunny, day and although not the warmest, the deep blue sea sparkled against the largely cloudless sky. First off my friend and I headed to the pier where there were traditional rides and a stripy helter skelter.

We then walked along the very pebbly beach, which was quite a work out and just soaked in the view and the sun as well as just enjoying the stiff breeze against our faces. Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with delicious ice creams and colourful slushies.

One of the things we looked out for on the coast was the bandstand and when we came across it we could see why it was considered so iconic. It was right on the seafront and the Victorian style was stunning against the sea and sky.

Something else I unexpectedly saw nearby was the shell of a pier. Looking into the details, the West Pier had burnt down in 2003 and the remains were left and have since become one of the most photographed landmarks in Brighton, and it’s not hard to see why. Juxtaposed against the old was Brighton’s newest attraction; a moving viewing platform. I didn’t have time to go on myself, but I can imagine the views were amazing.

After spending some more time just walking along the seafront, we slowly started making our way back through the town centre and towards the station, to head home. We were really lucky to have such great weather for the day out in Brighton; there was plenty to keep my friend and I interested and there were some really beautiful views and buildings to photograph. I would very much recommend a visit to anyone who is interested.

WPC: Earth

This photo makes me think of Earth, especially at this time of year. The beauty and renewal that Spring time brings, in views like this, gives me hope and makes me smile. I’m lucky to have such amazing scenes close to home that really give me motivation and inspiration to go out and capture our wonderful, natural world.

Winter Lights 2017

Canary Wharf in London hosted a Winter Lights festival which I went along to last week. Last year was London’s first light festival which was huge and was based in the centre of the Capital. This year’s festival, however, was over a 2 weeks period, with less installations and in a less busy part of London, although still very attractive.

On arrival to Canary Wharf we were welcomed by a giant egg shaped structure that was lit up with changing colours that you could walk through, which I thought was vey pretty. Walking on we saw some lovely, illuminated angel wings with halos, but one of the best pieces on show, for me, were the bright neon strips tied around tree trunks. Light was shone one to them to bring out the reflective nature of the strips which looked very bright and almost psychedelic. It was a simple idea but one that was so striking.

Next we came across some balls that changed colour in sync to music being played, which was relaxing and entertaining, and some mist on water that had shapes and colours projected onto it, which if you moved around in front of made the shapes dance and change. Another of my favourites pieces on show was the super innovative water fall where the water was dropped in letters to form words that shone for a second before disappearing.

The last part of the festival was set up indoors which gave everyone a chance to warm up, and get out of the freezing cold evening. The most interesting light installation here was one that was operated with an EEG headset which a person put on, converting the person’s brainwaves into light movement and sound. It felt quite futuristic and I can imagine it being an idea that grows.

After 3 hours of walking around, I think I managed to see most of the light and art installations on show. The festival didn’t cost anything and it let me see some really innovative art, as well as enabling me to spend some in a part of London that I never usually visit.