I have been driving past this tree a few times, always wondering who and why they put a face on it 🙂
To see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Tree’ click here.
I have been driving past this tree a few times, always wondering who and why they put a face on it 🙂
To see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Tree’ click here.
5 Peak 500.
It is finally time to announce a new adventure challenge to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support to honour my Dad who passed away in May 2012.
It’s been a couple of years since my last challenge due to new family, injury and work commitments and I’m so excited that it’s finally a go 🙂
Once again I am borrowing Dave Cornthwaite’s Ice Trike “Trikey”, this time I’m taking him on a 500 mile road trip round Scotland, also know as the NC500 and to make sure I nail some great views I will get of the trike and tackle 5 big peaks along the way.
Here’s the background story to why I am dedicating my holidays to raise money for a cancer charity.
Back in April 2012 while I was participating in Ulla Lohmann Expedition Photography workshop in South Tirol I got the sad news that my Dad was diagnosed with cancer and naturally I was devastated and worried so I quit the workshop and next morning Basti, Ulla’s husband, drove me to the airport so I could fly to Denmark.
The first prognosis was good and the doctors were positive, that they could get rid of the cancer, but at my visit the following month it became clear he was not coping well with the chemotherapy, Friday 18th May we were told he would probably not survive the weekend and the whole family gathered round the bed at the hospital to bid their farewell and my Mum moved into his hospital room.
The weekend passed without much change and during the following week it became clear that while he was very weak, he also had some fight left in him and was not ready to move on just yet.
At the end of the week it became very clear that his greatest wish was to go home and while that seemed to be an impossible task due to the hospital’s “red tape”, eventually in the evening of the 25th during the night, I helped carry a hospital bed into my parent’s living room and finally Saturday afternoon he came home and again the family was gathered for to visit but this time in his own home.
After a long hard night he was in a bad state but peaceful about being home.
Finally Sunday 27th in the afternoon he bid his farewell and passed on, I was glad his pain was over and that the family was there in those last precious moments.
I will be sharing photos, video and blogs along the way using the hashtag #5peak500 as long as signal allows and I have set up a www.justgivingpage.com/5peak500 and I would appreciate all donations, big and small.
Feel free to share and THANK YOU ALL IN ADVANCE
Today I finally managed to take a wee jaunt up to the Fyrish Monument, it seem about time as I’ve been watching the Fyrish every time I drive past on the A9 and I’ve driven past at least twice a day on average! It’s an easy but steep climb up a straightforward woodland path that opens up to great views and with today’s changing weather I was hoping for some dramatic skies to photograph , while the weather didn’t let me down I was unsure how to spin new light on much photographed/painted monuments from 1782 but I will leave it up to you to judge my photos below!
As much as I enjoyed the monument I was quickly drawn to a small pond/bog at the summit by the loud buzzing of wings and I was not disappointed to find a large brown/yellow dragonfly laying eggs in the water 😀
If anyone can identify the dragonfly please let me know and as always I would love to hear any comments and questions from you.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.
It’s been a long time wish for me to visit the Old Man of Storr and about a week ago I finally got the chance even though it was a race against the weather and dwindling daylight but we made it to the car park with about two hours of daylight left and I raced up the trail ahead of Stacie as she was walking rather slowly due to her back injury acting up and when I reached the old man the horizon was turning awful dark so I hardly took time to stop but pressed on past the old man and up onto an exposed rocky outcrop where it looked like I might get a better vantage point. When I reached the summit and I stretched up as far as I could while shooting, without warning the wind and the snow hit me hard and nearly blew me clean over the edge but I managed to throw myself down the slightly gentler angled slope and within 30 seconds the view was gone and I was engulfed in a total whiteout, thinking there was no point in waiting round for more photo opportunity’s I started half running, half sliding down the slope trying not to get lost but within 5-10min the storm had blown over and I got reunited with Stacie as she was coming up the last steep section of the trail, after playing around in the snow for a short while it was time to head back down and the sky looked like it was on fire.
To see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Warm Light’ click here.
So I live in a pretty rural area and seldom anything new happens around here except for one night last week. It was early evening, just about dinner time when the dogs started barking, they barked in a weird intense way so I went out to check it out and soon after a strangely unpleasant smell filled the air and a small herd of feral goats walked past the croft! They were just walking by, all cool and calm, talking no notice of the 8 Huskies barking their heads of just meters away.
Being a photographer my camera is always loaded and ready to go, I forgot all about the dinner I had in the oven, grabbed my camera and ran for my car, taking up pursuit of the goats. I followed them from the road a fair distance while snapping away and even managed to leap frog ahead and wait for them to pass but soon after they cut inland away from the road and while I did follow them on foot I soon realised that maybe I needed to get back to my car since I left it sitting on a single track road!
Here’s a small selection of goat images, if you like them please take a moment to visit my Facebook page to see the rest and other nice images 🙂
As always, feel free to comment or ask anything you like.
After quite a long absence I’ve finally gotten round to posting a new post, the theme “End of Day” can sound quite dark and ominous but the first thing that came to mind for me was the awesome sunset I photographed recently. It was a totally unplanned shot, (as it often happens) I was driving along and saw the sun setting over Dornoch Firth with the most amazing colors so I pulled over and grabbed the camera, I hope you enjoy 🙂
To see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘End of Day’ click here.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.
I have posted images from the Kelpies before but now they are very close to finish all the building work so I have been back and even though it was a very bright and sunny day there is something about the Kelpies that inspire to B&W.
To see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Black and White’ click here.
Right! It’s now been a week since I handed back Dave’s Ice Trike and I have serious post trip blues and every time I see a road all I can think is ‘I wonder how Trikey would handle that corner and then I start grinning like a mad man’.
Before meeting Trikey and the team behind the Ice Trike brand I spent a few hectic days researching, planning and looking for a good map of Cornwall, this turned out to be harder than expected and I had to improvise here and there 🙂
I am very excited when I arrive at the factory and after a 3 min test drive I started filling the panniers with my belongings and was soon ready to start the adventure, my first stop was at a beach cafe in down town Falmouth for tea and cake with new friend and local contact Lorraine (@LPKT2015) but soon after that I hit the pedals and soon I was on the country lanes with the sun in my eyes and wind in my hair 🙂
The first day I planned to take it easy to learn how Trikey was responding to the road with the full weight of all my kit but I soon found riding the trike to be so easy and the brakes just fills you with confidence and before long I was zooming down the hills with a huge grin and whooping with joy. I stayed on the small roads most of the day, stopping in small towns along the way to top up my water and eat Cornish ice cream and as the day was coming to an I found myself at the end of a single lane road that ended on a beach and since my legs were spent I decided it was time to camp, eat and sleep.
After a first day/night camping it always amazes me how quickly I change into “trip mode”, where routines and things just fall into place and every piece of kit quickly finds its regular spot in the panniers. Brewing coffee and having breakfast in the morning sun before breaking down camp is calming and relaxing but the thought of taking Trikey on the roads towards unknown adventures excites me too much and I quickly get ready for the day on the road 🙂
As I’m already on the Lizard Peninsula my first goal of the day is to get to Lizard Point but as soon as I get under way and sticking to the single lane roads I get distracted by stunning views over small early morning deserted beaches and I take my time to enjoy the ride, I even stop at a surf shop/cafe that had a huge sign promising “Real Homemade Cornish Ice Cream” and even though its only 9 in the morning I smile and remind myself that I’m on holiday and #1 rule on holiday is that you can eat ice cream whenever you want 😀 I quickly scan the shop for OS maps while my ice cream order is being processed by the less than happy looking guy behind the counter, I get a feeling he’s not all too happy working at such a stunning beach so I take my treat outside and sit in the sun, admiring the views when the guy comes out to ask about the trike and he is soon chatting away, it turns out he is covering for a sick colleague and would rather be out chasing the waves than opening up the shop on his day off. Without a new map I soon continue towards the Point and as the peninsula narrows, so does the choice of road and I’m soon forced onto the main road where the traffic is slightly more busy but most of the drivers wave and smile as they give me plenty of room, the surface is smooth, it’s a slight downhill and I zoom though the little town of Lizard, very quickly I arrive at the point and it’s a stunning morning with only a few cars parked and staff is still shuffling around to open the small cafe that is advertised as the most southern cafe in England but I’m more interested in the views and is rewarded with a single grey seal laying in the sun on a small rock sticking out of the water.
After a delicious cappuccino at the cafe I started up the hill again and as I pulled into the side to let a car pass on the narrow lane an elderly couple pops up from the field next to the road, it turned out they were bird watching and Lucy had spotted my Macmillan t-shirt and wanted to know if I was raising money for Macmillan and donated right there on the side of the road 🙂
Soon after I’m leaving Lizard I am riding over the edge of my map and is now navigating from a map I ripped out from a tourist brochure but it had to do until I could find a new OS map.
Since the map didn’t include anything but A roads I ended up doing lots of detours down to the coast only to end up at yet another “Pay & Display” car park by the sea and having to backtrack Trikey up to the main road. “Pay & Display” car parks seems to be big business in Cornwall as I see them everywhere. Soon my luck changed and the single lanes started cutting though charming small villages by the sea and I was making good progress again but eventually I ended up on the main road leading into Helston and I approached the first local I meet to ask for directions but without a map he was not able to point me in the right direction and I was sitting at a large roundabout with only a vague idea about what direction to go when a small car pulled up and a guy waving, it turned out to be one of the guys from the Ice Trike factory that had helped set Trikey up for the trip only the day before. He turned out to be a super helpful source of information and not only pointed me in the right direction but also suggested a cycle path with tarmac and soon I was whizzing along on a car free path towards the ocean 🙂
Late in the afternoon I arrived at another beach with another “Pay & Display” car park and parked in a corner and threw myself on the ground overlooking the surf while resting my tired legs for a moment and considering my camp options. It was still too light to wild camp and I didn’t fancy waiting around for another 4 hours waiting for the sun to set so I started looking for a camp ground and soon came across The Old Farm Praasands and host Wendy was kind enough to let me stay for free in the name of charity, this site was full of good natured people that took turn to stop by and ask about the trike and Macmillan in general while I was setting up camp and I was invited for a cold beer by the neighbour before dinner, after dinner I turned in and quickly fell asleep. The following morning while brewing coffee more fellow campers stopped by to drop off supplies like pots of porridge, juice and bread. The day was off to a good start and after a couple of test rides on the camp grounds I was in high spirits when I started the climb up from the beach 🙂
First up I stopped to let Trikey pose with St Michaels Mt in the background, then onwards to Penzance and along the coastal road to Mousehole that turned out to be the most charming little town so far and I hung out at the tidal harbour while eating pasty and Cornish ice cream, once again luck was on my side and I picked up a new map and found a cycle track that followed the coast line and was mostly free of cars. Next goal on the map was Land’s End, locals told me not to expect too much but I was hugely disappointed when I got closer and saw that you had to pay to access Land’s End! I took my chances on the trike and slowed down just enough to say hi to the ticket guy but I never stopped to give him a chance to charge me. Land’s End mostly reminds me of the small touring carnival that would should up at the annual village fair and I quickly made my rounds, took a few snaps and left as quietly as I arrived, it was a windy day and it got worse with some dark clouds gathering as well and the predicted change in weather looked like it would arrive a day early while I made my way up the rugged coast line.
My next stop was St Just and this is where my all to short love affair with Warrens Bakery started after I stopped to top up my pasty levels, Oh My God, it was so good that I tweeted about it straight away and for the rest of my trip I stopped at as many Warrens Bakery’s as possible and they were even kind enough to sponsor me with delicious pasty, coffee and cake at every stop 😀
After Cape Cornwall I aimed for Portheras Cove and just before the cove there was a gate leading onto National Trust land and after a short visit to the cove I made my way back and pushed Trikey though the gate and hid him amongst the bushes while I made camp in a small clearing out of sight from the road. After a very wet night I had to break down camp in light drizzling rain and most of my gear was now wet but as I started on my way it cleared up a little bit and by the time I reached St Ives it had stopped raining and I started to dry out a little while I found the next Warrens Bakery. After refuelling I continued along the coast line only stopping to admire the view of the many beaches and as I got near St Agnes the weather got nice and sunny again so I decided to stop early, set up camp and try to dry out some kit. As it was only 4 o’clock I opted for another camp site and again got a discount in the name of charity, after setting up camp and drying kit for a couple of hours I took Trikey into St Agnes to treat myself to a real meal and break the routine of freeze dried food and I found a nice hotel pub where I had a nice meal and a pint. By the time I headed back to camp it started raining again and I quickly secured everything before crawling into my sleeping bag in an attempt to sleep though the storm. It turns out to be a long night with high winds and lots of rain but finally early morning the clouds breaks and the sun starts to slowly dry my tent and I shuffle about brewing coffee and making breakfast before packing up the still damp camp and just as I start taking down the tent the drizzle starts again, looks like it’s another day of carrying wet gear around 🙂
I kept my head down in the light drizzle and started to looked forward to lunch in Newquay, my first stop was Warrens Bakery and after a refreshing pasty lunch I carried on and again took a short day in an attempt to dry out my tent and made camp in the afternoon sun. Next morning I was up and on the road early in anticipatience of the Camel Trail that is starting in Padstow and running along the River Camel and is following an old railway track, just as I hit the start of the track I had to break for a woman crossing the track with her hands full of cake, she stopped to say hi and I cheekily asked if the cake was for me and after another wee chat I simply had to come in and say hello while getting coffee and cake for my second breakfast, it turns out Padstow Sailing Club was having their monthly coffee morning and I was invited but it was only 9:30 and the coffee morning was not due to start before 11 so after my cuppa we all posed for photos and I was eager to get on the trail. I had not been promised too much, the trail was lovely to ride and the views over the river was nothing short of stunning and the miles flew in, before I knew it I was pushing on towards the second stop on the trail and realised to late that it was taking me straight in land away from the coast line I was trying to follow, adding a 14 mile detour to my day before getting back to the coast line but my efforts was rewarded at the end of the day with another farm campsite that allowed me to stay for free and this time I really got a chance to dry everything in the setting sun 🙂
Finally on day 7 I ride though Bude and aim for Morwenstow, the most North Eastern point in Cornwall that is marked on my map before turning round towards the southern coast line again. This turns out to be the longest day regarding distance and as I approach Launceston the roads get busy and I experience the first abuse on the trip, first from a female driving a light green Citroen Xsara Picasso and despite the fact that she’s behind the steering wheel she still manage to lean out the passenger window to shout something that I can’t make out over the aggressive acceleration from the diesel Citroen but she looks angry as I smile back! Next incident happens while refuelling at a petrol station, a white van man comes up to me and start the conversation with “I’m not having a go at you BUT” and then rants on about why cyclists are not wearing luminous vests, when he finally stops to breathe I kindly point out that I’m not on a bike but a trike and I don’t think the vest would be visible due to the seat, this completely stops his train of thoughts while he’s looking at the trike. Finally he points to the flag and says “this is really good and easy to see” before he goes away and I wish him a good day, I’m still standing in wonder but still smiling about the incident when he pulls out with a big wave, it would seem Cornwall’s angry drivers are gathering in Launceston 🙂 So strange that after a week on the road with literally 1000s of thumbs up, smiles, laughs and encouraging words I meet the only two negative people in Cornwall on the same day, in the same city! maybe they are related or married?
After Launceston I cut inland and cross Bodmin moor, I had planned to camp on the moor but it’s a bleak and windswept place and I push on south in search of a better spot and as dusk starts to fall I pull into a rest area complete with picnic tables and out of sight from the road I make camp, after dinner I check the map and it looks like I’m within reach of my starting point in Falmouth and this fills me with equal amounts of sadness and joy. I’m filled with joy because it feels good to be completing the circle but sad as I’m loving the freedom to just be on an adventure in this beautiful part of the country and I just don’t want it to end! With these conflicting thoughts whirling around my head I close my eyes and fall asleep.
My last day starts with beautiful weather but my camp is in the shade and once again I break down a wet camp but the open road calls me and I answer, the navigation does not go as smooth as I’m used to, maybe I’m getting tired or maybe it’s because I for the first time have to get to a certain location or face a very long detour, either way, after a few detours and help from the twitter crowd I now have a phone number for a ferry and after a quick call I’m set to finish into Falmouth on a ferry 🙂
After a last epic downhill I arrive at the pier in St Mawes to buy my ticket, the ticket master ensures me Trikey will fit just fine on the ferry and the crew is very helpful with lifting him on/off and it turns out Dave was on the exact same ferry just a few weeks earlier when he arrived in Falmouth, once I’m of the ferry I roll though city centre but as it’s getting late in the day I quickly focus and aim for the factory, it’s late afternoon as I roll in and but Trikey only gets two minutes of rest before a customer takes him out on the test drive with my bags and all.
After catching up with the guys at the Ice Trikes HQ I unpack Trikey and just like that the trip come to an end!
#TrikeCornwall in numbers:
23.000 feet of accents (never got off to push)
6500+ twitter interactions
1000s smiles received
350 miles cycled
£145 raised (www.justgiving.com/TrikeCornwal)
17% steepest accent & decent
12 Pasties eaten
8 days on the road
3 maps to show the way
1 near crash (bus pulled out in front of me on a downhill section! I love the disk brakes on the trike)
Funniest question asked several times during the week “Are you an athlete for doing this?” Ice Trike athlete maybe?
I am not by any means an expert in Ice Trikes or much else for that matter but I’m happy to answer any questions or comments below and if I can offer only one piece of advice it has to be the message below:
Finally a massive thanks to all that donated in person or on www.justgiving.com/TrikeCornwall the page is still live and will still accept your donations and not forgetting all the peeps who helped share my journey on the social media world, especially my twitter feed that went mad with more than 6500 interactions over the course of the trip, you guys are just awesome x
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