At the Bitches tidal rapid last Easter, I reeled off hundreds of photos of Paul ‘Cheese’ Robertson ripping up the wave. When I was paddling on the wave, my friend Si picked up my expensive camera and clicked just a few random shots…including the photo above, which is being prominently used in Dagger/ Palm’s promotional brochures and posters this year. I guess that I should just give up and sell my camera…or at least give it away to Si…
I don’t recall taking this black and white photo of the train station in our village, some time last year … I just randomly found it on an old memory card, whilst looking for something else. No nasty Photoshopping has taken place here, this is exactly how it came out of the camera. Presumably I was panning and zooming at the same time, on a long exposure. Or maybe it’s just a random effect; I tripped whilst pressing the shutter release, or something. I honestly do not recall.
I’m undecided if it’s a good photo, or a terrible photo. But I like it, regardless.
This butterfly happened to land nearby on one of the very rare occasions that I had my macro lens on the camera. I really should use it more, it’s an interesting window into another world, one which exists right under our noses, largely unseen.
Kermit (below) is only 10mm long.
Both seen in south Wales.
Hunstanton is the only town on the east coast with a view facing west. It looks out over the Wash and is frankly, a very fine place.
Back home at last, after six weeks away; thankfully the house is still here and the cat still loves me. I enjoyed wonderful trips to Islay and the Western Isles with Heather, and then spent the last week with a few friends exploring the coast of a very different environment; the wide open skies of Norfolk and Suffolk! All of this was about writing/ photography ‘work’ for forthcoming books. There may have also been some paddling and surfing involved, so it wasn’t much of a hardship! These six weeks have offered a very eclectic holiday around our coast, and all the better for it.
A few randomly selected photos follow, for now…
Our very good friends Si and Cheryl got married this weekend. I’ve shared some great kayaking adventures with Si around the world, ranging from last week’s Italy jaunt to a year taken out of work 2000-2001, in which we did a round-the-world Grand Tour lugging white water kayaks with us. I got married during the New Zealand leg of the RTW trip, although Si somehow failed to attend the ceremony. His lame excuse was that he was severely ill with Leptospirosis at the time, forcing H and I to drag bemused strangers off the street to legally witness the ceremony…
Si met Cheryl shortly after returning from that trip, and they’ve continued the worldwide paddling adventures over the past decade; we’ve been lucky enough to join them on a few. Congratulations to both of you from Heather and I, wishing you a long and happy life together! Thanks also for laying on such a great weekend for us all, it was a fantastic chance to catch up with old friends.
A few photos follow of the wedding, and also of earlier adventures on four or five different continents…
A few random images of wonderful south west Wales.
This photo shows the island of Ailsa Craig, 9 miles offshore in the Firth of Clyde, up in Scotland.
I usually hate piddling around with Photoshop – the vast majority of pics here on the blog are simply posted up direct from the camera without any editing at all. I have nothing against Photoshop, it’s just that I am lazy and life is too short.
However, visiting this monolithic offshore rock a few days back, I realised that the thing was simply too big to do justice to, up close…if only I’d taken a wide-angle lens! Just now I took three separate pics of Ailsa Craig’s cliffs and stitched them together in Photoshop. I’m not a techie, but it was amazingly easy…took just a few minutes and only one or two clicks. I thought that the end result was pretty impressive too, frankly.
I strongly recommend that you try clicking on the image to see the larger version. Somewhere hidden in the image waiting to be spotted are; an 1100 foot tall island, thousands of columns of granite, 40000 gannets and two small female kayakers.
I’m proud to announce that the Second Edition of ‘South West Sea Kayaking‘ is now in print and on sale. The First Edition of my guidebook to the coasts and islands between the Isle of Wight and the Severn estuary was very well received (e.g. see the Amazon reviews), however it recently sold out. I took the opportunity to go through the book with a toothcomb and update/ augment as much information as I could.
What’s different in the new edition? Overall, I made about 450 separate changes to the text;
Out of date information has been updated or removed.
- All phone numbers and web links have been checked and updated. I couldn’t believe how many had changed, about half of the accommodation details for instance.
- Removed references to out of date accommodation and added new ones, including coastal hostels.
- Updated reading/ reference lists.
- Where I could squeeze it in, I added extra details about areas and routes.
- Reviewed some of the tidal info in the last two chapters (more info available now, it was previously a bit thin).
- About half the photos have been changed – I feel that the overall quality is better now, including lots donated kindly by other paddlers.
I hope that this new edition is useful, and helps paddlers to get out and explore the fantastic south-west coast. Thanks to all who helped with the process of updating it.
The second edition is available here.
Back in December I injured my back (ironically, picking up a kayak) and have been a bit creaky ever since, on the road to recovery. The occasion of the accident was a white water kayaking event in Devon. Unable to paddle due to the pain, instead I popped a few painkillers, stuck a load of camera gear into a backpack, propped myself up on trekking poles, and hobbled into the upper Dart gorge.
It was a productive walk. The conditions were grim for photography (overcast damp fog and ice) but the resulting photos were good enough at least to pay for the weekend; some were used to fill a few pages in Canoe Kayak UK magazine, last issue. More pertinently, it wasn’t unpleasant to sit and reflect in this incredible Dartmoor environment. Not all of my memories of this place are happy ones, but the overwhelming majority certainly are.
Happy Birthday incidentally, to Canoe Kayak UK magazine – ten years old this month.
The paddler in my photo is Richard Hampson. He’s been very much in demand since he became a pin-up. If you need to contact him, get your people to talk to his people…
My photo article on the Shetland Isles (above is an uncorrected rough draft) is still available in Canoe Kayak UK magazine; on the newsagents’ shelves for another two weeks or so. I’ve also just seen a preview of next month’s issue – they’ve used one of my photos as the cover, splendid!
Please rush out and buy these magazine issues, so that I get paid and hence can make a down-payment on my planned Bond-Villain-style hideaway (either a mountain-top germ laboratory or a dormant volcano-cum-space base, I haven’t decided yet). Or it might just help me pay for a replacement lens for the one I dropped in the River Dart.