This stunning coastal walk explores some of Britain’s highest chalk cliffs from Flamborough Head https://www.yorkshire.com/places/yorkshire-coast/flamborough to Bempton.What better way to welcome the Spring than with this moderately challenging walk.At a distance of 6 miles in the sunshine along the East Yorkshire coast, there are wonderful views… and the arrival of some our Summer sea bird visitors for company.
Best Foot Forward
Start from Flamborough Head Lighthouse, a well-maintained and imposing beacon with a lot of history. The original lighthouse was first built in 1669 https://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/lighthouse-visitor-centres/flamborough-lighthouse-visitor-centre This is an opportunity for refreshment and toilets at the Lighthouse Cafe, before starting out.Take a walking-pole, you may need it and, depending on the weather, sturdy walking boots.The walk starts off with some fairly narrow, steep, steps.Look out for skylarks, corn buntings, stone chats, wheat ears and of course, many butterflies and an abundance of wildflowers.
Bright Yellow Gorse in Full Bloom
Skirt the Flamborough golf course, edged with vibrant, yellow gorse in full bloom at this time of year.The only problem with this walk is the many stops that need to be taken in order to drink in the views and take photographs.The North Sea is at its best along this stretch of coast.It is surprisingly blue.There are lots of places to just sit and stare.
Follow Your Nose
It is difficult to go wrong, just follow the coast path up through Thornwick, leaving the bay down below.There are not many opportunities for paddling.The cliffs are steep drops to the sea below.Sadly, there is some coastal erosion in parts.Great care must be taken.
The walk ends at the visitor centre of the RSPB’s https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/bempton-cliffs Bempton Cliffs nature reserve.Here are viewing platforms to get better sightings of the nesting birds. And there possibility of seeing a Puffin. Refreshments are available here too.The cliffs are a temporary home to razorbills, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, fulmars and puffins – a cacophony of screeching seabirds.This is one of Europe’s busiest seabird colonies.Be prepared though, the smell of the guano can take your breath away.
The Stunning East Yorkshire Coast
This has to be one of the most stunning coastal walks in Britain, it’s certainly one of my favourites.This particular route was voted 50th in an ITV poll to find Britian’s favourite walk. If you’re even mildly interested in wildlife, Bempton Cliffs is the place to be.
On my morning scroll-through Linkedin, a contact of mine, Susan Hallam of Hallam Internet, https://www.hallaminternet.com/ had posted an image that stopped me in my tracks.It was a simple image taken in my home town, Nottingham.It was predominantly the ‘Council House’, only slightly obscured by some Fothergill Watson architecture, which I visualised to be at the bottom of King Street.
My home town
I could almost be on a vantage point looking down into the city-centre, perhaps on the roof of the Royal Concert Hall? At least that’s how it made me feel.This image could have been taken anywhere in the world:Istanbul, Prague, Bruges but no, it was Nottingham.And how stunningly beautiful it looked too.
A popular post
I don’t usually share images, or any old article about marketing that I come across but this was different; this shouted ‘share me!’It wasn’t long before my screen lit up with notifications.Almost 40 likes and over 1000 views in a very short space of time.
I commented on the post and within minutes the photographer, Tracey Whitefoot, had responded to thank me.I also noticed that she had replied to every single comment both previously and since.
I went to Tracey’s website http://tracey-whitefoot.squarespace.com and was blown away with her architecture and landscape images.I wondered if she would agree to a chat over coffee and cake, which I could feature on my blog.She didn’t hesitate, need any persuasion or even baulk at the 60 mile round trip either. Coffee and cake then at the Barrister’s Book Chamber https://barristersbookchamber.com/ in Retford, north Nottinghamshire.
Two hours just flew by
I had no idea what to expect – neither of us knew the other!I need not have worried.Tracey was easy to talk to and to listen to… she was relaxed and generously shared her story and her time with me.She has achieved so much – and she is on the cusp of more adventures and even greater things.It was clear that this was going to be no ordinary chat but a fascinating, rollercoaster ride!
It started as just a hobby
Tracey is a Nottingham lass, born and brought up in Chilwell and currently living and working out of Carlton.Most of her work – the bread and butter – is marketing and PR photography, quite a bit of it for both the city and county councils and community-based stuff with colleges, theatres and the local press.It had always been Tracey’s hobby and she had already made the decision to take up photography professionally but an opportunity came through a colleague .She was pushed to get out and take some pictures for someone that her friend thought would be a good contact.It worked and she began to get paid photography work.
Anything that came in after that, if she didn’t have the skill level required, she would do lots of prep and dummy runs the day before!
Around the world
Tracey went to Australia for the first time in 1998 and worked as a ‘Jillaroo’ on a cattle station.After which, much of her early career was spent in sales and then after selling the house she returned to Australia in 2004/2005.She has been all over the world with her camera.She has no formal training although she did think about it briefly but she was doing quite well enough without it.
I had questions prepared that I thought I should ask but they somehow seemed to be irrelevant.Like, ‘which photographers does she admire?’She says that she has great respect for her peers and other female photographers making a living as a professional – like Birmingham-based Verity Milligan and Lincolnshire-born, wildlife photographer Chris Weston, who was a great help when Tracey started out, his books helped her with a lot of the technical aspects of photography.
The million dollar question
And then, ‘what makes a good picture?’Her answer, I now see, is staggeringly obvious; ‘the light’ was her response.This is what makes her get up so early in the morning, this is what motivates her.It is clear in all her compositions and landscapes that this is the most important thing to her – the light!Sunrises, shadows, sunsets and shafts of light.She will go to any lengths for the right light to get the shot that she wants… and it shows. Visit her website and see for yourself!‘The light’ is her motivation.It doesn’t really matter where, as long as the light is right.
Prolific and vibrant images
If today is stressful then treat yourself to a few moments of calm… look at Tracey’s images on http://Www.alamy.com search for lavender and you will be immediately transported to the lavender fields in France.You can almost smell the perfume!
Tracey’s enthusiasm and love of light and life are contagious, she has a real energy.She says she’s ‘bonkers’, I say she’s a genius!
The next big thing
Her next adventure in search of light will take her to Everest basecamp in 2020.I for one, can’t wait to see the what she captures there. But then I hope she soon returns to Nottinghamshire’s best kept secret that is Pilgrim Country, perhaps she will find light here too.
If it’s enthusiasm, energy… and light you want, talk to Tracey.
I was recently taken on a surprise trip to a lovely little B&B, Throstlenest Farm, https://www.throstlenestfarmbandb.co.uk/ just outside Skipton in the the Yorkshire Dales. A good base to stay when you want to visit Bolton Abbey.
The market town of Skipton
On a gorgeous summer’s afternoon in February (yes really!) we arrived in the lovely market town of Skipton. Busy market stalls, independent gift and craft shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes with a canal-side walk not too far away from the town centre adds up to make a very nice place to visit. http://welcometoskipton.com/ There’s a castle, museum, historic church and a vibrant high street.
As I said, Bolton Abbey really is nowhere near Bolton
Bolton Abbey is about 6 miles from Skipton in Wharfedale, North Yorkshire. As you might expect there is an abbey in the grounds although the 12th century Augustinian monastery is now in ruins. It fell victim to King Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. It is actually about 60 miles from Bolton in Lancashire.
Open all day
As a rule of thumb the grounds are open from 9am to 6pm – longer in the summer. We arrived at the Strid car park at around 10am and left at about 3.30pm. It is dog-friendly although they must be kept on leads. https://boltonabbey.com/your-visit/admission/
You will need £10 to park
The park is open to visitors for most of the year and there are miles of walking routes. We chose one that included Strid Wood. This stretch has one of the largest remains of sessile oak trees in the Yorkshire Dales. The cost to park is pretty steep – £10 per car which can be used at other areas in the park – but then the area is immaculately maintained with excellent paths. A lot of it is pushchair- friendly. An easy-to-use map with discounts for the various tea rooms makes the parking fee a bit more acceptable.
Take your binoculars, you’ll need them
The walk follows the banks of the river Wharfe with some inclines that give way to magnificent views. There was evidence of acres of faded snowdrops, plus the green tips of imminent bluebells and the faint aroma of new, wild garlic. Spring must be truly stunning in these parts. Dippers, woodpeckers, grey-wagtails and more were spotted and it seems there are kingfishers and even otters to be seen too.
Part of the Cavendish Family
If you have ever visited Chatsworth House in Derbyshire you will see that Bolton Abbey clearly belongs to the Devonshire family. There is the same immaculate attention to signage and customer service. And the name Cavendish pops up everywhere. The 6th Duke of Devonshire and the Rev William Carr created the walks in the early 1800s with strategically placed seats to drink in the views.
The Strid, a natural wonder, where the river suddenly narrows forcing the water through at great pressure. It was formed by the wearing away of softer rock by the circular motion of small stones in hollows. Clever eh?
A seven mile circular walk
Our walk along the riverside took us to Barden Bridge, over it and along the opposite bank. We crossed the river Wharfe at one point to visit the Pavilion for coffee to cross back again and on to the stepping stones. I preferred to take the bridge, only having little legs, to the abbey ruins and back along to the river bank to complete the circuit at the Strid.
I did some guest blogging on a couple of other sites like https://thegrandparenthub.com/ this is a site that shares ideas and things to do with the grandkids and is full of inspiration. And then there’s my local ‘What’s In and What’s On’ website for my region https://www.innorthnotts.co.uk/ which is full of things to do and places to visit.
Travel played a big part in my life during 2018. South coast of England, east coast of the USA , west coast of the USA and Scotland. There is an old saying ‘travel broadens the mind’ so perhaps there should be a bit more of it.
The New Year is just around the cirner
2019 is already beckoning and it would be good to get to know my own country better. Perhaps an extended tour of the UK in a motor home? https://www.justgo.uk.com/ All suggestions gratefully received.
There should be more exercise. I could sign up for a ‘long walk’ or train for a half marathon. Again, all suggestions considered. I do need a challenge.
And then of course there is ‘sausage making’. I recently purchased a sausage maker. That is a story/blog, for another day.
It’s the best policy
I have to be honest and admit that I don’t like the turn of the year. The ticking of the clock. The anticlimax. The resolutions. The stepping into the unknown. But it is just another day with a different number when all is said and done… isn’t it?
So, with some trepidation I will welcome in 2019. It boils down to two things: being healthy and happy. That is all I wish for my family, friends and of course you and me.
Happy New Year dear reader, I hope it will be kind to us.
It was free to park the car which was a bonus. The day was dry, slightly overcast and not too cold although the sun did peek through at points. Perfect weather for a good, long, circular walk. After a flight of steps down to the river bank it was almost all flat. A well-worn path with a few steps here and there and a few tree roots along the way.
Pitlochry https://www.pitlochry.org/index.html is world-famous for its ‘Salmon Leap’ which is a spectacle in the springtime when the salmon ‘leap’ to return to their spawning ground. This was our stop of choice at about the half way point of the walk. It is a pretty, touristy, small town which has its own railway station, quite a few shops selling Tartan and shortbread.
This one is definitely worth a visit...
A particular shop that caught our eye was the whiskey shop http://robertsonsofpitlochry.co.uk/ This little place is a real gem. It has a phenomenal range of whiskeys... and gins, some with a phenomenal price tag too! Attached to the shop is what looks like a small restaurant but is actually a whiskey-tasting experience room. Each place is set with a wooden, glass-holder which takes about 5 small glasses. There wasn’t a ‘tasting’ when we were there but we did buy a couple of glasses. A lovely reminder of our visit to Pitlochry.
‘Keep right on to the end of the road’
A quick coffee in the cafe across the road and we were off again to complete the circuit. We did this walk fairly recently and so the trees were decked out in their autumn colours. Just amazing, although my pictures don’t really do them justice.
If you ever take the ‘High Road’ to Scotland do yourself a favour, pack your walking boots and head for Garry Bridge.
I received a very unique gift-experience for my birthday, from a very thoughtful friend. A walk with alpacas. I took this opportunity to take two of my grandchildren to share the experience, to Treswell, Nottinghamshire, England.
A passion for alpacas
A husband and wife team, with a passion for alpacas, look after a small-holding ‘OrionTree’ https://oriontree.uk/ They are specialist breeders and keep their herd small. Anyone who wishes to try one of their experiences is guanteed a hands-on encounter with a difference.
Chalk and cheese
Eight year old Evie and five year old Jack couldn’t wait to meet the alpacas.Jack loves all kinds of animals and was eager to get stuck in. Evie, on the other hand, is a little more reserved and preferred to ‘just help Grandma’.
A calm and gentle nature
Alpacas are beautiful, friendly creatures with a very calm and gentle nature. They make exceptionally easy walking companions and the team at Oriontree can adapt the walk to suit but they generally stick to a routine.
After a short introduction the machos (alpaca boys) are brought out.We were each paired with our alpaca and off we went.Both children were entranced with their partners from the beginning and it wasn’t long before Grandma’s help was no longer needed.
A short break at the half-way point provided the opportunity for Jack to ask all his questions. He needed to know about the alpacas’ teeth and the difference between alpacas and llamas and countless other things. All questions were patiently and knowledgeably answered by our hostess. Meanwhile ‘the boys’ chomped their way through a box full of snacks, fed to them by the Evie and Jack.
An absolute delight
It was a very unique experience. We all learnt a lot and it was a pleasure to be in the company of such beautiful creatures, especially in the lovely, North Nottinghamshire countryside. https://www.innorthnotts.co.uk/
A walk with alpacas in the wonderful Nottinghamshire countryside?