My nervousness of driving in the UK wasn’t completely due to the left side of the road thing. Having lived and driven in the England back in the ’90’s I knew that there was a good chance we would encounter some very narrow country roads. I distinctly remember an encounter with an oncoming car in the Lake district that had me shaking for a few hours afterwards. The thing is we wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t been before, and we knew that taking the train and bus would make the process quite limiting. The first few hours in the car I kept reminding myself that it was like riding a bike. You never forget, right? I just kept repeating to myself “Keep left Derrick, keep left.”
Our first day in the car saw us drive from Heathrow all the way down to Penzance, nearly at England’s southwestern tip in Cornwall. The weather was cool, and the countryside beautiful. Our first stop after checking into our B&B was to head out to the Bronze age site, Boscawen-un Stone Circle.
Boscawen-un is a unique circle of 19 stones with a large leaning stone located in the centre. I have been to Stonehenge and Avesbury in the past. These stones are smaller than at those two locations and the circle itself was smaller. Being the only ones there however gave the circle a more mysterious and mystical feeling. Driving back to the B&B I got my first taste of Cornwall farm roads. Barely wider than the width of the car with stone and grass walls about 10 feet high on either side. The blind hairpin turns had me cursing more than the kids have ever heard. It was a sign of things to come ver the next few days. Important tip: If you are going to the UK do not rely on Sat Nav for traveling across country. The shortest route is most likely the scariest. Use a map and navigate the old fashioned way!
The primary reason for our trip to Cornwall was to spend a few days walking along a small section of the South West Coast Path from St. Ives to Pendeen. We hired a company to shuttle us over to the start of our strip in St. Ives, and to take our bags from B&B to B&B. However, before we headed out on this adventure we took in Saint Michaels Mount. This is a unique castle located on a little island a few hundred meters from the coast, accessed by boat at high tide and by footpath at low. The day was bright and blustery and made for interesting photography. My fuji kit handled itself marvellously. I should have taken my time and used the tripod and ND filters but time was tight. Instead I found myself walking around with both cameras over my shoulder one with the 10-24 lens and the other with the 18-55. Here I post processed the images to reflect that old time feel of the place.
From Saint Michaels mount we headed back to Penzance to drop our car at the train station and get into the shuttle van for the short trip over to St. Ives. The first day of our hike was the only day of our whole trip where rain was forecast. Before we departed the locals assured us that it would “most likely” only be a few drizzles in the morning and would “probably” clear off as it had for the previous few weeks. The next day they told us that it was the worst day they had seen all year. Before the rain started I managed to get in a few shots. I carried the X-T1 under my rain coat all day, and miraculously the rain cover on my back pack kept all of my camera gear dry.
The first leg was about four and a half hours of walking, of which we faced a heavy downpour in very windy conditions for half of it. To say we were wet is an understatement. Luca said it was like we had jumped into a pool in all our clothes on and then hiked. That about sums it up. Thankfully the B&B in Zennor that we stayed at let us use their clothes dryer and after 2.5 hours on full everything but our boots was dry.
We awoke the next morning to a gloriously beautiful day. As we departed Zennor we passed a walled farm field. Luca spotted some rabbits, then more, and then more. There were dozens of them. Suddenly they burst in all directions. Luca called out “Fox!” and at the far end of the field a beautiful red fox stepped out of the hedge, sat and watched as the rabbits scampered for cover. I din’t have a lens long enough to capture this site. Sometimes you just have to sit back and let your memory take the picture.
The scenery that day was spectacular. I would love to return to this spot one day to re-photograph it while I had time to really do it justice. That said, I am very happy with my shots. These are some of the few shots from the whole trip that I have not altered the colour or saturation to give an old-time feel. This is how it appeared that day.
From Cornwall we drove up to the North Coast of Devon. Along the way we stopped at Lanhydrock House, an amazing Jacobian Manor home that was rebuilt in the Victorian Style after a fire in the 1890’s. Of our whole trip this was the best preserved manor home we visited showed how both the Upstairs and downstairs lived at that time.
From our base in Devon we made several day trips. One across Exmore National park to Dunster Castle in Somerset, and another down to Clovelly in Devon and on to Bude in Cornwall.
On the way back to London we stopped by Highclere castle. Fortunately is was late enough in the day that we were able to get into the house. There were people everywhere. This shot, as with the shot of Lanhydrock house, is a composite of about 5 shots taken 10 seconds apart. Blending in Photoshop enables all the people to be removed from the photo.
And so ends another rather long winded blog post. Thanks for stopping by.