Thursday, 4 October 2012

Walking with Kingy!

Its been so long since I posted in this blog, there is no real reason why other than it was a very low priority to me.
I am going to try (again I here the one person actually reading this) to use this very useful tool much more often.

So what has lead me to take to the keyboard this time? Well about a month ago a twitter conversation between 2 of my friends sparked my interest in visiting an old favourite haunt of mine. So a date was set with my good friend Paul King (not that one) and off to Dunstanburgh Castle we headed for some much needed exercise and to capture this wonderful rugged landscape.
The weather wasn't bad but the sky wasn't as dramatic as I had hoped for along this ruggedly stunning piece of the Northumbrian coast. That said I managed to capture a couple of images that I was happy with.

Dunstandburgh Castle from the Rocks at Craster 

Dunstanburgh Castle from the North (Embleton)

Dunstandburgh Castle Silhouetted against a cold October Sky.

The whole experience got me thinking however, as both Mr King and I also shot some pictures with our iPhones. Now the iPhone is a wonderful piece of kit and is currently the most used Camera in the world. In my opinion it will never replace the real thing but I currently take far more pictures with my phone than I do with my Camera. Why? Because its so easy. Yes the quality isn't great (in comparison anyway) but for instant sharing and ease of use it can't be beat. I can't decide if its a good thing or not, but its here to stay so I for one will continue to embrace it.
Dunstanburgh Panorama capture using DMD iPhone App

Back to the original story, after our original discussion about going on a walk at Dunstanburgh, I also mentioned that I had long wanted to visit Sycamore Gap on Hadrian's wall. What can I say I am a sucker for a stunning tree. So we arranged to head up to Housesteads and take a leisurely walk along the wall. How hard could it be for to 30 somethings to walk along a little wall. It was an adventure to say the least. Upon arrival at Once Brewed (great name) the skies threatened to burst and soak us before we had even started our mini adventure. Undeterred we headed off up the road from the visitors centre to the wall. Despite being heavily out of breath before we even got to the wall we decided to take the more challenging route along the wall rather than along the old military road. So into the field we headed, only to end up calf deep in mud. Ah well how much worse could it get.... Well the first incline pretty much killed us both, we estimated it to be a 1 in 2 incline, but we had made it. Our first incline conquered we headed off along the wall. The scenery was stunning despite the dark grey clouds constantly looming threatening to wash us off the precipice that the wall was built upon. Its very easy to see why Romans built the wall here, well from a defensive point anyway. What possessed them that it would be a great idea to drag all of those rocks up the hill to build the wall I'm not so sure of. After 2 or 3 declines and subsequent inclines we reached Sycamore Gap. No messing around, this is a gap, with a Sycamore in it. It was made famous by Robin Hood Prince of Thieves in the 1990's when Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman walked along it on their way from Dover to Nottingham, I can only assume that they didn't have an iPhone with Satellite Navigation and thats why they got so lost. I headed down away from the wall into the Bogs below to capture my long awaited image. I have to say the tranquility of the scene did not disappoint, and on a more pleasant day I would quite happily have sat beneath the grand old sycamore and enjoyed a picnic.
Sycamore Gap from the Bogs beneath.

Craig Lough from the West.
Hadrian's Wall on a gorgeous Northumbrian day.

However the weather was starting to close in, so off we headed. The walk from that point on was up and down and up again, with the longest highest climb of the day happening to co-incide with a monumental downpour of rain. We encountered some sheltering cows, who weren't best pleased with us disturbing their attempted sheltering from the rain, but undeterred we kept on moving on encountering more and more "puddles" soaking our already drenched bodies even more. Just as we reached the Housesteads fort the rain eased off and the Sun came out. Typical! However there was a feeling that the journey just wouldn't have been the same if it had been dry and warm, that said I fully intend to go back and find out. So there ended the 2 day adventures of Kingy and Lynch. Both of us very glad that we had completed these 2 short treks and looking forward to the next one. Importantly for me I got the shot I had long since lusted after, and had got to share this slightly crazy experience with a good friend.

Sycamore Gap (The shot I wanted)
If you are interested in purchasing any of the images from my adventure with Mr King then please get in touch via

Thanks, until next time