It’s been a busy summer…

So, I haven’t had the chance to do much blogging over the summer. What with school, exams, more exams, university applications and all the associated time consuming activities, I’ve been a little bit busy unfortunately.

However, that does not mean I haven’t been out with my camera. Since my last update, I’ve been shooting in the Lake District, Pembrokeshire, the Brecon Beacons and nearer to home, up on Dartmoor again and on the river. I’ve been updating my Flickr stream regularly (at least by comparison to this blog), so if you haven’t already, pop over and take a look here. If you’re not a regular Flickr user I’d recommend it for all aspiring photographers. It’s a great place to get your work seen and to come across other people with similar ideas to you, along with a few using approaches you haven’t yet thought of. If you’re on there, do drop me a message with your username, so that I can take a look!

One of the highlights of my summer was a week spent in Morocco at the start of August. After a few days in Marrakech we headed up into the Atlas mountains for a trek, after an acclimatisation period near Imlil. On our way to the summit of Mt. Toubkal it became apparent that this hadn’t been quite enough, as I experienced a rather horrendous bout of altitude sickness. I told myself that this was ‘all part of the experience etc.’ and certainly didn’t let it ruin the trip. I returned home with some very interesting photos (along with a Berber robe which would not be out of place in the costume wardrobe on the set of a Star Wars film…): the Atlas’ barren landscape contrasts amazingly with the vibrant colours of Berber clothing (the headscarves were particularly memorable). There is a good selection more over on my Flickr stream if you’re interested (a little selection above).

The photo below is one I took the other day at dusk up on Woodbury Common. As the nights start to draw in, there’s less time to be out in the sunlight when I’m home from school, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let myself sit inside in front of a computer screen five evenings a week!

I’m going to try to be a little bit more regular on here now – there’s the perfect excuse to get out on some adventures (handy that I now have access to a set of wheels..). Get ready for updates on my forthcoming escapades: big and small, mundane and sensational, planned meticulously and completely spur of the moment. It’s all to come. Watch this space.

Dartmoor: North to South….in a day…on a bike

The idea was simple. Two points on a double-sided map, Okehampton in the north and Ivybridge in the south. Then find a route between them. Sounds easy enough…

The catch? Well, the route goes across the middle of Dartmoor and its many bogs, rocky hills and rivers. We are on hardtail mountain bikes – great on slick singletrack or knarly fireroads; not so good over miles of soft, tufty grass and squelchy peat.

So there’s the first problem and a few more problems later, we’ve found a route (if you can call it that) that slowly zigzags its way from A to B.

70km, 9 hours, 5 rivers,  several miles of carrying bikes on shoulders and a hell of headwind later, we reached the 11km descent into Ivybridge as the sun began to set in the west. It was painful (very), but so worth it to know we’d just managed what had seemed so crazy and impossible:  covered all of that open wilderness on two chunky tyres. It would probably have been quicker to run, but that’s why we did it…and besides, where’s the fun in running 11 painful kilometres down a hill when you could free-wheel it?!

Video editing courtesy of Ollie Cutforth (footage from my Fuji and his GoPro).

All in aid of Sport Relief. Donations appreciated via this link.

Route: Okehampton, Okehampton Camp, Vellake Corner, Sourton Tors, Bleak House, Chat Tor, Hare Tor, Lanehead, Hill Bridge, Wapsworthy, Bagga Tor, Cocks Hill, Black Dunghill (avoid it!), Holming Beam, Rundlestone, Princetown..

then after some lunch, a winge, a hailstorm and a 20 minutes ranting about life…

South Hess, Nun’s Cross, Eylesbarrow Tin Mine, Plym Ford, Erme Pits, Red Lake Ford, Quickbeam Hill, Leftlake Mires, Piles Hill, Weatherdon Hill, Stowford Bridge & (finally) Ivybridge Community College!

Sunshine and Hailstorms…did anyone loose an umbrella?

After last week’s misfortune with the camera batteries (got all the way to Hangingstone Hill before realising they were still in the charger at home), I made sure to double check everything before heading out onto the South Moor today! A nice loop from Shipley Bridge up to the infamous ‘Dartmoor Slag Heap’ (the 2012 ten tors team would chuckle) and back via Avon Reservior.

Weather was very changeable to say the least – set out in fantastic sunshine but encountered more than one freak hail storm along the way. Winds were consistently upwards of 50mph but managed to keep hold of everything!  Who said February was boring??!

Finally, if anyone has lost an umbrella in the Avon Dam area you’ll be happy to know that it is now in safe hands after Tim recovered it from a rather confused sheep…

Land of Ice and Fire

A collection of photos from my trip to Iceland at the end of October. I was so lucky to experience such hostile, beautiful landscapes and the wonderfully friendly people and culture.

We explored only the south western tip of this vast country. So much more remains to be discovered. I have never been anywhere quite like this island and I leave with memories (and a full SD card) that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Fur Tor Wild Camping

Every now and then, it’s nice to take things back to basics. Leaving all the worries and hustle of the seaside summer buzz behind, we headed up onto the moor for a short two day loop.

We camped at the infamous Fur Tor, a little known rocky outcrop slap bang in the middle of the North moor – making it probably the most remote place in the South West of England.

The weather was kind and a glorifying sunset reminded me why I love this place so much.

I could write pages of anecdotes, funny stories and memories, but some moments have to be experienced. Hopefully these photos give a taste of it all.

All that remains to be asked is: “where next?”…

Adventurous photography from Devon

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