A Trip To Northumberland

Posted on September 9, 2013

Frozen Dunstanburgh Castle

A few friends and myself have been planning a return trip back up to Northumberland since the excellent visit we had last January where we witnessed the most amazing sunrises and sunsets i think any of us have seen. Our plan was to travel up on a Wednesday morning and travel back down on the Friday afternoon after sunset. So the morning arrived, along with the snow, and we set off from mine around 8am and started driving north. Luckily the roads were clear and apart from the country roads most of the route was heavy snow free and we arrived in good time. We went straight to our first location to capture the hopeful sunset which was Dunstanburgh Castle, a magnificent old castle ruin perched on the hill right next to the sea.

It was bitterly cold as we walked from the car park across the golf course but the excitement of being back in the area soon had us all forgetting how cold it was. The sunset didn’t really go as nice as we had all wished for but we still had an excellent time and had scouted out some possible compositions for the following morning when we planned to return for a sunrise, in particularly Dan found a great frozen area on the golf course which looked a good possibility for the morning. So we headed off to our B&B in Seahouses, the same one me and Dan had stayed at before and was given a warm welcome. That night we headed to the pub opposite as they were doing a “2 steaks and bottle of wine” for £20 deal. Lovely food and a bit of footie on the big screen went down a treat.

Following morning we were up and in the car for 6.30 and heading back to the castle. It was really cold and my hands were like ice every time I took my gloves off to set the camera up. Mark and myself started off on the rocks whilst Terry and Dan stayed up on the golf course positioning themselves at the frozen bit of water that had been spotted the night before. The cloud cover was quite thick but there was a big break on the horizon and we were treated to some lovely light as the sun rose. Once it was up we played around with a few Long Exposures before returning to the B&B for a slap up breakfast that Kirsty had prepared for us. Once our stomachs were full we headed in land to find some nice snowy copses or lone trees but the side roads were so bad with the snow that every time we did see something of some interest we couldn’t stop as there was no where to do so.

We drove on up to Lindisfarne to take a look around but decided to head back to the beach at Bamburgh to see if we would get a nice sunset. This gave us the opportunity to shoot the wonderful sand dunes there, with snow on, with the grand Bamburgh castle in the background. The sunrise was nothing special so I spent my time trying my hand at some ICM on the beach facing the see and got some great images from it. We retired back to the town and had a quick drink in a wonderful pub full of brass ornaments and it had a shipping theme, it was a great place. We then went back to the B&B and relaxed for a while before taking ourselves off for an indian meal which went down a treat.

Our last morning arrived and we went back down to Bamburgh beach where Terry wanted to be dropped off on his own in a car park (for whatever reason) and shot the sunrise with the exposed snow covered rock ledges as our foreground.The heavens opened up and we had hailstones, snow and blizzard conditions which were awful, at one one point you couldn’t even see the castle. After a bit we all jumped back into the car and drove on down to Lower Hauxley where we were meeting a fellow good friend who lived locally. We tried to get onto the beach there but the hail stones and wind made it impossible so we jumped into the car and headed into Blyth for some other possibilities. The snow was falling heavily when we arrived so we piled into the local fish & chip restaurant and tucked into some chips before heading out. We took cover in the door ways of some beach huts until the worst of it passed and every now and then were able to pop out and grab some images before taking cover yet again. The weather was truly awful.

We moved on further down to Sleaton Sluice to see if the weather was any better there but again it was too bad to set up so at this point we said goodbye to David and headed down to our last location, St Mary’s Lighthouse. The weather still bad I decided to stay put in the warm car as I’d already got some great shots from here in the past and knew that I wouldn’t get anything better this day. The guys returned to the car after about 40 minutes looking freezing cold and we made our way home. A journey which turned into a 8 hour trip for us instead of a 5 hour one due to the A1(M) being closed at Grantham and everyone having to do a massive 2 hour detour. It was a great trip, and a good warm up for our Norway trip in a couple of weeks time. I’d like to thank david Breen, Daniel Hannabuss, Terry Gibbins and Mark Pearl for making it such a good time.


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