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[About me] About the author
[Me]

Touring Britain bit by bit with a pair of boots, a few bicycles, a lot of trains and a bag of lenses. I take pictures and then I write about them.

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abandoned places and things architecture bristol coastal cumbria dorset events highlands history industrial lake district lakes london mountains not the uk photo essays photography politics protests rural rural decay scotland somerset structures the north uk urban urban decay wales westcountry all tags


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Sun, 11 May 2014

Uncanny Valley

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On a small wooded peninsula where there estuaries of the Dwyryd and Glaslyn meet at Penrhyndeudraeth south of Porthmadog in the foothills of Snowdonia in the kingdom of Gwynedd, you can find the Uncanny Valley.

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Portmeirion: the construction that looks just close enough to being a village as to be eerie, but just far enough from being a real village to inspire a slight feeling of revulsion.

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Built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in something like the style of the fishing villages of the Italian Riviera, a cluster of hotel rooms disguised as slightly miniaturised houses scattered on the sides of a small valley above the estuary bay. "An artful and playful little modern village, designed as a whole and all of a piece ... a fantastic collection of architectural relics and impish modern fantasies."

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The perfect location for filming surreal dramas like The Prisoner then.

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[Tag] Tags: architecture, coastal, north wales, portmeirion, rural, tourist attractions, uk, villages, wales


Sun, 27 Apr 2014

Ball game

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One Saturday towards the end of June in 2006 I caught the sunset over Cincinnati from across the Ohio River in Newport, Kentucky...

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while the Cincinnati Reds played in the baseball park, puffs of smoke and sparks of fireworks in the unusually smog-free sky marking the occasional home run...

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and riverboats passed up and down under the Roebling Suspension Bridge.

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It provided some good material for teaching myself photoshop...

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[Tag] Tags: cincinnati, not the uk, ohio, sunsets, urban, usa


Sun, 13 Apr 2014

Tony Benn, 19252014

I meant to post these a few weeks ago, of course...

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Taken at Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival a whole 7 years ago, with the 50mm f1.8.

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I think Tony spoke at every Tolpuddle since then, but I don't think I took any more pictures. I should have taken the 70-200mm f.28 along, but I guess I kept thinking: "he'll be here next year, making the same speech again."

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Now it's too late for that...

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[Tag] Tags: politicians, politics, portraits, tony benn


Sun, 9 Mar 2014

Under the hills of Torridon

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There aren't many more stunning parts of the country than Torridon in Wester Ross on the coast of the Northwest Highlands.

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The steeply enclosed Glen Torridon, with its mountain river tumbling down from the Coulin Estate, and its mirror lochans like Lochan an Iasgair.

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Opening out to the sea loch, Loch Torridon, dotted with tiny fishing villages like Shieldaig and Diabaig and Torridon itself.

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Under the modestly named Torridon Hills; the long and slender Liathach and the silver-backed rocky Beinn Eighe.

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All standing above the rocky west coast.

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I should probably go back and climb some of the hills some day.

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[Tag] Tags: highlands, mountains, northwest highlands, rural, scotland, torridon hills, torridon, uk, wester ross


Sat, 1 Mar 2014

Lots Road Power Station

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Over the years, living and commuting in a variety of places, there have been objects and views that I've had the chance to shoot again and again, in all different lights and seasons. The current object, between my flat in Battersea and office in South Kensington, is Lots Road Power Station, allegedly known as the "Chelsea monster", across the Thames at the western end of Chelsea.

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Built in 1904 to power the new Brompton and Picadilly Circus Railway the Picadilly Line tube the coal-fired power station was converted to gas in the 1970s, losing two of its four chimneys. With air pollution regulations pushing power generation out of the city, the station finally closed in 2002, and is currently under renovation and redevelopment as shops and flats.

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[Tag] Tags: architecture, chelsea, industrial, london, lots road power station, the same photo again, uk, urban, west london


Sat, 7 Sep 2013

Autumn at Stourhead

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I'm not sure why it has taken so long to do a post for Stourhead, the impressive landscape gardens at the source of the River Stour in south west Wiltshire.

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I guess I was taken there so many times as a child that I've managed to avoid going back too many times since to take pictures.

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But with autumn fast approaching, when the arboretum of international specimens will be looking its best...

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...and the classical follies reflected in the lake will be framed in reds and golds...

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...I thought it might be time for it to feature on the blog.

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[Tag] Tags: gardens, lakes, national trust, rural, stourhead, uk, westcountry, wiltshire


Sun, 9 Jun 2013

Crossing the Moorfoot Hills

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From where it flows into the Tweed at Innerleithin, a solitary road runs up alongside the Leithen Water Abhainn Leitheinn, the grey river and is soon enclosed in perfect round and green hills.

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It twists and turns and climbs northwards through these, the Moorfoot Hills, treading a path between Whitehope Law and Windlestraw Law.

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Part of the Southern Uplands: a fine set of landscapes, but generally neglected by most outside of southern and central Scotland overshadowed by the more extreme geology of the Highlands, or by similar hill ranges in places more accessible from Britain's other centres of population.

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The road summits one valley and drops into the next.

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Passing the now neglected circular drystone sheep stells that for several centuries provided the livestock in the hills with winter shelter from wind and drifting snow.

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Then repeats the process, climbing again from this central valley of the Blackhope Water, a tributary of the Heriot, which cuts east through the hills.

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Past the windfarm on Peat Hill.

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Climbing high into the windswept moorland landscape.

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Before abruptly hitting the Esk Valley and the lowlands of Midlothian in a long straight steep scarp.

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View Larger Map


[Tag] Tags: hills, moorfoot hills, roads, rural, scotland, scottish borders, southern uplands, uk


Fri, 1 Feb 2013

Lesser of The Lakes

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Windermere is famous as the largest of The Lakes in the English Lake District, and in England generally. Its also famously a beautiful place, flanked by the high fells of Langdale and pretty villages like Ambleside, celebrated in verse and on canvas by the romantics, and loved by the millions of tourists who have poured in since the Kendal and Windermere railway first brought the lake within reach of the masses.

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After several visits to the more northern lakes and fells without ever having been along to Windermere, I thought I better go take a look and see what the fuss was about. So after a trip to Keswick I took the bus down to Ambleside, intending to walk along the shore to Bowness and up the hill to the station.

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But it turned out that a walk along the shore wasn't possible, because Windermere is crap and walking near it is forbidden.

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Perhaps I was just grumpy that day, but what could be seen of Windermere from beside the main road in the gaps between the trees and the dense forest of "keep out" signs didn't impress the way that Ullswater and Derwent Water do.

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View Larger Map


[Tag] Tags: crap places, cumbria, lake district, lakes, rural, uk, windermere


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