A quick trip to the Big Smoke

I’m not a big one for city breaks or doing touristy things with the crowds but yesterday I popped down to London for the day to do a few things I’ve been wanting to for ages. First I went to the Imperial War Museum, then on to HMS Belfast, a trip on a boat down the Thames between Tower Bridge and Westminster, and then a long walk back to Euston, via Parliament Square, Horse Guards and Covent Garden.

The Imperial War Museum was the main reason I went down to London and I must say that the World War One exhibition is excellent and Holocaust exhibition something everyone should see.

Just a few photos from the day…


A new find on a freezing day

I went out for a short cycle this afternoon and it was absolutely freezing, despite the clear skies and bright sun. Despite living in the area for the best part of 40 years and cycling around it for more than 25 of them, I still keep finding new roads that I’ve never been down before. Today I found a single-track road and bridleway that connect two of my most frequently used routes – I need to start looking at maps more!

While I was out, I took this photo – I love the patterns in the mud made by the tractor tyres…

Looking back at 2017

Well, that’s another year coming to a close and one I’ve tried to fill as much as possible with nature, conservation, trips away and exercise. This is my constant aim and looking back I think I’ve achieved that; it’s been pretty full on, particularly from late winter through to the middle of summer.

The highlight has got to be the trip to Botswana; probably one of the most memorable experiences of my life which had so many moments to cherish. Added to this must be my two stays on Ramsey Island and the two trips Sweden. However, there were also a whole host of other things that make 2017 one of my best years yet.

Here’s my year in numbers:

  • 1 new continent – Africa
  • 1 10 mile run
  • 1 bird survey course
  • 2 stays on Ramsey Island
  • 3 trips abroad – Botswana, Sweden x2
  • 3 peregrine protection shifts
  • 4 beer festivals
  • 4 weekends away – Norfolk x2, Rutland, Northumberland
  • 5 10km runs
  • 5 countries – Scotland, Wales, Sweden, South Africa, Botswana
  • 6 osprey protection shifts
  • 8 bird surveys
  • 9 counties stayed overnight in
  • 35 days volunteering – Crewe and Nantwich Conservation Volunteers and RSPB
  • 35 species of mammal seen including 22 new ones
  • 57 walks
  • 61 nights away
  • 68 blog posts
  • 70 runs
  • 150 cycles
  • 206 miles run
  • 300 birds seen including 144 new ones
  • 314 sessions of exercise
  • 2,659 miles cycled
  • plus some whisky and quite a lot of cheese!

Here’s some photo highlights:


However, while much of 2017 has brought so many positive and happy memories, there were also some less happy times, particularly two bereavements which will always mark out the year – hopefully 2018 will be without such things.

A touch more wintry…

With a load more snow falling this morning, I went for a walk around Wybunbury Moss. Starting, as usual, at the church yard and then walked  anti-clockwise around the outside of the Moss, the usual views were transformed by the conditions. With snow still in the air, deep, dark cloud overhead and a real chill to a keen wind, the scenes were perfect for black & white images…


Scottish Borders

It seemed very odd today to cross the Scottish Border and to turn right. Usually, I head straight on and towards one of the Hebridean islands but today I was travelling from Carlisle to Seahouses on the Northumberland Coast. I decided to take a circuitous route via the borderlands as I’ve always wanted to see this bit of the English/Scottish overlap.

I travelled through Hawick, Jedburgh, Kelso, Coldstream and Berwick-upon-Tweed before heading south through Bamburgh and stopping at Seahouses. In some ways these seem like names of the far north but compared to my usual Scottish haunts, they’re very much south.

It was a beautifully bright and clear morning and it stayed like that all day and into the dark evening. This was quite a memorable, but short, road trip along the rolling and twist country roads of the border country.