One of my most favourite places.

After completing the Pennine Way with my Dad last year (visit his site for the full write up), it took a while for the urge to go walking to resurface. When it did, it was a fairly safe bet that I’d end up here sooner or later.

After a couple of weeks had passed since the worst of the snow had disappeared from the Midlands where I live, I dared venture further north and onto the smaller roads that would take me into the heart of the Peak District. It was still pretty cold up there – the ground was frozen which, on the plus side meant no sinking in bogs (yay!)

On the way up Icy! TreeThe rest of the pics can be found here… One of those rare, perfect walking days when even a short January day is beautiful


Weekend Away

A recent weekend trip to visit a friend was blessed by beautiful weather. I left my house early so that I could squeeze in a quick visit to Nine Ladies on the way and was treated with a stunning cloud inversion…

Cloud Inversion from Stanton MoorThe rest of the photos from that weekend can be seen here, the morning cloud inversion ones were taken at Nine Ladies, foggy ones taken at Chatsworth, moorland ones at Longshaw/Higger Tor and Carl Wark and watery ones taken at Damflask Reservoir!

Deja vu

A lot of time seems to have slid past without my noticing it… I feel like this is a familiar thought…

Not too much has happened since I was here last… more storytelling, more work, more films and a festival thrown in there – Shropshire’s Festival at the Edge – which was brilliant and reminded me how great camping in the sunshine can be!

Not optimistic enough to expect any mercy from the wettest April – July on record, I packed only wellies, and so stomped around the baked dry grounds with sweltering feet for three days – but hey! Rather that than sink in flip flops!

Oh and lest I forget – it does seem like ages ago – it was the Summer Solsitice. My partner and I went up to Nine Ladies Stone Circle on Stanton Moor in Derbyshire for the night and were once again lucky with the weather. Click here for a few pictures. The skies might have held back on the rain but there was enough cloud about to mostly hide the sun setting and rising – but at least we could stand and soak up the atmosphere without getting literally soaked ourselves! The atmosphere was actually much better than at Stonehenge – the celebration was a much smaller affair and seemed like mostly local people rather than tourists from all over the country. Stonehenge – whilst it is brilliant that they remove the fences and let celebrants in amongst the stones for the Solstice – seemed a little stifled by all the rules – no tents, no sleeping bags, no naked flames and the huge gantries of floodlights which blazed all night so that it never truly got dark and what would, I imagine, have been an amazing display of stars on the clear night that we were blessed with, was hidden by the glare. At Nine Ladies, people camped in the woods around the stones, lit camp fires and sang and danced and generally had a much less structured, but much more natural good time. I’d definitely rather go there again than to Stonehenge.

In Training

So the Pennine Way is looming larger every day now, since we passed into March, and I realised that it’s high time I took some longer walks with my pack – just to get into the spirit of things.

A not-rainy Thursday off saw me head over to Bradgate Park in Leics for a 10 mile loop taking in Beacon Hill and passing the ruins of Ulverscroft Priory along the way. For once, weather, mood and scenery merged to compliment one another perfectly, and the walk was brilliant – varied and beautiful – very much through English countryside.

For anyone who’s interested – my pack on this excursion weighed about 12kgs, and I completed the 10 milesĀ  just under 4hrs. This was faster than I would have liked, but the Bradgate Park carpark at Newton Linford closed at dusk and, as I didn’t get there until 12.30 – I was worried that their interpretation of dusk would be different to mine and my car would get locked in – so I hurried rather! But I survived, and surprisingly wasn’t too dead and broken at the end, or even the next day, which filled me with hope for the actual Event.

Here are some pics from the walk – just a few – I was hurrying so only took about 80 photos instead of the more usual 100+ ;-) This is just a select few…

Nottingham at Night

February 10th was Nottingham Light Night. I’d seen adverts for it every year that we’ve lived in Nottingham, but always after the event, or when it was too late to get the time off to go. This year I was already off, so when the 10th came around I charged up my camera, cleared out the memory card and set off into town.

I love wandering round cities at night, and Nottingham is no exception. The Light Night seemed to bring everyone out – the streets were crowded with families and groups of people. All the buildings were lit up and there were fire-breathers, projections and puppets everywhere. Art installations, “dream walks” and special events on at places like the Broadway cinema meant that I had too many things that I wanted to see and do, but eventually I just sort of wandered, taking in the sights and seeing what I came across.

The city looked beautiful, magical and exciting – so far from the grey streets and buildings that winter so often presents and it was great to see so many people out enjoying the event. I was speaking to one of the storytellers at the “Cloudwatching in the Lava Lamp Forest of Stories” (brilliant by the way!) and she mentioned that this year the Light Night had hardly any funding. I really hope the event continues, and maybe a DIY spirit can help it grow.

I took loads of photos on the night – but here’s a selection of the least blurry! (Must get a tripod one day!)


I’d never been to Lincoln before. Not entirely sure why – it’s dominated by the majestic cathedral and castle up on the hill, and there’s plenty of other similar attractions throughout the historic city – the medieval Bishop’s Palace, the Roman remains and the old buildings and streets. All in all a fairly perfect place to go, and not too far away either! So, cue a couple of days off and a spur-of-the-moment desicion to go away somewhere, and Thursday morning found me and my boyfriend Mehul boarding the train in Nottingham heading for Lincoln Central.

The weather was lovely, and Lincoln positively glowed – creamy stone and winding streets leading up towards the cathedral which, despite towering over everything for many miles around, managed to stay fairly well hidden until you’re standing right in front of it. Mehul and I had an exclusive roof tour of the cathedral, and our guide was brilliant – so knowledgeable and full of obvious enthusiasm for the place and its history, as well as interesting fact. I couldn’t take enough photos, and those I did take don’t fully convey the sheer size and magnificence of the building which has Norman roots but is now mostly “Early English Pointed” in its style! :-)

The castle too was interesting – the part under scaffold and wrap is the original motte built at William the Conqueror’s orders as he fortified his rule across the country. Norman castle contains Victorian prison and Gothic Crown Court, and houses Lincoln’s copy of Magna Carta. The charter is housed in it’s own exhibition and again we met very knowledgable and interesting guides, who were only too keen to share their information – without being pushy.

Of the 359 photos I took – I managed to whittle them down to a brief collection of 65 (!) A return trip will definitely be in order – perhaps once the summer season has started and more tours, exhibitions and displays are open. Sometimes you don’t have to go very far for a brilliant holiday!

London Trip

Aside from the holocaust exhibition, the rest of my London trip wasn’t all gloom and doom. Camden revealed hitherto undiscovered market halls – admittedly they didn’t take much discovering but still… and the Imperial War Museum as a whole was fantastic.

Photos of markets and museum… here

The main reason for the trip was to go and see Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre. I’d seen the 2004 film and absolutely loved it, but never the musical. It was absolutely spectacular – every bit as passionate and gripping as the film, and amazing for the fact that it was being done right there in front of us. The effects that were achieved through lighting and stage design were brilliant, unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and the full orchestra did complete justice to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s eternally amazing songs and score. I can’t recommend it enough, and I definitely want to go and see more things at the theatre!

Derbyshire Jaunt

I decided, at about 11pm last night, that I wanted to make use of my day off and visit the Nine Ladies Stone Circle up on Stanton Moor in Derbyshire. Trent Barton run an excellent bus service (Transpeak) upto Manchester from Notts which calls at Rowsley, so I got off there and walked! Once I’d reached the circle, I decided I might as well carry on and check out Robin Hood’s Stride on the other side of Birchover. It’s always nice to revisit places you’ve been to ages ago, and I wasn’t disappointed today!

Check out the pictures here.

Loyaulte Me Lie

I went to Bosworth Battlefield this Sunday just gone for their anniversary re-enactment weekend and had a brilliant day! There was loads to see, the displays in the main arena were great and I managed to get close enough to the ringside that during the final moments of the last battle that I felt the ground shake as Richard III made his last desperate charge to try and kill Henry Tudor.

Richard III fascinates me; the controversy that surrounds him and how even now, after centuaries of debate, no one really knows – or probably ever will know the truth about fundamental parts of his legend. The book that first piqued my interest was Freda Warrington’s fabulous – and fantastical – The Court of the Midnight King. I fell in love with her interpretation of Richard from the first read and then, upon further exploration along such lines as Paul Murray Kendall’s Richard the Third biography, and visits to Bosworth my interest was cemented. If you do visit Bosworth, a look around their heritage centre and a guided tour of the “battlefield” is essential to understand what was lost and gained in this battle where the last Plantagenet King of England led the last charge on a battlefield and became the last king to die in battle.

A couple of pics below: for the full gallery click here.

Even the catering was authentic! ;-)

Cannon smoke drifts like morning mist, muffling the shouts and amplifying the clash of weapons

The King is dead! Long live the King!


Summer Holidays…

Seems just lately I’ve been struck with a kind of it’s-too-hot-to-do-anything sort of lethargy, which doesn’t cover going to the cinema or reading books but does include just about everything else so I’m now woefully behind on reviews, writing and pretty much everything that I should have been doing over the last couple of weeks and haven’t. Yesterday came with a slight return of motivation so I got some writing done, now today’s job is to tackle reviews.

Last week I went camping – a spur of the moment (well sort of) trip up to Malham in Yorkshire just for one night. The weather was lovely, the scenery stunning and the food in the local pub tasty :-) A perfect getaway all in all.

Click here for a few photos – for a sense of scale, look for the tiny people in the ones of Malham Cove and Gordale Scar, but it was really impossible to capture the immensity of these places!