Photoblog – Ouseburn and Wallington Hall

This weekend was spent eating and wandering in the sun, it was glorious!

On Saturday, Johan and I went for brunch at Ernest, before wandering along the Ouseburn to the Cycle Hub for some posh drinks on the banks of the river. It was absolutely perfect. The Ouseburn has to be my favourite part of Newcastle; the culture, history, food & drink are amazing. If you can, I seriously encourage you to check it out!

Sunday was spent with my mum, while Johan was working over in Keswick for the day. As a belated Mother’s Day treat, I took my mum for lunch at the Highlander, near Ponteland, followed by a lovely wander around the grounds of Wallington Hall. Perfect!

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Northumberland National Park Photoshoot

A couple of months ago, we were asked by Andrew at Northumberland National Park, if we would like to come along for a photo shoot in the Park, as part of the overhaul of their website. Of course, we jumped at the chance, and were highly flattered to be asked!

We met up at the Lordenshaws carpark, and spotted the rest of the group half way up Simonside. Johan had been asked to do some shots while running, and so trotted up to see what was going on. It was interesting for me to watch the photographer work, and be on the other side of the lens. Johan was in his element, flying up and down the track with the other 2 runners, taking direction and having a pose.

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Then it was my turn! We walked up to the first cup and ring stone on Lordenshaws, and were told to “Look excited about the rock!” and act natural.

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I’m terrible when it comes to having my photo taken, all I can do is grin like a cheshire cat, and it shows in these photos! Even when we were asked to ‘act natural and just talk to each other’, I struggled to keep composed. But I guess it makes for enthusiastic photos!

After a stop off and break in Rothbury, we made our way to the next stop; a picnic on the banks of Harthope Burn. Here, we were joined by a couple of families, giving the afternoon a more family orientated feel. Even though it rained, it was such a beautiful spot, and it was only a matter of time before Johan took himself for a paddle in the burn. Here, he was swiftly joined by a couple of the children who had come along for the picnic, and spent a few hours splashing around and climbing rocks. The girls loved it and reveled in announcing that ‘that man’ was going to show them the best way up the river.

I sat on the bank, out of the way, and took some photos of my own. It was lovely to see Johan having such a good time in the water.

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We thoroughly enjoyed the day, and still feel privilaged to have been asked to play such an integral part in the new website. It’s very strange, but so rewarding, to see ourselves.Picture1

The new National Park website is brilliant, and definitely worth checking out: https://www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/

Northumberland Coast Part 2: Alnmouth

After our impromptu trip to Seahouses on Saturday, we were inspired to head up along the coast again on Sunday. As we were driving home, we passed by Alnmouth, somewhere that I think I might have been to as a child, but haven’t explored properly. Also, Johan has never been up there, so it was settled.

The weather was beautiful again on Sunday, so we had a lovely lazy breakfast of croissants and coffee, and pulled ourselves together. The drive up was pretty uneventful; we came off the A1 at a random junction and headed East in the direction of Alnmouth, thinking “well, we can see the sea, so we’ll just head for that” and ended up pootling along a super windy country road. Coming into Alnmouth, we wound through the town and made our way to the large car park, overlooking the beach, parked up and made a beeline for the icecream truck (of course).

Icecreams in hand, we toddled off for a walk along the beach – it’s beautiful up there! I made friends with a dog, who I think was more interested in my icecream, as we made our way up the beach and along to the harbour where a  collection of fishing boats waiting obligingly to have their photos taken.

By this point we were getting hungry, and so turned our plod into a mission to find fish and chips (now you want fish and chips, don’t you). Unfortunately, we forgot that it was Sunday and nowhere was open/serving (the horror). Even after abandoning our efforts in Alnmouth and heading further along the coast. We were desperate for a bag of chips, but there was nowhere open! I mean, haway Northern coast chippies, sort it out!

We won in the end though; mama Imber made us a dinner and greeted us with a cider upon arrival…marvellous!

Peak District Climbing Weekend

We recently spent a weekend in the Peak District, based at a bunkhouse just outside of Hathersage, dedicated to climbing, coffee and catching up.

It was a pseudo reunion for Johan and his Imperial University friends, who he doesn’t get to see as often as we would like. It was lovely to see them all again, and definitely made us realise that spending quality time with friends is the best tonic for a lot of life’s ailments.

…For a fella who professes to ‘not being a climber anymore’ he sure spent a lot of time hanging about on some grit…

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Early Easter at Eskdale

The weekend before Easter, we had our annual weekend at Eskdale for Johan’s mum’s birthday. We have been doing this now for the past 4 years (where has the time gone?!) and each time I fall in love with the valley a little bit more.

We are lucky enough to be able to stay with friends when we are over there (Johan’s god parents, who went to university with his mum) and I am continuously envious of their fabulous lifestyle. I have picked up a tendency to take myself away with a camera while we are visiting and shoot the surrounding fields, hills and land. Although, I often enjoy simply wandering around their gardens and shooting the wonderfully diverse flora and fauna that can be found there. They are always working on something, and have made constant improvements/changes to their land.

I always feel at peace when visiting Eskdale, it’s such a beautiful place, and I truly hope that Johan and I can emulate Peter and Fionna in our later lives.

Below is a selection of the images that I took while wandering around their house and garden, and more can be found on my Flickr page: https://flic.kr/s/aHskUEbs7k

A mini birthday escape

It was my birthday last Saturday, and so Johan and I escaped up to Scotland for a long weekend of relaxed celebrations. Due to his competing in the OMM 2015, Johan was entered into a prize draw to win a stay at the Hearthstanes Estate  self catering cottages. Luckily, his name was drawn out of the hat (so to speak), he’s so jammy! And so, we used the opportunity for a birthday getaway.

We had planned on getting out as much as possible and exploring the local area in more detail, rather than running around the place as Johan had previously done. We bought the relevant maps and packed an assortment of outdoor gear, ready to hit the surrounding hills and trails. However, I soon learnt that I was in dire need of a rest and so my mind and body decided to shut down and demand that I take things easy. Patchy internet access and lack of a TV allowed us to embrace the peace and quiet, and so we read and chilled out in our lovely little 1-bed cottage. It was so cosy and comfortable, and I found myself drifting off into naps periodically – I must have needed it!

We did go for a couple of wanders around the valley surrounding the estate and enjoyed a nighttime romp up a hill opposite our accommodation.

On the way home, we took a drive through the Tweedsmuir Hills and gawped at the snow-capped mountains; it was truly beautiful. I would definitely recommend staying in the cottages at Hearthstanes, especially if you are looking for a ‘getting away from it all’ break.