A Window on a Prehistoric Playground

Blogging challenges, National Trust, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire

Brimham Rocks. A must-visit destination near where we live, simply to marvel at the unlikely tottering piles of fantastically shaped rocks gathered there, or, if you’re athletic and in touch with your inner-child, a challenging climbing frame.

These sandstone blocks were laid down and formed during the last 100,000 years – before, during and since the last Ice Age. Glacial action, weathering and water erosion have fashioned the rocks, leaving some apparently precariously balanced, as wind blasting continues to sculpt their contours.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, many believed that Druida could have been responsible for carving them. It was only in the 20th century that their origins became well understood, and we also came to recognise the wealth of natural life flourishing here: it’s now a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Not that William and Zoë cared when they visited last week. For them, this visit was an adventure. William climbed and Zoë looked for natural windows to gaze through. And asked to come again next time they visit.

Monday Window

Taking flight

Blogging challenges, England, National Trust, Wildlife

This week’s Lens-Artists Challenge is Taking Flight. What to choose? I thought of hot air balloons I’ve seen. I thought of planes. I thought of bubbles magically released into the sky to delight children and adults everywhere. In the end, two ideas insisted on their fifteen minutes of fame.

The first is the starling murmurations which are such a feature of life here early every spring. Once, one even took place over our garden. We were entranced until we saw the state of our car afterwards. Have you seen one? Murmurations take place towards evening, when thousands of starlings swoop and swirl in the sky above their chosen roosting site for that night. Are they keeping predators at bay? Exchanging information before nightfall? Nobody’s sure. But as suddenly as it begins, the display stops, and the birds descent to their roosts, and it’s over for another night. Here are a few shots – and look at the featured photo too.

Then there was our visit to the Farne Islands, a protected National Trust bird reserve off the coast of Northumbria What an afternoon we had here. We saw puffins, we saw razorbills, guillemots, eider duck, fulmars …. sea birds of so many kinds. But if it’s flight you want to see today, we’ll just stick with the Arctic Terns, with their bright white and grey plumage and orange beaks.

Arctic terns are feisty, aggressive birds, fiercely protective of their young, as these pictures may suggest. They are impressive migrants, flying between 44, 000 – 59, 000 miles a year to reach their European breeding grounds from the Antarctic.

Bright Square

Lens-Artists Challenge #144

Upbeat Brown

Blogging challenges, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, National Trust, North Yorkshire

This month, Jude has asked us to find photos featuring brown. Well, I know about brown. Here is brown:

That’s right. Mud. We have mud everywhere.

I could cheer things up a bit however. Look at these. My featured photo was taken near Fountains Abbey only a few weeks ago, and here are more uplifting shots of the world in brown. We’ll start off with some that have been squared up – and can anybody help me identify that butterfly please?:

… and move on to a couple more autumnal scenes from Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal; a fish – part of a wall decoration at the Natural History Museum, London; tree bark: and our logs all stacked up for winter. Click on any photo for a close-up.

Life in Colour: Brown

Square Up

A Window to the Soul?

England, Heritage, National Trust

It’s been a strange Not-Quite-Christmas – in our case quite an enjoyable one, and today I’m going to offer a Not-Quite-Monday-Window. Why not? Eyes, it’s said, are the windows to your soul, and we saw plenty of eyes when we visited Knole Park the other Christmas with Team London. Those eyes belonged to some rather over-friendly sika deer. I’m not clear about whether deer have souls, but they they certainly provided a different sort of window through which we could remember our visit. Here’s a picture of me with my son and his son, as seen through the eyes of a passing deer.

Autumn in Glorious Black and White

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, National Trust

Suddenly, autumn is almost over. Those rich burnished leaf tones of copper, gold, brass, bronze and rust are all but gone, released onto the woodland paths beneath the trees. It’s that final burst of colour that we love to celebrate: so how odd of me to choose trees as my subject for Jude’s Photo Challenge this week, where she invites us to look at shadow and texture in black and white. I thought it might be fun to allow craggy, nubbled trunks and bark centre stage, and to contrast them with the leaves, glossy this autumn from the rain that’s so often beaten them to the ground beneath the trees where they’ve been since spring time. And at the end, just a couple of trees reflected in different ways, at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The High Ride at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

Two from the High Ride at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. The last image was taken a Kiplin Hall

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

2020 Photo Challenge #45