Monday, 22 July 2019

Open day at the allotments

In June and July, events come thick and fast locally and I am having trouble keeping up! I'm also taking an awful lot of garden and nature photos, but I do love seeing the rainbow of colours that Mother Nature bestows on us in early summer. These pictures were taken at my friend's Allotments' Association Open Day in Bingley. Long-time readers of my blog may remember that this area, right beside the River Aire, was flooded and badly damaged in December 2015 (see HERE).  There are probably still a few plant pots nestled up in trees along the river! It has taken the allotment holders a good deal of hard work to restore the fences, sheds and greenhouses but now you wouldn't know that the devastation had happened. The plots are lush and productive, full of vegetables, fruit and flowers. What a delight!

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Rae Gala

For once, it didn't rain on the day of the annual Rae Gala and I wasn't doing anything else, so I managed to get along and enjoy the atmosphere. It is organised by the Friends of Northcliffe Park, to celebrate the wonderful gift of the park to the people of Shipley, by the landowner Sir Norman Rae in the 1920s. It's good, wholesome, family fun, with many local organisations providing stalls and activities.

Music was provided by the Hall Royd Brass Band:

A group of ladies known as Northwind demonstrated tribal bellydance (below), which looked rather fun and was very colourful, and a local group demonstrated T'ai Chi.

Activities for the children included making (and bursting) huge soap bubbles:

and various (good, old-fashioned) races like the sack race:

For the even more energetic, you could make yourself a fruit smoothie by pedalling a static bike:

For the less energetic visitors, rides were provided by Bradford Model Engineering Society on the two miniature railways they operate in Northcliffe Woods, which also usually run on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer.

All that, plus ferret racing, face painting, ice cream and various food stalls, made for a very good afternoon out. At a small local event, there is always the bonus that you bump into lots of people that you know, so there is time for chatting and catching up on news. Shipley rocks!

The good news is that Northcliffe Park (which is a huge area of woodland, meadow, sports fields, allotments and a children's playground) is no longer on the list as a potential crematorium site for the locality. That means that the people of Shipley can continue to enjoy the park as 'an open space for recreation and benefit of the public, forever' as was intended in the original bequest. Now, that is worth celebrating.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Snail's pace

I just popped down into Shipley town centre to collect a library book - and was surprised to find two large and colourful snails slithering around the market place! They were part of the Shipley Street Arts Festival, organised annually by Q20 Events and now in its 5th year. Unfortunately I wasn't able to stay and enjoy the whole range of shows, which included local dance groups, street theatre and an aerial circus display. This year the theme was nature, a very topical subject.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Gansey Girl

Bridlington's north pier has this attractive bronze sculpture by Steve Carvill, installed in 2015 to honour the town's fishing families. Called 'Gansey Girl', the fisherman's wife is knitting a gansey, a traditional fisherman's jumper. Each fishing community had its own identifiable pattern, made up of motifs related to the sea: nets, ropes, ladders and herringbones. The tradition dates back to Elizabethan times and made it possible to identify where a fisherman was from, just by his jumper. The ganseys were hard-wearing and designed with the front and back the same so they could be reversed to even out the wear. They are tight at the hem and cuffs to mitigate against wind and water.  (Read more about them HERE). The fish on the plinth bear the names of some of the local fishing families.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Harbour life 2

Fishing boats come in all shapes and sizes. Most of those in Bridlington harbour are small boats for catching shellfish, as the lobster pots piled up on the quayside suggest. It is, apparently, the largest shellfishing port in England. You can wander around the harbour and get very close to the action. There are pontoons for mooring leisure craft and a quay with warehousing, where the larger trawlers still berth.

The boats and floats make for colourful pictures, even on a dull day. 

'Svalbard' seemed unnaturally clean and neat ... perhaps they never use it?

Nowadays there are small motor craft and catamarans among the fleet, but at one time the local small boats were cobles: open sailboats with wooden hulls and flat bottoms, traditional to the north-east coast of England. Some have been preserved, like the 'Three Brothers' on the left of the picture below, built in 1912 and restored in 2013. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Harbour life

Bridlington still has a busy, working harbour. The traditional fishing boats, however, are outnumbered by leisure craft and tourist boats. Oh, and beware the brash, fearless herring gulls... they are partial to a sandwich or a chip, snatched in a trice from a careless hand.

'Ahoy, me hearties! Ready yer sea legs and leave the landlubbers behind'
with a ride round the bay on a pirate ship. Supply your own eye patch and make sure you've mastered the lingo. There are plenty of guides to 'pirate talk' online! He's quite handsome, don't you think?

If a pirate ship doesn't appeal, how about a speedboat? Hang on tight! 

The harbour side has souvenir shops selling postcards, silly hats, buckets and spades, shrimp nets and kitsch with a nautical flavour. There are plenty of cafés for coffee/ice cream whilst you try to warm up/cool down (depending on the infinite variety of British seaside weather) and there are traditional seafood stalls. You know, for the seafood diet we're all on... See food and eat it!

Here's a quiz question... Of all the shrimp nets in my photo, which one do you think my granddaughters would like best? Yes, you guessed!

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Stormy seas

Having initially been quite pleasant during the morning at Bempton Cliffs, the weather steadily worsened. I stayed a few nights in a guesthouse in Bridlington so I walked down to the sea front in the evening. As the tide came in, the sea was quite choppy, with waves breaking onto the sea wall and a lot of sea spray.

Since I don't see the sea very often, it was rather fun to experience its different moods.

We saw a Bridlington lifeboat being winched up the beach. This one is a much bigger workhorse than the D class inflatable we saw at Poppit Sands in Wales (HERE), reflecting the different nature of the East Coast and North Sea and the type of shipping in local waters. (I think the Bridlington lifeboat station also has a D Class inshore boat).  The boat pictured is a new all-weather Shannon class boat, propelled by water jets rather than traditional propellors, making it highly manoeuvrable. 

Monday, 15 July 2019

Flamborough Head

Flamborough Head juts out into the North Sea between Bempton Cliffs and Bridlington. It's a chalk promontory, cut with little bays like North Landing (above) and crowned by a lighthouse - in fact, two. One dates back to 1674, the oldest surviving lighthouse in England, and was designed to have a beacon burning on top of it. Apparently it was never lit. The current lighthouse, powered now by electricity and still in use, was first lit in 1806 and originally had two white flashes followed by a red one.  Now it has four white flashes every 15 seconds.

It was cold walking on the headland but we had time for a few photos of the puffins on the cliffs and plenty of close-up shots of boats, ropes and flaking paint. Then it was into the café for a warming cup of tea. Aaah!

I tried a few in-camera multi-exposures too (as below), since my new camera has the facility to layer two images. It's quite fun trying but there is clearly a knack to it that I shall have to practise to achieve really pleasing images using the technique.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

A circus of puffins

Equally dubiously reliably, Google reckons that a group of puffins can be termed 'a circus', which, if true, surely refers to their rather comical appearance: short-legged, round-bellied and with that amazing technicolour beak. They were harder to spot at Bempton, as they nest in burrows and cracks in the cliff face. Occasionally we saw them whizzing around like little mechanical toys. They fly really fast. We saw a few more round the headland at Flamborough, where the cliffs are sandier and easier to burrow in to. 

The photos below are heavily cropped so they are a little bit fuzzy. Puffins are quite small birds and these were a fair distance away. Incidentally, I learned their offspring are called pufflings. Sweet... 

We also spotted some grey seals resting on the rocks below the headland. All things considered, it was a super day out!

Saturday, 13 July 2019

A plunging of gannets

Google reliably (!) informs me that one of the collective nouns for gannets is a 'plunging' of gannets. They certainly do plunge, swooping down at around 60 mph from a great height into the sea to catch fish. Interestingly though, these huge birds, whose wingspan is around 2 metres, also have the capacity to hover and twist acrobatically. It's a necessary skill when searching the crowded ledges for enough space to plant their feet, though when they actually plop down to earth, they do lack a certain grace!

There is a pungent aroma from the nest sites. So many birds produce a lot of guano, and the smell is rather unpleasantly like ammonia.

The gannet below had a beakful of grass, intending either to use it on its nest or perhaps to offer as a gift to its mate.

A young gannet glides around on the sea breeze, below. The young start off with black plumage and then gradually lose the black until only the wing tips are dark. They take about 5 years to reach maturity.

This one is putting the brakes on to land...

Friday, 12 July 2019

RSPB Bempton

One of my objectives in making a trip to the East Coast was to meet up with friends from the camera club for an outing to the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs. In this spectacular setting, around half a million seabirds gather in the summer, to nest and raise chicks on the chalk cliffs overlooking the North Sea. It really is an amazing spectacle, with gannets, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and herring gulls jostling for position. If you're lucky you might see puffins too. The puffin population at Bempton appears reasonably stable though elsewhere their numbers have dropped considerably in recent years.

It's incredible how the birds are able to perch and nest on the narrowest of ledges.

Gannets are much bigger than the other sea birds. To the left (below), with black heads, are a couple of guillemots. The grey and white gulls are the pretty kittiwakes. 

The razorbill (below) can be distinguished from the guillemot by its thick, blunt beak and white stripe. 

The view north is of Filey Bay with Filey in the distance.