A couple of weeks ago I boarded a train expecting to go to Exeter for a weekend away with my boyfriend. We planned to stay at a Premier Inn and explore the city and maybe some local countryside! So imagine my surprise when we stayed on the train to Newton Abbot, got in a cab and pulled up outside Bovey Castle in the heart of Dartmoor. I was taken aback, to say the least. A weekend in a 5-star hotel and spa wasn’t what I expected but it was a wonderful birthday treat – and the perfect chance to take some photos in the heart of stunning Dartmoor.
Our home for the weekend:
On our second day in Dartmoor we decided we needed to go exploring, so we got dropped off at Two Bridges (Dartmoor without a car was a bit of a challenge) and set off to find Wistman’s Wood. We were well prepared with waterproofs and layers but remarkably the weather held off for the duration of our walk! Although the wind did howl in a very ‘Hound of the Baskerville’s’ way.
Wistman’s Wood is an incredible place, quite a bizarre landscape and is known by some as the ‘most haunted place in Dartmoor’! There’s more to read about the legend of the wood on this fascinating website.
You can’t see it very well in this format but I managed to get a panoramic shot of the moors which I’m quite pleased with.
And here’s my boyfriend surveying the landscape from Longaford Tor. Once I found a sheltered spot away from the howling wind, it was incredibly peaceful and I enjoyed sitting on a slightly damp rock, admiring the scenery and enjoying the peace.
We were fortunate enough to stumble upon some Dartmoor ponies sheltering from the wind.
Check out the mane flying in the wind on the pony below!
This was the view from our bedroom window on our last morning – it was stunning! Sunday started off with a massage in the spa and some time to explore Exeter before our train back to London. What a lovely weekend!
After a wonderful breakfast in our castle (that will never get old), we headed to the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary in Oban. I had hoped to see some otters and seals in the wild, but a trip to the Sea Life Sanctuary guaranteed that we would see some and it was also interesting to learn about the amazing work they do. It also meant that we saw some adorable cubs in the seal hospital, and I’ve just seen on Twitter that one of those cubs has now been released back into the wild.
For our final night we would be back in Fort William, so we decided to drive back the scenic route taking in Kilchurn Castle, which took some finding! It was built in the mid-1400s but was abandoned in the 1700s.
The next part of our scenic tour back to Fort William took in the stunning Glen Coe, which I have to admit did overwhelm me in its beauty and scale.
Glen Coe certainly felt like the climax of our trip, and it felt quite humbling standing in the middle and taking it all in.
For our last evening, we had a lovely meal in the Garrison West, a friendly pub where the bar staff talked us through some whiskeys! It was a gorgeous sunset for our last night, but unfortunately, I had left my camera at the hotel so I took these on my phone.
After exploring Fort George, we headed to the Cairngorms, a stunning part of the country and one of my favourite walks of the holiday. We were aiming for a walking spot near Braemar, but as with all our travels so far, the car journey was just as spectacular as the destination.
We parked in the Linn of Dee carpark and set off for a walk through the woods running alongside stunning waterfalls. This area was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite parts of Scotland, and as a bit of a fan of this wonderful monarch, I was excited to explore. In fact, the gothic bridge which you cross to reach the carpark was officially opened by the Queen in 1857!
On day 4 we left Inverness and headed to Glen Nevis and Oban – look out for the next post, coming soon!
Last week my boyfriend and I visited Scotland – it’s the second time we’ve been to Scotland together but last time we visited Edinburgh for a festive city break, so this time we decided we needed to explore the highlands! We spent 6 days driving around this stunning country (covering over 1000 miles!) – we based ourselves in Inverness for 3 nights, Oban for 1 night and Fort William for the final night in the shadow of Ben Nevis. As I took so many photos of the stunning landscapes, I’m going to share separate posts for each day of our trip. This photography blog may be morphing into a travel blog!
After arriving in Inverness we had some time to explore the local area, so we drove around Loch Ness. I had no idea quite how large it was, the Loch Ness Experience taught us that it is actually as deep as the height of the Shard in London in some places – plenty of spots for the monster to hide.
We drove along the A82 which runs along one side of the loch, and back round on the B roads which lead back to Inverness on the other side – but are a much more dramatic drive as you can see from the photos below!
Urquhart Castle is located on the side of the loch, and this was the view on a very murky afternoon when you could only just make out the other side of the loch.
Couldn’t resist a bit of fun with photoshop on this one, my own shot of Nessie…
These are some of the views we were treated to on the B road back to the city. It wasn’t great photography weather and I struggled to capture the atmosphere and to get the right lighting, something for me to work on!
This morning Londoners woke up to the first frost of the winter and a very chilly morning. I took advantage of the frost and sunshine to capture this leaf lying in a sunny spot on the ground before the ice melted. I really love the way the ice crystals decorate the leaf, so hopefully I’ve done them justice with these photos (I hope so as I had very chilly knees getting the shots!)
The first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of Richmond Park is the deer, and they are certainly a big attraction. I say attraction tentatively, as I found it quite bizarre how a huge stag could be completely surrounded by people with cameras standing less than 4 metres away, despite the signs warning you to always stay 50 metres away from these powerful animals. Despite wanting to capture them on camera, I tried to maintain my distance, and am quite pleased with the shots below. A more powerful zoom would have been useful – that’s one limitation with the Fujifilm X30 which I am starting to discover.
As well as the majesty of the deer, there was also the stunning autumn colour of the park to capture.
I did more photoshop edits on the image above than usual as there was a big streak of sunlight across the tree trunk on the left-hand side. I think it’s come out slightly too dark now, but much less distracting than the light streaks! In the two images below I left the sun rays in as I think they created a nice effect, I’ll say my inspiration is from Planet Earth II – they seem to love shots taken into the sun!
I really recommend a visit to the park over the next few weeks, the perfect place for a Sunday stroll – and a beautiful spot to practise some landscape photography!