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[Me]

Touring Britain bit by bit with a pair of boots, a few bicycles, a lot of trains and a bag of lenses. I take pictures and then I write about them.

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abandoned places and things architecture bristol coastal cumbria events highlands history industrial lake district lakes london mountains not the uk photo essays photography politics protests rural rural decay science scotland somerset structures the north uk urban urban decay wales westcountry all tags


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Sun, 13 Jan 2013

On the canals at Castlefield

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Until May 2011, when I had to go to a meeting in the city, I'd never been to Manchester. I've still spent barely any time there.

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With little time to devote to photography while there, I instinctively rode over to the part of the city centre that looked most interesting on the Ordnance Survey map: Castlefield.

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With the world's first industrial canal and the world's first passenger railway, the neighbourhood is a tangle of basins and viaducts and narrow cobbled pathways. The Bridgewater Canal arrived here from the Worsley coal field in 1761, and a second branch of the canal reached the Mersey estuary at Runcorn three years later. The opening of the Rochdale Canal through to West Yorkshire in 1804 put Castlefield on a through-route, and the basin was also connected to the nearby River Irwell later to be turned into the Manchester Ship Canal.

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In 1830 the canals were joined by the railways, with the world's first passenger line, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, terminating at Liverpool Road Station (now the Museum of Science and Industry) adjacent to but not crossing the basins. The first two railway viaducts over the water came in 1849 with the Manchester South Junction & Altrincham Railway lines which fork here as they head west from Piccadilly. These lines were in turn crossed by even higher viaducts with 1877's Cheshire Lines into Manchester Central victims of the Beeching Axe, but reused in the early 1990s for the trams and the now disused turreted tubular steel Great Northern Railway viaduct of 1894.

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Now it's in the half-done regeneration stage, with mixed decayed and preserved industry, warehouse conversions, empty plots and infill apartment blocks.

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I think the instincts probably did a reasonable job.

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[Tag] Tags: canals, history, industrial, manchester, railways, the north, uk, urban decay, urban


Sun, 6 Jan 2013

Edge of the Vale

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In the summer I spent a few evenings and early mornings shooting the hills surrounding the valley of the River Stour the Blackmore Vale in North Dorset and South Somerset.

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For much of the year, the clay and low limestone ridges of Thomas Hardy's vale of little dairies provide little to keep a landscape photographer occupied for long.

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But in the golden hour light, the steep scarp slopes of the chalk downs to the south and east can. The Dorset Downs in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and Cranborne Chase in the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB all part of the extensive chalk formation that forms much of the upland and sea cliffs of southern England provide promontories, like Bulbarrow and Fontmell, and islands in the vale, like Hambledon and Duncliffe.

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And the more gently rising limestone that divides the Stour flowing south east to the English Channel from the Yeo, flowing north west to the Bristol Channel, dropping in its own scarp into the Somerset Levels, with its own peninsulas and islands at Corton Beacon and Cadbury Castle.

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These photos all taken in August and September 2012, but more can be found in the Dorset gallery.


[Tag] Tags: blackmore vale, dorset, downland, rural, somerset, uk, westcountry


Sun, 30 Dec 2012

der Telespargel

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Fernsehturm, the television tower in Alexanderplatz, central Berlin, Germany's tallest structure.

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Built as a show of GDR strength and to be an icon of East Berlin, but also an excellent example of the pettiness of political rhetoric, positioned deliberately to loom over West Berlin's Reichstag when the latter is viewed from the front, and in return cited by Ronald Reagan as "the Pope's revenge" because the diamond-shaped reflection of sunlight on sphere sometimes looks vaguely a little bit not really very much like a Christian cross.

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These shots, and more from the visit in December 2007, in the Germany gallery.

View Larger Map


[Tag] Tags: berlin, germany, history, not the uk, structures, urban


Tue, 25 Dec 2012

Winter in Keswick

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In February 2010 I booked the train up to Penrith...

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only to break the bicycle I'd planned to take on the day before departure....

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so changed plans and walked everywhere in the snow around Keswick and Derwent Water, where the boat bus company fought to break the ice...

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up over Walla Cragg and Latrigg in the blizzard, and through the fresh snow around the stones at Castlerigg...

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and got the double decker bus down to Windermere for the train home...

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The squirrel was a lucky catch in the woods below Ashness Bridge.

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[Tag] Tags: cumbria, lake district, lakes, mountains, rural, snow, the north, uk, weather, winter


Sun, 21 Oct 2012

The standing stones of Machrie Moor

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On the west side of Arran the "Scotland in miniature" island of the Firth of Clyde you might find a gateway, half hidden in high hedges, with a sign indicating the path to Machrie Moor.

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The track winds through the sheep fields and scrubland, and past a small and slightly mediocre fenced-off stone circle.

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To a little yard of part-ruined stone barns.

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And thence to the great array of neolithic structures, from clumps of squat granite boulder circles to triplets of tall sandstone megaliths.

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All set in the wide valley of the Machrie Water, around the point where a midsummer sun rises in the centre of the valley's dip on the horizon...

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...against the backdrop of Ard Bheinn and the view to the distant Goatfell in the island's mountainous north.

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View Larger MapView Bird's Eye


[Tag] Tags: arran, highlands, history, islands of the clyde, machrie moor, rural, scotland, stone circles, uk


Sun, 7 Oct 2012

Hill climb

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[Tag] Tags: chile, cycling, downland, moors, mountains, patagonia, roads, rural, scotland, the north, uk, westcountry


Sun, 30 Sep 2012

At Abereiddy

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Walking south along the coast path of St David's Head in the Pembrokeshire National Park, amongst the bays and headlands of rugged and ragged cliffs and worn-down volcanic hills, one lesser, lower, headland stands out for its clearly man-made feature.

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The squat little tower of Abereiddy, standing on a headland that is barely still there, more hole than headland, where the Blue Lagoon has been carved out as part of the long lost local slate mining industry.

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Standing sentinel over the little bay and beach, and the little street of houses behind.

More photos in the Pembrokeshire gallery

View Larger Map Ordnance Survey Map


[Tag] Tags: coastal, industrial, pembrokeshire, quarries, rural, uk, wales


Sun, 9 Sep 2012

The Settle to Carlisle Railway

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I like the ways that railways fit into the landscape: the mix of bold lines, elegant curves, symmetrical structures and lush green earthworks, embedded in big landscapes like these ones on the Settle to Carlisle Line in the Yorkshire Dales national park and tying places together.

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I've just not quite worked out whether and how to pursue the theme...

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[Tag] Tags: lines in the landscape, north yorkshire, pennines, railways, rural, structures, the north, uk, yorkshire dales, yorkshire


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