2015 has not been an easy year for landscape photography: we have had a lot of cloud and wind and changeable weather, where the forecast changes all the time, often spoiling plans. East Yorkshire is not known for good weather and the combination has made getting good photographs of the area quite challenging. Hoping for some lovely spring sunshine, Lindsey and I booked a four-day break which would be both holiday and work (taking photographs isn’t work, is it??? Read on.).
We arrived at the Fauconberg Arms (www.fauconbergarms.com/) on a sunny afternoon, Ruby and Daisy (dachshunds) in tow, and it was all rather nice: we had a lovely room at this classic inn and Coxwold has a lot of character. However, the morning was cold and rainy and we hardly ventured out of doors, which was a good excuse for a rest of course. The next day it improved, and over the coming days, we did have some lovely sunny periods in between great swathes of cloud, and I got some nice pics, particularly around York.
On the fourth day, we left the Fauconberg and headed by a scenic route for the Yorkshire Wolds and our evening stop on the east coast, near Flamborough. I had two objectives that day, to explore the Wolds, inspired by David Hockney’s paintings of the area, and to visit Flamborough Head and photograph its lighthouses (it has two).
The drive through the Wolds was fascinating and full of a character which Hockney’s work had revealed to me. In Thixendale, I got some great shots of partridges and a pheasant in full mating plumage: typical males on the rut, all show and few brains. I also photographed the Rudston Monolith, which is an enormous menhir in the middle of a churchyard and placed there about 4,000 years ago: isn’t it amazing how people choose to use their time and energies?!
By the time we reached the Flamborough Head, it was very cloudy and dull, so I wasn’t inspired as I photographed the lighthouses because they just looked flat. There is a footpath that follows the cliff edge around the Head with fantastic views along the coast and hundreds of feet down the bird-strewn cliffs to the restless sea. There are fulmers and kittiwakes and gannets and, what was hugely thrilling for me, puffins! So, as we drove away under the grey skies, I was not entirely despondent, but knew that I’d have to return.
We drove to Bridlington, stopping to register at our hotel, Marton Grange (http://www.martongrange.co.uk/) where they served us a delightful tea. We took the doggies for a walk on Bridlington Beach and you could see for miles along the coast to the south, where I noticed a line of blue sky in the distance that seemed to be advancing towards us. It was now after 6pm, only an hour before sunset, but I thought it would be worth waiting for the low sun to light our beach and also the cliffs of Flamborough Head just to the north. It made sense to sit somewhere warmish with a drink, but the only pub on the beach was not very nice inside, so we were brave (or at least Lindsey was) and we sat outside, waiting for the sun to sink under the clouds….. And we waited… would it get low enough in time for me to get some images here and also get out to Flamborough Head again?
At 6.45, the sun blazed across the beach and soon was shining on the cliffs, so I took a series of photo’s then we were back in the car, leaving unfinished drinks at the iffy pub, and heading back to Flamborough.
We drove with the brilliant evening sun on our backs, and when we got to the Head, the light houses were positively shining against the dark grey clouds and I got the pics I’d been looking for.
It was now nearly 8pm, and it had been a long, but interesting day, so we were tired as we retraced our tracks to find something to eat in Bridlington. This had its own challenges, and the result was not memorable.