Castles And Coastline - Jay Birmingham

Castles And Coastline

The days were lengthening, the weather was hotter, so I thought I’d book a sunny camping trip to Northumberland to photograph the castles and coastline. Little did I know that this would be one of the wetter trips I have taken! The opportunities for photography were few and far between, but I did manage to visit one or two places of interest...

Bamburgh Castle is a well-known photography hotspot, and for good reason – you can photograph it from both sides, and it is an iconic building – brooding and strong, looking out over the North Sea. It was used in several battles (and was taken over by the Lancastrians during the War of the Roses), so has an interesting history of bloodshed and had fallen into disrepair until the early 20th century, when the Victorians restored it.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is very atmospheric. It housed a monastery in 635AD, and the site of the castle was built in the 1500s. The Vikings raided Lindisfarne in 793, which was devastating to the island, although a Christian community did survive. The Holy Island is definitely a great place to visit (we went twice; once at 3am), but you have to plan the visit carefully, as the island is cut off twice a day by the tides, and the causeway can’t be crossed (except by boat!).

Dunstanburgh Castle is a 14th century castle, with lovely rocks in front of it. It was used for protection against Scotland in the 1300s, and the castle was also fortified during the second world war.

It is of course a more peaceful place now, and I spent quite a lot of hours there, taking pictures of razorbills on the sea-cliffs. This was something that I could do in the rain, so I had lots of fun with my telephoto lens.

Howick Scar was another location on the coast that I visited. This has some great (although incredibly slippery) rocks and a solitary house, which must have some of the best views on the coast. As we walked down to the rocks, we saw about 20 dolphins travelling across the sea, which was a joy to behold, and a nice reminder that there is still life in our seas. They were quite far out to sea, so I just enjoyed it rather than take photographs, but it really was a privilege to watch these great creatures and their acrobatics.

A final location was Cambois Beach. This is quite industrial, and has a huge outflow pipe, which provides an interesting lead-in line to the sea. I would have liked to photograph this when the sky was colourful, but it was full of rain when I visited!

Even though it was rather wet, I did enjoy the scenery. I think next time I visit there will be a winter trip, which will have the added bonus of a much later sunrise (it’s getting a little early now!).

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