Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Hamlet of Lumbfoot, Haworth, Bronte Country, April 2015

Since it takes a lot less time to take photos than to edit them and write about them I always have a lot of old images "waiting to see daylight" and be dealt with. On this occasion I'd like to share a beautiful circular walk around Lumbfoot G and I went for about this time last year.
The map of the route can be found on the "Four Countryside Walks from the Pennine Village of Haworth" leaflet available at the Tourist Information Centre in Haworth. It is such an exhilarating and easy walk and quite different from other walks around Haworth in that it runs through the river Worth Valley countryside which differs in appearance from the famous adjacent moorland, adding to the varied beauty of the landscape around Haworth.

The wonderful view greeted us very soon after leaving Haworth Main Street with a dry stone wall on our left, Lower Oldfield Farm in mid distance and rolling hills beyond.

Lower Oldfield Farm - such a welcome encounter. Just love the rural setting and detail, all looking so appealing in the interplay of spring sunshine and shadow.

It was such a glorious late April day, perfect to explore this part of Haworth countryside. I felt so alive and buzzing with a liberating feeling.

One of the joys of springtime is lots of cute lambs all over fields. Loved this little scene with the lamb chilling in the shade snuggled up against its mother.

This must be one of the most idyllic and magical spots I have ever been to. When the old bridge came into view I just gasped with incredulity. The charming packhorse bridge over the river Worth, Grade II listed building, is paradoxically called "Long Bridge" as it is anything but long, although it may have been long by the standards of the time it was built in (date uncertain). The area around it is very peaceful and tranquil, and all you can hear is the murmur of water and all you can see delightful rolling countryside. G and I lingered here for a while soaking in the beauty and peace. It was a weekday, and there was nobody about. We had this amazing place all to ourselves. I decided I must come back here with a picnic blanket and book of the Brontes' poems, and I will make sure it does happen this summer.

The chimney stump and engine house of the demolished Lumbfoot Mill.

Lumbfoot is such a little gem in the Bronte Country. There is only a private road leading to it and a public footpath. I marvelled at the handful of lovely, tucked away houses thinking how peaceful and idyllic it must be to live here.

An attractive row of cottages at the end of the hamlet. One of them had its stable door open on this beautiful spring early afternoon (how I love stable doors!!!), and as we passed we could here from within the clinking of cutlery against plates as the inhabitants had their lunch. It all looked and felt like a bliss to me.

This lovely sign at the entrance to the hamlet made me smile. It tells you not only how many people live there but also how many dogs and cats. Lumbfoot was twinned with Lhasa, Tibet as part of the 1989 declaration of independence from the UK following a dispute between its villagers and those of the nearby Stanbury. It is a piece of history which I find rather bizarre.

We left the hamlet by a narrow, very steep, walled foothpath leading towards Stanbury with some lovely elevated views.

Lower Laithe Reservoir near Stanbury. With it's Victorian sluice house it is quite an attractive feature in the Bronte Country, especially in panoramas with dramatic light.

A breathtaking view over Sladen Valley, near Cemetery Road, Haworth. The wonderful vista stretches for about three quarters of a mile, and it is one of the most captivating I have ever seen.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Tribute To Charlotte Bronte (1816 - 1855)

"The human heart has hidden 
treasures, In secret kept, in 
silence sealed; The thoughts, the 
hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, 
Whose charms were broken if 

~Charlotte Bronte~

2016 sees the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Bronte's birth (21st April), and as I am a huge fan there has never been a better time for me to create a personal tribute to her. Charlotte is one of the three famous Victorian literary sisters who continue to awe, intrigue and inspire me, both as artists and as women. I was very excited and somewhat daunted at the idea of creating a still life image in her honour. 

It did not take long for a picture to form in my mind, but I did not have the objects I needed to realize it. I wanted to use a "Jane Eyre" book but did not have an old publication. By some uncanny coincidence I stumbled upon one in a charity shop just days after I planned my image. The book is from about 1960 and has Charlotte's dedication to the novelist W. M. Thackeray, which she first inscribed in The Third Edition of Jane Eyre in 1848. It is not as old a book as I would have liked, so I added an old paper texture in post processing to create a more antiquated look.
Charlotte was very short-sighted, so I used an old pair of spectacles found in the Saltaire Vintage shop, that are not dissimilar to those she would have worn.
She was fond of wearing neck scarves which gave me an idea to included one of mine (for want of a more appropriate one) that reminds me of the scarf she is wearing in the above portrait by J. H. Thompson. 
The presence of hyacinths is owed to the fact they blossom around the time Charlotte was born (and me too for that matter, two days after her); they are my favourite spring flowers, and in this image they represent my birthday present to Charlotte.

Haworth village and Bronte Parsonage Museum, where Charlotte lived and wrote all her works, are hosting many interesting and fascinating events and talks to mark and celebrate the bicentenary of her birth throughout the year. I am so looking forward to attending, photographing and writing about as many as I can.

"True enthusiasm is a fine 
feeling whose flash I admire 
where-ever I see it."

~Charlotte Bronte~


Sunday, 3 April 2016

Hamlet of Outgate, Lake District, 7 May 2015

This very pretty hamlet straddles the Ambleside Hawkshead road and lies about a mile and a half north of Hawkshead. We were on the way to Hawkshead to start a walk from there, and as we drove through the little village I gasped at its picturesque charm. I asked G if we could stop on our way back for me to take a few pics and so we did. I didn't have a lot of time as we were quite tired and hungry by then, so I just whizzed around taking quick and random shots of whatever was catching my eye.

I just adore this rural scene with whitewashed holiday cottages and the local slate fence. I normally remove telephone poles and cables from my images but I like how the wire frames the cottages here, and could just not resist adding some birds to it in Photoshop. I used one of bird brushes by Cheryl Tarrant available for free from her site.

The same row of cottages as on the previous image. It was a very peaceful and bright spring afternoon and the only sound I could hear was a soft laughter, presumably of a happy holiday maker, coming from an open window.

Of course, I had to take a close up of the old, red, English phone box, always a welcome and cheerful site and a great detail for photography.  Loved shooting with the sun in front of me.

The local pub, Outgate Inn, another house whitewashed in local tradition. Particularly attractive is the fence made of the Lake District slate, a lovely feature of the hamlet.

It makes me really happy and feeling fulfilled to visit and photograph country places like this one. It is definitely one of the things I enjoy the most in life.