Tag Archives: walking

Theme for the Week – Dorset in Spring Part 1

23 Apr

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

It’s Sunday and time for a new theme again for this coming week and I thought we would have a celebration of spring as captured on my recent walks. This week I sat on a high hilltop on a beautiful day overlooking an amazing view and across the valley came that sound which heralds in the spring, the sound of the cuckoo! So it is official now, spring is here, and nothing typifies spring like a field of bright yellow oil seed rape! So today we visit King Down.

King Down

2EF7D665-802F-41D6-913C-C5B335AA5DDA adj

King Down is a few miles north west of Wimborne, not far from the Badbury Rings Hill Fort. It is not high at all but there are still lovely views all around, and invariably you walk to the accompaniment of skylarks. There are two well preserved round barrows at the top of the down but others that once stood around them have disappeared, possibly because of farming. The reason for their presence is the nearby Roman Road and Hill Fort. This was once an ancient cemetery.

It is interesting to compare two similar pictures taken just a week or two apart. In the bottom picture, the flowers are sparse but just a short time later after the sun has warmed up a little, the crop is in full glory.

King Down

It is also interesting to compare paths. On King Down, the path through the rape field is broad and easy to walk but later that day, I would be walking through the rape field that you see in the far distance and there, the path was narrow. You might wonder why this makes a difference but it does! As I walked through the later field, I was constantly brushing up against rape flowers on both sides as I squeezed through, being coated in a copious dusting of golden pollen and also a layer of what seemed like sap. For a hay fever sufferer, this would have been awful! For me it was just a nuisance and in fact I was more concerned about the very fine pollen getting into the camera.

So what makes the difference in the width of the paths? Well I believe it is horses. Which leads me on to another subject – horses, and riders of course, are both a blessing and a curse to walkers. In winter if you walk a bridle way, you are likely to find yourself walking in thick mud as the hooves churn up the wet ground. This doesn’t make for easy walking. But in summer, those same horses have the effect of keeping many paths clear of wild plants such as stinging nettles which would otherwise overgrow the paths. And of course, the ground is dry so the hooves don’t have the same effect on the ground as in winter.

Anyway, back to our walk through King Down 🙂 ! It is a truly lovely place and although it is not in any way remote, it feels remote, and that makes it a great place to walk. It is much quieter than the more popular paths at Badbury Rings, and there is nothing better than to sit atop one of the barrows and just drink in the sea of spring yellow at your feet whilst listening to the skylark overture. Just wonderful.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

 

Theme for the Week – Quirky Dorset Part 7

11 Apr

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

So this week, we are on the hunt for more odd and quirky things that you might come across when you walk my lovely county of Dorset. Yesterday we looked at the Smugglers’ Path that zig zags steeply down the face of White Nothe to reach the shoreline. But there is still another hazard to negotiate before you reach the safety of the rocks, and that is The Ladder!

The Ringstead Ladder

You see, the Smugglers’ Path finishes at the cliff top, but you still need to reach the rocky shoreline before you can get any further, and that is where the ladder comes in 🙂 ! The somewhat rickety looking contraption stretches some 20 feet from the shore to the cliff top and is not for the faint hearted!

The Old Ladder

In the picture below, you can see the view that greets you as you climb down these humble steps, a view that takes in the whole of Ringstead Bay……..and if you climb down the ladder, that is where you will be heading because there is nothing in the other direction as the tide covers the shore.

The Dorset Coast Ladder

The strange thing about this ladder is that it has no handrail. Now I think that is great but in this day of extreme health and safety laws, I’m surprised no one has put a stop to it. In fact, because of coastal erosion and rock falls, there are other ways down to the shoreline but as someone who loves oddball walks, why would anyone not want to use this ladder 🙂 !

Ringstead ladder

Of course, having reached the shoreline, you will still be quite some way from Ringstead and to get there involves trudging over a mile along the shingle beach. Oh, and part of it is a nudist beach! Its all a bit quirky here!!

If you are not up for a bit of adventure, then maybe stick to the main coast path 🙂 !

Thanks for stopping by.

Until tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

 

 

Theme for the Week – Dorset Hills with a View Part 1

2 Apr

– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –

A strange title you might think since all hills presumably have a view, but these are some of Dorset’s best known hills and I thought I would feature them as my theme for this week.

You might think that hills are something straightforward but they are not, as we shall see. For instance, we might start by asking the question, ‘When is a hill not a hill?’ Well, perhaps when it is a mountain, or maybe a hillock, or maybe a………. Well, you get my drift.

Anyway, to get us going, I thought we could take a trip to Bulbarrow Hill, and just for a change, I thought we could make the trip in winter as well as summer.

Bulbarrow Hill

Bulbarrow

Rosebay Willowherb on Bulbarrow

Bulbarrow Hill is arguably not technically a hill as it is actually a part of the Dorset Downs escarpment. It stands west of Blandford Forum and rises to 274 meters (899 feet) high. The hill overlooks the flatter land of the Blackmore Vale and therefore has some beautiful views.

Although this is a very popular and well known viewpoint, it is not one of my favourites. This is because there is a road that runs along the top – I prefer my hills to be more wild and remote. Also, in some ways, you appreciate a view more if you have had to work for it 🙂 !

Bulbarrow

The Road over Bulbarrow

So, back to my question, ‘When is a hill not a hill?’ Well the answer could be, ‘When it is a mountain’. There are some differing views on when hills become mountains and it will depend on whether you are considering its pure height above sea level, its height compared to its surroundings, its steepness, spacing, cragginess, etc etc. These have all been used at times to define mountains.

The Oxford English dictionary gives one definition as, ‘a natural elevation of the earth surface rising more or less abruptly from the surrounding level and attaining an altitude which, relatively to the adjacent elevation, is impressive or notable’. Generally, in the UK (it gets way too complex if you look at UN international definitions!) a mountain is recognised by hill walkers as being over 2,000 feet (the Government suggests 600 meters but hey, who’s counting). On this basis there are no mountains in Dorset. Scotland, however, by this definition has lots of mountains although a lot of them bear the title of ‘hills’. Its definitely not an exact science 🙂 !

Bulbarrow view

Bulbarrow in Winter

At the other end of the scale it becomes even more difficult as there are no real definitions for Hillocks or Knolls – they are just small hills with an undefined height 🙂 ! And names and categories, now that’s another thing……but we will leave that subject for a later post.

Dorset is full of hills of the rolling variety rather than the craggy and Bulbarrow is one of the best known, and probably loved by most people. In truth, it is a beautiful area to walk and I do so frequently by climbing it on foot despite there being a road 🙂 !

Thanks for stopping by.

Until tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

Theme for the Week – Quirky Dorset Part 4

24 Mar

– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –

Our theme for the week is ‘Quirky Dorset’, which is all about unusual things that you might find as you are ‘exploring the countryside and lanes of Dorset’, and I could not possibly let this week go with out including these – the Dorset Holloways.

The Dorset Holloways

The Magical, Mystery of Dorset's Holloways

In a Dorset Holloway

I have written a number of blogs on these somewhat unusual occurrences which although not exclusive to Dorset, are found there aplenty. Holloways are ancient byways that have become sunken tracks after centuries of use has eroded the ground. They started life as normal footpaths but millions of feet, cart wheels, animal hooves, and water running off the land have gradually worn away the soft bedrock so that the paths have sunk deeper and deeper below the level of the surrounding land. By their very nature, they occur only where the bedrock is soft such as in the sandstone of West Dorset.

For me, these are just the most amazing places to walk and you can almost sense the different generations of people who used them over hundreds of years. The trees that once lined the path and marked its route now hang over the edge with their roots exposed. You almost feel that you are walking underground in a giant rabbit burrow as the trees arch overhead creating a tunnel effect. The depth varies but some go down as much as 30 feet with sheer sides making them more like gorges. Some, such as Hell Lane, have names that seem to suit them perfectly 🙂 !

 

Holloway

Hell Lane

Such is the effect of these paths on me, that I was inspired to write a poem about them, and I have repeated it below:

A world of mystery down below,
A place of doom where all fear to go,
Dark by night, eerie by day,
This is the Dorset Holloway.

A path that once was above the ground,
Foot, hoof and wheel has worn it down,
For centuries man has come this way,
Creating the Dorset Holloway.

The walls each side show heritage clear,
Etched in their faces, year on year,
Through diff’rent ages the path worn away
The ancient Dorset Holloway.

With roots either side and branch overhead,
Trees arch above their arms outspread,
Creating a darkness, to keep out the day,
The shadowy Dorset Holloway.

Stuff of fiction as well as fact,
At times overgrown, with brambles packed,
A haven for nature’s pleasant bouquet,
The nature filled Dorset Holloway.

An underground warren of time worn ways,
A lab’rinth where birds, bugs, bats play,
With damp plants aplenty growing from clay,
The musty Dorset Holloway.

A secret world of hobgoblins rare,
Tricks of mind and raising of hair,
Such the effect, you fear to stray
In the spectral Dorset Holloway.

But explore these paths with open mind,
Follow the route wherever they wind,
Be amazed at the things that there lay,
The evocative Dorset Holloway.

(Copyright The Dorset Rambler)

I just love walking these quirky paths, there is always something new to find and photograph. It is the whole air of mystery and intrigue that makes them special and as I walk them, I often wonder who used them centuries ago and what their lives were like, as well as what the purpose of their journey was. These are special places indeed!

If you would like to read more about these ancient paths, just type ‘Holloways’ into the search bar and my other blog entries will come up.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

Theme for the Week – Walking the Streets Part 5

18 Mar

– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –

Continuing the theme of ‘Walking the Streets’, I thought I’d put up another city street musician picture.

People at Work - The Violinist

I said in an earlier post that one thing that caught my eye was how people just hurry by these street performers without seeming to even notice them. On this day, my walk inspired me to more than pictures and I wrote a poem which I have posted below. To set the scene, my day was spent walking the city streets near Christmas when the Christmas market, with its many different stalls, was on. The streets were busy, bustling, and very cold! Here is the poem which I entitled……….

Only the Girl in the Poster Seems to Dance

The clothes seller sells her colourful wares,
To chilly people who are full of their cares,
Her cheerful smile adds light to their day,
As they shiver along on their wearying way.

The toy seller sits behind his stall,
Surrounded by toys, he made them all,
Which children will these things delight?
Whose tree be under on Christmas night?

People at Work - The Toy Maker

The artist sketches a beautiful girl,
All wrapped up against the winter chill,
It’s not complete, there’s more to do,
But already the likeness is coming through.

The crooner sings a smooth soothing song,
People rush by, they can’t wait too long,
But they walk away with music in ear,
To bring a bit of good Christmas cheer.

The hot-dog seller, a pretty young girl,
Hair tied back to tame her curls,
Provides some food to help shoppers shop,
And a little warmth from her burning hob.

The fiddler plays a bright merry tune,
I bet he wishes this was flaming June,
Is anyone listening I wonder perchance, as
Only the girl in the poster seems to dance!
(Copyright The Dorset Rambler)

As far as the main picture goes, I decided to use selective colour in order to highlight the girl in the poster and turn the rest of the scene to black and white.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

Theme for the Week – Walking the Streets Part 4

17 Mar

– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –

So, continuing our theme of ‘Walking the Streets’, you might think that day time and sunny weather would be the best time to be out walking with your camera, but this is definitely not the case.

Wet pavements

This shot, as you can see, was taken on a very wet evening as I walked the city streets……and I loved it! There were lots of wet pavements to reflect the city lights, and the heavy rain really added to the wintry feel, creating a great atmosphere. Every photograph has two dimensions, a height and a depth, and you create the third dimension by using perspective to create a feeling of depth. But atmosphere is what I call the fourth dimension, and it really lifts a picture out of the ‘record shot’ category into something much more.

Interestingly, this shot dates back to the time when I was considering selling my pictures through a stock photography library and this one was rejected because there were too many copyrighted signs in it. You see, not only do people have rights but so do property owners which is why you may need property release forms as well as model release forms.

The night I took this picture, I got so many good pictures with lots of bright colours from reflected lights and umbrellas, and lots of movement created by using a slow shutter speed. It was a night to remember……even though I got soaked 🙂 !

Thanks for stopping by.

Until tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

Theme for the Week – Walking the Streets

15 Mar

– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –

My theme for the week is ‘Walking the Streets’ which is somewhat different to my usual posts which involve countryside and nature and landscapes aplenty. In terms of exercise, walking the streets can be beneficial, although tests have shown that mentally walking in the countryside with the quiet of nature around you rather than the noise of traffic has a better effect. But, hey, variety is the spice of life…..plus of course you can’t really do street photography in the countryside 🙂 !

People at Work - The City Busker

Yesterday I said that in the UK generally, it is legal to take pictures of anyone in a public place but of course some places might appear public but in fact be private, such as shopping centres. Also, there are restrictions in some places such as Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, the Royal Parks etc. But what about the moral side? Is it an invasion of privacy to take pictures of people just going about their normal everyday lives? Some of the iconic photographers of the past such as Cartier Bresson, Vivian Maier etc spent their lives doing it and became famous for their ability to record everyday life, and their pictures are a fantastic resource showing us how people lived. But what about in the 21st century? Will my pictures be seen the same in 100 years time? Probably not, because these days so many people take pictures, but you get my point.

I guess the answer to my question above is perhaps partly down to what the subjects in your pictures are doing. In the case of the picture above, the guy is a street performer so he would expect to be photographed, as would musicians, human statues etc. However, it would also depend on what you were intending to do with the picture. In my case, I take these pictures just for fun – in fact I don’t actively market any of my pictures. If you intend making money out of candid pictures, especially if they are used for advertising rather than editorial, it is a different ball game as the people featured could justifiably claim a share of the proceeds unless you asked them to sign model release forms. But is it an invasion of privacy even if you are doing it just for fun?

Well, perhaps we will think more about that tomorrow!

So, about the picture itself, it was taken in a city and this guy was crooning the old songs using, as you can see, a retro mic. I captured the shot with people in the background and then toned the final image to fit in with the retro feel. What caught my attention though was the way the people were showing no interest in the singer or his song at all. But more about that in a future post too.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.