September 2018
September 2018 - Exhibitions and expeditions

It’s not often that large, one-off events take place so we had to visit the Great North Exhibition while it was still on. It seemed a bit of a throwback to those staged by the Victorians and a weekend in Newcastle revealed a number of venues displaying some of the north of England’s great inventions across industry, design and innovation. We saw the “Rocket” - the original George Stevenson steam locomotive, astronaut Helen Sharman’s spacesuit, original models of “Wallace & Gromit’ and Postman Pat, roman artefacts from Hadrian’s wall, a lego display detailing some of the north’s great achievements, interactive displays on the shipping industry and military history associated with Northumberland, and an exhibition on the invention of the electric light bulb.

One of the highlights was a mining exhibition within the beautiful, Victorian interior of the Institute of Mining Engineers. The Baltic Art Centre showed how 1970’s town planners considered roofing over the RiverTyne in the centre of Newcastle and erecting civic buildings on it! Thankfully it never happened. All the other modern art exhibitions in the same building were beyond my comprehension and left me underwhelmed - but modern art is not my thing!

My camera also accompanied me. Newcastle is a very photogenic city and views along the waterfront are irresistible. The Georgian architecture of the city’s interior is stunning - especially Grey Street and Grainger town - and is now set within a conservation area. With some good food and wine, it was a cracking weekend and satisfying that we had indulged in this unique event.

August is “heather time” when the hills take on a wonderful, albeit temporary, purple hue and our bees have hopefully been working hard bringing in the much sought-after honey from the moors. I took a trip up the Lammermuir Hills one evening to photograph the heather. Unfortunately a cloud bank obscured any hope of a classical sunset but I enjoyed the distant views over to Leith and the Firth of Forth and still managed a picture to show the ling heather in bloom.

A visit to the Cairngorms during a wet weekend made photography somewhat challenging. Nevertheless I came across a harebell growing near bracken that was already turning golden to produce something a little more creative (see image). The next day was a little drier and I ventured into a pine wood beside a river only to be devoured by midges; such are the trials and tribulations of the nature photographer…

Further photographic forays included trips to Clackmannanshire to capture the landscape with distant views to the mountains of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. It has been refreshing to find new viewpoints and and l look forward to exploring further opportunities in this area. I also found a location to photograph Grangemouth oil refinery against seabirds wading on the mud flats. I found the contrast of heavy industry and wildlife fascinating and shows the resilience of nature. I posted the image on Facebook.

Overall though I found August a bit of a washout in south east Scotland with days of rain and photographs were hard-earned. Some September sun wouldn’t go amiss…