My littlest monkey is currently obsessed with krakens. Well, krakens, octopuses (I thought the plural of octopus should be octopi, but apparently not), squid and all things cephalopod.
So, to try and keep him entertained for a while, we went for a visit to The Deep in Hull.
If you don't know about The Deep, it's a massive aquarium with over 3000 creatures including sharks, sawfish, ray fish, sea turtles, jellyfish and much more. They've even got penguins! They've got pretty much everything except an octopus...
For more info on The Deep, click HERE.
We hadn't visited since not long after it opened about 16 years ago, but to be honest it seemed pretty much the same - only in my mind it had been bigger the last time. The place was still packed, the restaurant still crowded and noisy and the ticket prices were still an arm and a leg. Although they do last for a year - handy if you're local, but not so much when you're over an hours drive away.
Reading that back all sounds super negative, but I'm a grumpy dad - we love to moan! Apart from that, my little dude loved it. Although I think he loved the gift shop most of all - he managed to fleece me in there too!
After a couple of hours there, we went for a wander round town to see the sights and grab some food. We also called into the Hull Maritime Museum and gazed at the exhibits - the most impressive being a massive whale skeleton and also a couple of polar bears. There's lots of fishing heritage in there and a staggering amount of memorials of sailors lost at sea. Quite heartbreaking to see - especially when a lot of them were younger than my eldest.
My other half used to live in Hull as a student, and we followed her idea to search for the smallest window in England. We ended up having to Google it and found it about 2 minutes walk from where we were! I was initially disappointed it didn't match the image I had in my head, but had to admit it was kinda cool.
That's enough waffling - here are some snaps.
Gear used: Fujifilm XPro2, Fuji 18mm.
We fancied a little trip to the seaside last week, so we jumped into the Adventure Mobile™ and headed for the coast.
We started with a chilled out walk round Staithes before heading down to Whitby for fish and chips and then on to Saltwick Bay to visit the shipwreck of the Admiral Von Tromp.
A proper chill out in the fresh seaside air.
Here's some snaps.
For more info on the mystery of the Admiral, click HERE.
Gear used: Fujifilm X100F.
Christmas is over, everything is back to normal and it's pretty safe to say that everyone has the rubbish-weather-post-Christmas-blues. So, we decided to remedy this by nipping to Scarborough for some fish n chips!
It was a proper flying visit - we basically drove there, walked on the seafront, had some chips, walked down the harbour and marina, went in the arcade, walked back along the beach and drove home!
The weather was half decent for us - it wasn't too cold, but the wind made it colder. It stayed dry all day though.
It was also surprisingly busy - I guess plenty of others were clinging onto that holiday feeling!
Here are some snaps.
Gear used: Fujifilm XPro2, 35mm 1.4
A few weeks ago we jumped into the car and headed up North to the top of Cumbria.
We stayed in a little caravan park in Silloth - a little town on the shores of the Solway Firth.
I was up there to do a charity walk along Hadrian's Wall, spending a few days with the fam before and after the event. Unfortunately, I had to cut the walk short after an ITB injury, but every cloud has a silver lining and it meant I got a few more days with the fam before we headed home.
Although I had to hobble everywhere...
We did our usual stuff - exploring the hills, beach walks, sea side towns, fishing villages, wildlife spotting, stone skimming, trying to keep the kids entertained when it rained...
And of course, we ate lots of chips!
The last night there was beautiful. We sat by a campfire on the beach while we watched the sun go down and the stars come out. Perfect.
Going home is always the worst bit, so we turned it into a little bit of a road trip and visited Keswick in the Lake District, then on down to Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales.
As always, I took too many photos...
Gear used: Fuji X100F, Fuji XPro2, 35mm 1.4, 50-230, Samyang 12mm.
After a nice, relaxing Christmas, we headed up to Scotland to spend the New Year.
We'd booked an awesome converted barn 30 miles south west of Dumfries on the coastline near Gatehouse of Fleet.
It was a bit cold for our usual walks, not to mention that a few of us were struggling with the usual winter lurgy, so we pretty much just chilled out with a few little explores in the car. A lovely hidden gem was an old abandoned Kirk pretty much at the bottom of our driveway. We visited this a few times while we were there. I spent an hour on New Year's Eve freezing to death shooting some star photos in the graveyard.
We visited Castles and Cairns. Had a few little walks along beaches in tiny bays and stood on the beach watching the sunset. Went and had a nosey at the awesome Coo Palace - a Palatial Dairy Farm that is currently being refurbished into holiday apartments. Me and my little ginger had fun exploring a shipwreck on the coastline near Kirkcudbright. We visited Dundrennan Abbey - the place where Mary Queen of Scots spent her last night in Scotland. Like most of the other tourist spots though - it was closed, so we had to settle for views through the gateway. We visited the lovely little Kirk at Kirkandrews and a few other local spots.
We ate too much, drank too much, and pretty much saw in the New Year as chilled out as can be.
Happy New Year folks. Here are a few snaps from our trip.
Gear used. Fujifilm X70, Fujifilm Xpro2, Fuji 35mm, Fuji 50-230mm, Samyang 12mm
With the weather turning for the worse, we jumped up at the first sign of a non-rainy day, threw our big coats on and jumped in the car to have a little trip to look at the local Wentworth follies. I talked about the follies on THIS blog post a while back, but hadn't really had a chance to check them out until now.
I love autumn. The colours, the leaves - everything is a photographer's dream.
The first stop was Hoober Stand.
Hoober Stand is a pyramidal tower that stands just shy of a hundred feet on a little hill at roughly 157 metres above sea level. Construction was completed in 1748 and was to commemorate the quashing of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.
And it looks awesome.
I love pyramids and angled buildings. Shooting this from the side reminds me of one of my favourite buildings in New York - the Flatiron Building. The setting where it sits is also quite nice. My kids love the woods and there was a nice little bit of woodland here for them to go crazy in.
Next stop - Needle's Eye.
The Needle is just down the road from Hoober. A quick 150 yard walk up the footpath from the roadside brings you right to it. It looks pretty bizarre, a sandstone pyramid just sitting at the top of a little rise on it's own.
I do love a pyramid though!
The story behind this one is a little vague. It was apparently built in the mid-18th Century for the Marquis of Rockingham to win a bet that he could drive a horse and carriage through the eye of a needle. Measurements confirm that it would have been possible - so that brings a little bit of merit to the story. Rich folk have far too much time and money on their hands if you ask me!
There's also a little part that made my missus get a good case of the goosebumps - along one side of the pyramid are a grouping of musketball holes at head and torso height, suggesting that this may once have been a site of an execution by firing squad.
Next stop - Keppel's Column.
On the way we happened across a field of Highland cows, so obviously had to stop for a few snaps. A snorting big shaggy cow is a pretty awesome sight when it's a foot away from you. I'm glad there was a gate in the way!
The Column is a 115 foot tower built to commemorate the the acquittal of the court-martialled Admiral Augustus Keppel after the Battle of Ushant.
The tower sits on another hill, not quite as high as Hoober, but still a pretty good viewpoint.
The tower is in a bit of a sorry state. Not open to the public anymore, but it still stands tall and impressive on the rise.
This one is basically 'park at the side and take a photo'. The kids didn't even get out of the car.
And that's the follies! Here are a couple of snaps.
Gear used: Fujifilm X70 with the WCLX70 fitted.
Last week we had a few days away having a bit of a road trip round the Scottish border areas.
We stayed in Lower Burnmouth and had a little adventure round the area, calling into the little seaside ports and villages, and also popping back down into England to drive over the causeway onto Holy Island off the Northumberland coast.
Luckily, our little Freddie Bear wasn't in a sling this time, so he enjoyed climbing the rocks and throwing stones with his big bros!
We visited Castles, Priories, Beaches, Parks, Ports and Marinas. We ate Ice Cream, Pizzas, Teas and Cakes. We watched Seals, Gulls and lots of other wildlife.
We also did our usual favourite thing - we walked our local beach every evening until the sun went down before heading back to our house to warm back up by the fire.
A lovely bit of family time.
Here's a few (too many) snaps.
As usual, we booked our holiday house through Airbnb. If you've not used it before, click HERE.
On Easter Sunday we did what we usually do - wake up, have a cuppa in bed and hand out all the prezzies before sending the kids on a little Easter egg hunt around the house. We all happily filled our faces all morning and started the day feeling very chilled out. And half in a chocolate coma!
That all changed about 1 o' clock when the littlest monkey decided to jump down the bottom few stairs. This is a pretty normal thing for him to do (as with most kids), this time though, instead of chuckling away feeling proud of himself, there were tears...
On Tuesday we loaded up the car with enough luggage for 3 weeks rather than 4 days and headed for Wales. Half an hour later, after going back home the third time for things we'd forgot, we set off again. 6 and half hours and 4 toilet stops later, we arrived.
The land of Myths and Dragons.
And hard to read road signs.
We had booked a little garden apartment in the little seaside village of Tresaith in Cardigan Bay on the Ceredigion Heritage Coastline. Legend says (well, wikipedia) that a King of Ireland set his 7 troublesome daughters adrift in a boat and the currents of the Irish sea led them to beach on the coastline where they all fell in love and settled down with the locals. The name Tresaith means the Town of Seven.
I don't know if any of that is true, but I know we had fun. Even with our little toe rag in a sling!
Wales is beautiful.
We spent our days travelling around the area. We looked at castles, stone circles, burial chambers, lighthouses, abandoned buildings, wildlife and the gorgeous mountains of Snowdonia. We ate chips looking at the sea and walked down piers. We ate pizza at the coolest, most hipster outdoor restaurant ever. We skimmed stones in lakes and tromped across beaches.
And every evening we went down to our local beach where a waterfall fell over the cliffs onto the sand and we stayed there until the sun went down. On our last night we had clear skies, so we got to watch the stars appear too.
It was perfect.
Some snaps from our trip.
We booked our apartment through Airbnb. For some money off your first trip, click HERE.
While we were down in Leicester, we decided to have a little explore. We had initially planned to go visit Ashby de la Zouch Castle, but the weather was a bit too grim for that!
Our first stop was the New Walk Museum where we went to have a nosey at the dino bones and the Egyptian mummies. Freddie was a bit scared of the Egyptian bit, but enjoyed looking at some of the animals - especially the owl. His favourite bit was playing with the gemstones in the gift shop! For more info on the museum, click HERE.
After the museum we drove up to Notts, had some scran at the very nice Badger Box and then went to have a nosey round an old Church built in 1356 (the site is older though, the present church replaces an older one on the same site).
The church was pretty cool, a few nice old details left and lots of gravestones from the 17th and 18th Centuries in the yard. The coolest bit though, was the old Hall and the gatehouse to the rear. Built in the mid 1300s, it was once home to Mary Chaworth, who was the lover of the poet Lord Byron. Lord Byron's uncle actually killed (the then) Lord Chaworth in a duel in the gardens of the house. Very cool place with a lot of history - the home of some very powerful families in Nottingham. Wouldn't mind a revisit to get into the grounds!
Here are a few snaps.
We decided to make the most of the sunshine on Valentine's Day and made a roadtrip to the coast.
We jumped in the Adventure Mobile™ and headed up to Saltburn-By-The-Sea to walk on the beach and eat chips on the pier. After a few hours it was time to jump back in the car and head further down the coast to Robin Hood's Bay where we walked down the steepest hill known to man, through the little windy streets and quaint little shops to the little slipway at the bottom where we stood and watched the waves crashing in. And slowly froze half to death! It was a good job we'd all brought flasks full of hot chocolate to warm us back up again!
It was an awesome day spent with the family. The fresh air and a bit of sunshine almost made us forget it was still wintertime for a minute or two!
As usual, I took far too many photos - here are some of em.
Thought I'd start this little blog to let people know what we get up to. Some personal stuff thrown in the mix too.