This is a difficult task for me. I don't really live in any one place and so I feel I belong to every beautiful place, and that they belong to me, as long as I am there I feel a responsibility. There are however some places which I have lived and still spend a lot of time, or that I just feel a particular affinity with. I have picked three of these. The first two run together, they are the downs (our word for 'big hill', you'd think they'd be called 'ups' really. the person who named them must have done it from the top) on the south coast of the Isle of Wight and the cliffs and the coastline itself. This is where I spend a lot of time. My Grandparents live here and my office is a shed in their garden, so when I am working this is where I spend a lot of my time parked. It is stunningly beautiful. Remote in parts and always changing mood with the weather and the seasons.
The other is the bay at Tintagel. It is a truly spectacular place. It is all the way in Cornwall and I only get to spend about one week there a year, when I go for a big historical re-enactment. It is fantastic because my friends travel there too and they love the place as much as I do, so we always have a magical time.
Please note that I have put half the pictures in the text but there are more at the bottom, with more stuff written.
These are my cliffs and my sea. This is just across a field from where I often park up. In the night I can hear the waves battering the shore and the wind rocks me to sleep.
This is the sun setting over my downs. I walk here often collecting mushrooms for my dinner. The most wonderful thing I have seen here is a hare, closer than I've ever seen one before. Boy can they run!
This is my Grandparents house. It is so old it is nearly a geological feature itself, 400 years at least, and was settlement and a farm long before the current house was built. My downs are in the background, covered in clouds which are coming in from the sea. The downs drop away to become the cliffs which run along towards me, they are just out of the picture, away to the right. Within a hundred more years this house will probably fall into the sea. My house is parked out the front of it and the other person taking a picture is my Mum.
This is one of my favorite pictures. Myself and three of my best friends went down to Whale Chine (so called because the body of a huge whale washed up here in Victorian times, it's skeleton is still on display at a park nearby). A chine is a deep crevace (how the hell do you spell that?) caused by running water, there are many of them along this part of the coast. It is a hell of a climb and every year the steps and the path wash away. The council always used to rebuild them, but I think they may have given up now. The chine is labeled as closed, but that never stops me from going there. We are stood on the strange no-mans land created when earth and land falling from the top of the high cliff builds up and forms another level, with its own small cliff leading to the sea. It is soon covered in grass and maybe the occasional very lost bunny rabbit, but very little else finds its way there. We are stood next to the ruins of a car which some joyrider had pushed over the cliff and then torched. This is my place.
This is an old painting of one of the chines, probably Blackgang, just to the east, near where the downs meet the cliffs. The whole area is known to have been used by smugglers and wreckers.
This is my Tintagel. It is the most magical place. It is known by many as the legendary birthplace of King Arthur. The chunk of land on the right is only connected by rocks and by a small wooden walkway, which you can just see in the photograph, to the main land mass. That is where the ruins of the ancient castle are. If you would like to know more about the castle and the legend you can go to www.tintagel castle.co.uk. The water is freezing and the waves have a tendency to pick you up and hurl you onto the shingle beach, but it is still beautiful to swim there. Just to the right of the beach you can see Merlins cave.
This is my cave, although it is fabled to belong to Merlin too. It is long and dark and cathedral like. It runs right through under the castle and out the other side. This photo is of light streaming in the far end. One day we caught an extra low tide and clambered out, where usually we would be pulverised by waves. There was a magical land of tunnels and rockpools the other side and strange shiny purple seaweed and little critters. My beardy friend from the previous picture is a marine biologist and even he was surprised and delighted by some of them.
This is my beautiful view from the head of Tintagel bay. Sometimes when we go there there is a friendly seagull who seems to like posing for the camera.