Wednesday, 28 October 2015

A trip to the UK

Gabriel & Peaches.

Gabriel & friend! 

I flew into London on 7th October & arrived in Ewell late evening to find both Peaches & Gabriel still up waiting for me! It was great to see the grand kids again + Nicci & Justin of course! We spent the evening catching up on all our news.

Grey Heron
Canada Goose
 Male Tufted Duck


 Eurasian Coot

Common Moorhen
Black headed Gull

 Grey Squirrel

The next day I walked into the village via the park & photographed a few birds & the resident & very curious Grey Squirrels.

The Thames in London.

Most of the weekend was spent watching the Rugby World Cup with Justin & then I was in central London on 12th. I revisited Foyles Bookshop after many years & admired all the changes. I also bought a couple of field guides which I started to read on the way home. 
On the morrow I left Ewell & caught the train to Bridgewater in Somerset. I was visiting Thorn Cycles & had a very informative & pleasant few hours with the knowledgeable Andy. I went to purchase a Thorn Raven bike but ended up with a Thorn Nomad instead! Andy thought this was more suitable to my rather hard core needs! I also took the shop bike out for a run & was amazed at how responsive & light it was to my touch. I was flying along! I pick up my bike at the end of February. Looking forward to it. I then continued by train up to Ilkley to visit Rowan who was waiting in a taxi to greet me & take me to the Riverside Hotel my home for the night. It was lovely to see her again.

 The Riverside Hotel.

 River Wharfe

Lesley was performing in town, just after I would leave.
We were at school together, a long, long time ago!

The Wheately Hotel

On the 14th Rowan was working, so I occupied myself by walking around the very scenic town. It was a lovely day & then Ceggy came to pick me up to take me to the Wheately Hotel (where Rowan works) & my home for the next three nights. It was nice to meet all Rowan's friends at the hotel & see where she works.

The food was wonderful!

Thanks Rowan!

Rowan had the next two days off, so we went into Leeds & shopped for her upcoming round the world trip, which was a lot of fun. We then had a few drinks in the hotel bar & somehow i managed to break my little finger! How do these things happen?

 Nice gear girl!

Me & Rowan.
 Looking over the town.

 Up on the moors.

As we gained height it got a little colder.

 Stone Circle.

Nice jacket girl!
On the 15th Rowan & I went for a walk into the hills & moors above the town. The weather was cool but fine & we were greeted by three Red Kites circling overhead. Times are certainly a changing for this bird!

Rowan & Ceggy.

 Ceggy & me tucking in!


In the late afternoon we went for afternoon tea at Betty's Tea Room: a famous spot, which is a bit of an institution around these parts.
In the evening I finally met Ceggy's Dad, Tom. We enjoyed a very nice evening & then I left for Beverley the next day.  Martin & Amanda were there to greet me & we had catch up time over a bottle of wine. It was great to see them again (last time was at their wedding last year)!

Birding on Swinemoor.
Little Egret is now quite a common sight 
across much of England.

We all had a nice morning out on Swinemoor, an area of carr land close to Beverley, seeing a Little Egret, which has recently colonised the area.

Holderness Coast.

It was a cool October day!

Dead Grey Seal.

Martin & I went to the coast around the villages of Hilston & Aldborough. We didn't see many birds but a Common Buzzard flew south. We also came across a dead Grey Seal on the beach. It was nice to be back in Holderness again.

Looking south towards the castle.

Scalby Mills looking south.

Looking towards Scarborough Castle at dusk.

Scarborough YHA in a wonderful setting.

Unfortunately the pond was dry when I was there!

I then caught the train to Scarborough for my first stay in a Youth Hostel! I have just joined the YHA & spent the day around Scarborough Castle & Scalby Mills before going to the hostel which was set in a lovely setting by the beck.

The Cleveland Way.

The whole 109 miles is well signposted 
& part of the national trail system.

Looking over the North Sea, on a good day!

The 20th was the start of my big day: my walk up the coast from Scarborough to Whitby a twenty three mile coastal hike up the Cleveland Way, which I turned into a twenty six mile hike by my detours!

It was a lovely day & the scenery was quite spectacular. I met Chris Bradshaw just by chance birding. Last time I saw him was in the UAE! We enjoyed a twenty minute catch up chat then I was on my way again.

 Hayburn Wkye.

The area around Cloughton & Hayburn Wkye was particularly pretty.

Boggle Hole YHA.

Robin Hood's Bay.

This sign caught my attention!

 A famous hiker's hotel.

Wainwright's Bar.

I pushed on & reached the very pretty Boggle Hole & eventually Robin Hoods Bay, where I had a pint in Wainwright's Bar!

Looking north.
Just south of Whitby.

The Abbey.

The YHA is next to the Abbey.

The town is very historic.

Inside the bar.

I then walked quickly the last eight miles & arrived at Whitby just as dusk was approaching. It had been a long, hard walk, but very worthwhile. I really enjoyed it.


Herring Gull in the harbour.

One of the famous landmarks.

The next day was spent exploring the very historic & scenic Whitby before once again catching the train back to Beverley. I went out for a meal with Martin & Amanda & we all had a good time.

The Deep.

The daily ferry to Rotterdam.
Both Carol & Nicci used to work on North Sea Ferries.

Looking over The Humber.

Saltend Marsh the scene of many a rare bird find
 in the past.

The Smoking Bridge, named after me in the good old days
 when I used to do a lot of visible migration watching
 from here.

Expressing Hull's maritime past.

The next day Martin & I revisited one of our old birding haunts: Hull Docks. It was a step in the past in fact around 30 years ago!

Martin, Toni & Amanda.

 Pulfin Bog.
 Dominated by Grey Lag Geese.

Little Egret.
Mute Swan.


The next few days were spent with Martin & Amanda & on 25th October we all took advantage of a lovely sunny day to walk up to Pulfin Bog, a local nature reserve. Birding was quite good for this small local area, with 23 Whooper Swans flying over being the undoubted highlight. Other good records were at least 3 Little Egrets; 2 Common Buzzard & Common Kingfisher.

 Peaches & friends. Gabe is a gatecrasher!

I left Beverley the next day & arrived in Ewell in mid-afternoon. My thoughts of having a quiet evening were soon dashed as Peaches was having a sleep over party! So many small screaming girls was the order of the day!!!

 A bit of history in Kingston.

The kids ordering food!

Me looking at the menu!

Shattered! The girls didn't go to sleep until 4 am! Then Nicci drags me out to Kingston, shopping! Had to have lunch at Jamie Olivers Place to recover! Lunch was followed by this!

 The Adam's Family?
No, the Manley's!
Rowan & Nicci, all glammed up!
 Nicci me & Rowan!
Just in case you wanted
 a closer look!
OK it is Halloween & it is party time! Everyone got dressed up & we had a great time! It was a very late night!
My time in England had come to an end & I flew out back to Abu Dhabi on 3rd November. Quite an eventful trip though!