A year of travel around Great Britain

With covid 19 hitting the UK back in March 2020 and stopping sport entirely for several months for myself. It was time to find something to do until it came back in some form be it very restrictive in the amount of events that I could covered.

I’ve always enjoyed travelling and photography and taking landscapes in the urban areas or out in the country. When I started working full time for Action Images I received paid annual leave. I very much enjoyed short city breaks in Europe. I remember a brilliant two week rail journey I had where I travelled from London to Marrakech and back again. I loved getting to places like Hong Kong or the United States of America. I managed a week in New York, Boston, Washington and San Francisco. I was lucky enough to do road trips from LA to Utah.

Of course in-between these annual leave trips and when I went freelance 6 years ago I get to travel for work and have been to all over Europe and to some cities several time on occasions. Having the opportunity to go to Moscow 5 times for work over a decade, explore the Underground and become lost in its architecture, walking in Red Square during the day & at night and along the streets. Heading to Tromso inside the Artic circle covering Tottenham Hotspur where it had only had sunlight for hour a day or places like Donetsk where few years later, the stadium and surrounding areas were hit by war in the region.

This brings me to the present, with no sport & overseas travel possible meant it was time to start exploring places around the UK on day trips or road trips within the rules of lockdown restrictions at that current time. Surprisedly some images I have taken are within minutes walk from home down at the local beach and coastline. The full moon rising over the English Channel just after sunset during blue hour at low tide. To winter sunrise & sunset with the position of the sun over the water. Early morning drives to Brighton ready for sunrise and catching locals swimmer heading in for swim to Starlings taking part in a murmurations above Brighton Palace Pier after sunset. 

Going to to places like the New Forest, Halnaker Mill, Corfe Castle, Knole Park when is snowed recently and other locations locally or on the way back home from when sport did returned for me for the past 6 months or so.

During the summer I followed the Comet NEOWISE for a few days road trip starting at Knowlton Church in Dorset & heading down though Devon and Cornwall ending up at Penzance & Land’s End.

One of the advantages of not having any sport over the summer was the ability to plan a two week road trip heading to the Scottish Highlands & Outer Hebrides. Over the years I’ve traveled up to Glasgow to cover sport and on occasion spent an extra day or two driving around the lower Highlands but this would be the first time I could really explore and take my time. Once travel restriction had loosened up traveling between England & Scotland, I jumped at the chance planed my trip. Stopping half way overnight at St. Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay in Newcastle before making my way along the coast to Edinburgh before heading north. From there I’ve been able explore places along the east coast such as Tarlair Swimming Pool just outside Macduff and Bow Fiddle Rock. No trip is without at stop off at John O’Goats (my second time I’ve driven there) before driving along the coastal roads to one of the best beaches I’ve woken to. Ceannabeinne Beach on the A838 near Durness, a place I want to return a spend longer explore the beach coast at low tide. 

Part of the reason for this trip was to explore areas to return on future road trips spending more time in those areas. Such as the Western Highlands and the Isle of Skye such as Quiraing, Old Man Storr, Fairy Pools with the every changing weather. I will be return to possible in the summer / autumn depending if I’m not working at much with sport. Catching a ferry from Skye I travel to the Outer Hebrides never been before and spent time on the islands but depending on when I could catch a ferry between island meant that I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have like to explore on some islands. So I will be returning again with a plan to time it with a football match taking place at Eriskay Football Club ground in South Uist.

In the autumn I was able to do is spend a week in the Lake District driving around the different lakes and valleys. Comparing it to my Scottish Highlands road trip, you’re able to revisit an area a few times if needed being such a small area to drive around. Yet somehow I still was not able to visit all the places I wanted to in the time I visited, so I will be back again on multiple trips throughout the year. 

One incidents that’s probably glad not on camera was flying my DJI Mavic Air at The devil’s Pulpit not that far from Glasgow. Where it decided to lose connection and go swimming, cue the scene of me stripping down to boxer shorts and jumping into the cold water to retrieve it.

Drving along and getting two tyre punctures at the same time in the middle of nowhere, been able to replace once with a spare but hope that the other one (gaffe tape patching it so doesn’t deflate fast enough) before finding a local town with a garage to replace them. Getting at flat battery when staying overnight in the car at Ceannabeinne Beach but lucky I have a battery starter pack for these situation. While driving in the Lake District to location and the car was overheating but you manage to get there in time and watch amazing sunset happen before you as the engine cools down. 

Part of the fun of these road trips over the course of this past year travel have been to visit places I’ve seen online from other photographer, exploring and returning to places I’ve been to before. While driving to one location is discovering new places along the way such as sleeping in the car and waking up to sunrise next to an empty beach. Small issue such as tyre punctures or jumping into a cold stream for a drone is part of the adventure.

So now we seem to be heading out of Lockdown 3 from the 12th April onwards I’ve got my eyes set for trips back down the south coast exploring Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. Plans for heading into Wales to Snowdonia and the south coast over several trips. Heading back up north to the Peak District & Yorkshire Dales for 1st time and of course back to the Lakes District and Scottish Highlands.

Hope these words and pictures inspire you to get there and explore what Great Britain has to offer be locally or at the other end of the country.