Friday, 26 June 2009


The sun was out nice and hot this afternoon so me and the dog went for a quick blast up Hawkstor to get some exercise and some reference photos(me only, not the dog) for possible future paintings. Hawkstor is one of my favourite tors. It's only about half a mile up the lane and commands a stunning vantage point looking east towards Dartmoor in Devon, with the whole expanse of Bodmin Moor behind, stretching away to the west. It's also a great place to let the dog run wild, as the whole of the tor is set aside to nature, fenced off from sheep, which is allowing the native plant life to slowly return.

Anyway, we zipped up the slopes, scrambled over the spine of huge granite outcrops that crown the top and generally had a great time behaving like mountain goats. Buzzards quartered the blue sky above and everything was very green and lush. So, here are a few pictures.....

Approaching the crag

Looking west from the top, towards Trewortha Tor

Rain shapes and carving in rock

Looking east, Devon-ways

Thursday, 25 June 2009

National Exhibition of Wildlife Art

Just sent off my two entries for this year's National Exhibition of Wildlife Art -

Among the Ruins - Short Eared Owl
Face to Face - African Elephant
For those who don't know.... (I quote from the NEWA website)
"The National Exhibition of Wildlife Art is an open annual exhibition based in the North of England.
NEWA was conceived in 1994 by a group of artists interested in depicting wildlife, with conservation as one of their underlying concerns. A donation from the exhibition is made each year to wildlife causes such as the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust and The Wirral Barn Owl Trust.
The aims of the exhibition are to promote and display outstanding examples of wildlife art from both professional and amateur artists.
The huge interest generated by the exhibition among wildlife artists proved that there was a pressing need for this kind of event.
Our exhibition is staged at Gordale Garden Centre which attracts a constant stream of visitors, over 12,000 to our 2007 show. Our new website attracted an overwhelming 12,272 visitors who viewed over 190,000 pages. The website received excellent reviews, calling it the best on line gallery of 2007.
Due to this increasing success entries have risen with each subsequent year. 2007 again saw over 40% of the works on show sold, a very high percentage for any exhibition."
The exhibition runs from Friday 17th July - Sunday 2nd August. For further information, visit the website at (where you can also purchase works online once the exhibition is running)

Sunday, 21 June 2009

War without End

My dog hates flies. It's bad enough when he encounters them outdoors, in their natural habitat, but when they dare to come inside, into his territory, and then buzz around the house like they own the place, well that's enough to drive him totally mad. No matter what their size, from miniscule micro-flyette to huge horsefly, if he sees one ,or worse still hears one, then I'm afraid they must die! And if they can't be despatched instantly then he is forced to retire upstairs and sit under the bed grumbling until I have the offending insect removed.

There can be only one....

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Ships that pass...

Wonderful encounter yesterday evening, happened to be walking the dog through a field of wildflowers a few miles to the west of here, when I caught sight of a movement in the long grass to our right. A huge male fox, very black in the body but with a bright red head and shoulders, appeared trotting along parralel to us. I stopped and froze in true BBC wildlife cameraman style (luckily without Jake the dog noticing the fox's prescence) but the fox carried on a little further, veered left, crossing our path in the process, then pushed through a thick patch of campion and buttercups and disappeared into the woods beyond.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

War of the Peacocks

The peacock I mentioned a few posts back is still around, in fact he seems to have set up residence in Middlewood for the present and is using the fields, lanes and gardens around these parts as his own personal stomping ground. He's been spotted flying, or rather gliding, sitting on people's rooftops and calling in a very loud voice early in the morning. He's not fully grown, has the colourful plumage but only a half length tail. Rumour has it he was one of a trio of peacocks bought by someone "up the hill" recently. Apparently they bought two males and one female, never a good combination in peacock circles, and it seems this smaller guy has been ousted by the other male and sent packing. I feel quite sorry for the lad, he's obviously a bit lonely and just looking for a girlfriend. The other day I even witnessed him displaying at a bunch of jackdaws. Needless to say they were not particularily impressed.

As a footnote just this morning I saw the other male of the trio down here in Middlewood. He's a much bigger guy with a full length tail and looks like he means business. Mind you, if he keeps walking down the middle of the road like he did this morning he could come to a sticky end.