The Autumn Equinox usually falls on the 21st but occasionally, as this year, it’s on the 22nd. For the rest of this year the daylight length becomes ever shorter than that of the lengthening night. The occasional drizzle lasted from when I started out at about 6:30 until about 8:15 when the cloud broke making for more interesting photographic lighting, particularly as everything was wet.
I committed a photographer’s faux pas today by forgetting to bring my tripod. Accordingly I missed a couple of potentially good early morning low light photographs that would have required exposures of several seconds – impossible to hand hold.
On several occasions this year I’ve been up and down a short stretch of public footpath on Bredon Hill that some hikers would find to be very dangerous. Every other path on Bredon Hill is benign. The photo and map segment below show its location on the public footpath up from Great Comberton. Only the last 100 yards leading to the top of the hill is dangerous. It is very steep, has very poor footing in the dry and is even worse in the wet. The occasional handholds on the adjacent fence are very unreliable, sharp and barbed. Going down is particularly dangerous.
Before hiking this short path with a group, either up or down, be sure that everyone in your group is confident, competent and capable of making it. There’s every chance that, on being confronted with the prospect, one or more members will choose not to attempt it; in which case you’ll have revise your hike plan by splitting the group or by backtracking and taking a different route. The shortest alternative public footpath to this very steep and dangerous 100 yard slope is about 6 km or 4 miles! If you’re walking alone, be aware that if you fall and get stuck, you’ll be out of sight – and not many other walkers pass this way!
A very muggy late afternoon-evening hike was relieved somewhat by a gentle cooling breeze on top of the hill. Most of today’s photographs seem to work best for me in monochrome. The promise of a fine sunset faded as it approached.
The villages surrounding Bredon Hill are amongst the most attractive and picturesque in the land. And for many photographers they would be superb places to photograph. I’m tempted at times, but I almost always resist. The beautiful stone cottages, thatched roofs and immaculate gardens would make a photography project in its own right. But for me, primarily a landscape photographer, photographing people’s private homes and gardens and then publishing them on the web without permission from the owners is something that leaves me feeling a little uncomfortable. It isn’t unlawful; in almost all instances photography from public highways, footpaths and bridleways, is not restricted in any way. Of course, I have no qualms at all about photographing public buildings, churches or pubs for instance. I’ve been asked about photographing in the villages on a few occasions whilst hiking on Bredon Hill and a further question today has prompted me to assemble my thoughts.
My 8 mile loop starting before sunrise from Elmley Castle was both photographically productive and enjoyable. The almost complete cloud cover at the start steadily dissipated to become almost clear blue as the temperature rose. Not surprisingly, more people than usual were enjoying the hill today. A few hours on Bredon Hill is a far better bet than most August Bank Holiday alternatives! On top of the hill I watched a pair of Wheatears for while, the first I’ve seen here. I wonder whether they bred here or perhaps they’re on migration south from more northerly breeding grounds?
I’m aiming to complete 52 hikes on Bredon Hill throughout 2016, one per week on average. This is my 40th hike so I’m now over 3/4 of the way to meeting my objective but not quite 2/3 of the way through the year. So I’m well ahead of schedule, which I need to be as I’ll be taking some more time away before the end of the year. This morning’s 7.5 miles covered a loop starting and finishing in Overbury. The harvest is all but complete – Bredon Hill now is looking scalped.