Just after Christmas I went up The Cheviot with one of my daughters on a very fine winter day. Having seen the snow covered Cheviots from Hadrian’s Wall the day before, and with a very good forecast, we set off early and took about two hours to reach the top from Langleeford in the Harthope valley near Wooler. The conditions were arctic – a strong westerly wind with drifting snow and beautiful wind blown ridges and furrows in the snow, known as sastrugi, commonly seen in cold, polar environments. The snow was more than thigh deep in places where it had drifted, so quite slow going. The views were spectacular in all directions, looking north into Scotland, eastwards to the coast, and southwards across Northumberland National Park.
A recent BBC report stated that “A study of pictures of Earth by night has revealed that artificial light is growing brighter and more extensive every year. Between 2012 and 2016, the planet’s artificially lit outdoor area grew by more than 2% per year. Scientists say a “loss of night” in many countries is having negative consequences for “flora, fauna, and human well-being”.
Many people never see the stars properly, or even at all, due to the amount of light pollution in towns and cities across the world. There has also been a surge of interest in the night sky, and this is reflected by the huge popularity of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, the largest area of protected night sky in Europe, covering 572 square miles (1,483 square kilometres). The area was awarded gold status designation in 2013 by the International Dark Sky Association in Tucson, Arizona, the world authority on light pollution. This status means that controls are now in place to prevent light pollution and to protect the night sky.
This greeting card in the Cherish the Earth series shows the stars over Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland National Park, with an accompanying quotation by His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu lineage and one of the most eminent figures in Tibetan Buddhism: “When we can appreciate beauty, and feel awe and wonder at nature, we have the basis to dedicate ourselves to environmental protection.” The Karmapa is well known for his interest and commitment to environmental issues, as well as social justice for all. He frequently highlights the issues in his teachings and life’s work.
There are twelve cards in the series, ranging from honeybees to Himalayan mountains, wildlife to oceans, and there has been a wonderful response since publication. They are also available from the shops at Kagyu Samye Ling, near Eskdalemuir, Scotland, and Kagyu Samye Dzong London.
Well today is looking thoroughly wet, dark and grey, but we have had some lovely days in the last few weeks. November can be a beautiful month, and this view shows the hills at the foot of the College valley on the northern side of the Cheviots, on a day of wonderful light. This image has been included in the Seasons of Northumberland calendar 2018, available from this website, and from retail outlets across the region. The 2018 calendar features views of Northumberland through the seasons of the year, including Bamburgh Castle, Alnwick Castle, Northumberland National Park, Hadrian’s Wall, puffin (Farne Islands), River South Tyne, Padon Monument, and Embleton Bay. It makes a great Christmas present for family and friends in Northumberland and beyond, and many Northumbrians living around the world.
The iconic Sycamore Gap is a favourite location, and one of the most famous places along Hadrian’s Wall in the Northumberland National Park. A walk last November resulted in a new image which has just been used for the front cover of the current edition of the Northumbrian magazine.
The new cards are arriving tomorrow, after some delay at the printers. There are now fifty designs available in the Northumberland Winter Christmas card range, covering Hadrian’s Wall, the North and South Tyne valleys, Cheviot Hills, Simonside Hills, the Northumberland Coast and castle – Dunstanburgh, Bamburgh, Alnwick – the ever popular red squirrel, Northumberland National Park, Kielder, Hexham, and Northumberland International Dark Sky Park. This image shows a lone ash tree on the fells near Bellingham on a snowy winter evening.
Prints make an ideal present for birthdays or Christmas, and there is a good range of Northumberland prints available. One of the most popular images is the starry skies over Sycamore Gap (in the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park), but the range includes Hadrian’s Wall, the Northumberland Coast and the famous castles at Alnwick, Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh. The mounted prints are supplied ready to frame.
Early days yet, but for those who are looking out for distinctive Christmas cards, there are more than forty designs available in the Northumberland Winter card range. They are supplied in packs of ten cards, with subjects ranging from Hadrian’s Wall to the Northumberland Coast, Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh and Alnwick Castles, the North Tyne, South Tyne and Coquet valleys, Kielder, red squirrels, and winter scenes across the Northumberland National Park.
Well it’s not really a ‘new’ site – much of the content is the same, though some superfluous content has been removed, and some new content will be added in the weeks ahead. The aim is to make the site as easy to use as possible so that buying a card or a calendar will not be a complicated and frustrating ordeal trying to work out the next step! And also to try and make an attractive website that is a pleasure to use and interesting for the viewer, whilst keeping it simple and uncluttered. There will soon be some new products beyond Northumberland, such as new greeting cards based on the sea, and on India. Meanwhile, all the regular products are available: Seasons of Northumberland calendars, Northumberland greetings cards, Northbumberland Winter christmas cards, Mindful Moments, Cherish the Earth, Earth Light and Time cards, and the notelet cards of Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland National Park, nature, Northumberland Coast and Hexham Abbey.
As always Terry Walsh (twda.co.uk) has been really helpful in giving advice and doing all the technical bits and making it all look so easy. Thanks Terry!
The Seasons of Northumberland calendar 2018 is now available from this website, and from retail outlets across the regio. The 2018 calendar features views of Northumberland through the seasons of the year, including Bamburgh Castle, Alnwick Castle, Northumberland National Park, Hadrian’s Wall, puffin (Farne Islands), River South Tyne, Padon Monument, and Embleton Bay.
It makes a great Christmas present for family and friends in Northumberland and beyond, and many Northumbrians living around the world.
The 2018 calendar is now at the printers, and this will be the ninth edition of this title. The front cover this year depicts Hadrian’s Wall on a fine summer evening, just as the ‘The Sill : National Landscape Discovery Centre’ approaches its offical opening day on 29th July. This £14 million project replaces the old Northumberland National Park visitor centre at Twice Brewed. The 2018 calendar depicts the landscapes and seasons of Northumberland, from its rolling hills and river valleys, to its spectacular castles and coastline. It will be available to order from this website in early August.