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Autumn colours, Northumberland National Park

The lovely autumn colours of 2018 are beginning to fade, as the leaves continue to fall. This is one of my favourite times of the year. The last week of October and the first week of November see the climax of the autumn in Northumberland before the days become ever shorter and the landscape changes into the more subdued colours of winter. This view looks across the North Tyne valley near Bellingham, towards Callerhues Crags, with the Hesleyside woods in the foreground, and is in the 2019 Seasons of Northumberland calendar. I’ve heard rumours of a cold winter ahead and am looking forward to some fine frosty days after this very mild autumn. This weekend I’ll be at the Christmas Fair at The Sill on Hadrian’s Wall, the National Landscape Discovery Centre – hope to see you there!

Northumberland International Dark Sky 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.

Northumberland International Dark Sky Park

Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is 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 is a new Christmas card taken in the park (in fact it’s a view up the track from my house) and we have recently had some beautiful clear and starry nights and also aurora borealis or Northern Lights.

New Christmas card designs 2017

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 of Northumberland

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.

Northumberland prints

Fine Art Prints: A3+ size (329 x 483mm)

A range of Northumberland images is now available from this website, printed to the highest standard on fine art photo paper with archival inks. The subjects include Northumberland National Park, Cheviot and Simonside Hills, Coquet valley, red squirrel, Breamish valley, Tarset, Kielder, College valley, Hareshaw Linn, North Tyne valley and other beautiful locations across Northumberland. The views of Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall at night, in the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park are especially popular.
The images are printed on Epson Ultrasmooth Fine Art paper, with Epson Ultrachrome K3 archival ink. This technology has become the standard for the most discerning professional photographers who seek the highest image quality combined with the best archival print permanence. The dimensions refer to the paper size which is A3+ (or Super A3), 329 x 483 mm, (13 x 19 inches). The photographs are printed a little smaller than the paper size so that there is a white border around the image, and are signed in pencil on the paper border. Other sizes are available on request, as are prints on canvas – please email for prices. Prints are despatched in a rigid cardboard tube for full protection in transit.

Northumberland greeting cards: Dark Sky

Northumberland is the most sparsely populated region in England, and one of the many benefits of this (along with quiet roads, open spaces, and unspoiled landscapes) is the darkness of the night sky, which makes this area one of the best places for observing the stars and planets.

Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is 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.

One of my best selling cards is the view of Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland National Park, in winter, when on clear nights the stars glitter brightly in the dark skies to the north of the wall, a region with vast empty spaces and just a few remote farms and hamlets scattered across the land towards the Scottish border.

Mindful Moments

The Mindful Moments greeting card series now has twelve designs depicting nature subjects, with a mindfulness quote by Gwennie Fraser. As the subtitle of the card suggests, the theme is ‘reflections on mindfulness and nature’, and the quotes have been especially written to accompany each photograph. If the cards offer a little bit of helpful inspiration and contemplation, then they have achieved their aim. The images cover a wide range of subjects: an arctic tern in the Farne Islands; arctic willow in Greenland; raindrops on a beech leaf in spring; an ocean wave in Cornwall; crepuscular rays over the Hebrides; a detail of a tulip flower; a forget me not; gold and blue light on a waterfall in Northumberland National Park; a spectacular rainbow over Loch broom in the north west highlands of Scotland; a red squirrel; starry night over Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland International Dark Sky Park; and a detail of a stitchwort flower.