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The Sill Christmas Fair

The Sill is the UK’s National Landscape Discovery Centre at Once Brewed in the Northumberland National Park. The building is the result of an innovative partnership between Northumberland National Park and YHA England and Wales. Named after the nearby Great Whin Sill, the centre is the result of a partnership between Northumberland National Park, Youth Hostels Association (England & Wales) and the Heritage Lottery Fund, which supported the development with a £7.8m grant.

The first Christmas Fair will take place on 19 November, and I will be part of the  showcase of local produce and handmade crafts, with my Northumberland Winter Christmas cards, Seasons of Northumberland calendar, greeting cards and prints. A great way to pick out some handcrafted Christmas presents made in the North East. We’ll have entertainment for all the family and fantastic festive food in the Sill cafe.

 

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.

New Christmas cards of Northumberland

There are some new designs available this year, which have just been sent to the printers, and will be on sale sometime next week. Climate change seems to be causing much milder winters, so winter photography with snow and frost is now something of a rarity, even in Northumberland. So the new cards are from images made during the two cold winters of 2009-2011. This view shows the River Coquet from the bridge at Hepple, looking towards the Simonside Hills in the Northumberland National Park on a very cold morning with a temperature of about minus 15 degrees C.

Northumberland Winter

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.

New website

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!

Hextol Foundation

The run up to Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for many businesses, and I am fortunate to have the Hextol Greenbox (part of Hextol Foundation) to do the large amount of packing needed to prepare my Seasons of Northumberland calendars,  and Northumberland Winter Christmas cards ready for sale every year. Hextol Foundation is ‘an independent charitable company, based in Hexham, which gives a sense of purpose to people who are learning disabled or who have mental ill-health by helping them develop their skills and confidence through work and personal achievement that creates a positive transformation in the quality of their lives’. Under the guidance of  chief executive Chris Milner, the Hextol Foundation provides an invaluable service for many businesses in this region, covering jobs such as packing, decorating, gardening and catering. Thank you to everyone at Hextol Foundation!

Photo by Roger Clegg

Winter

Today was one of the most beautiful winter days for a long time, with a completely clear blue sky and bright sunshine across Northumberland National Park, and the last leaves of autumn still adding some colour to the landscape. Not cold enough yet to freeze over on the rivers, but the weather forecast is for high pressure for some days to come, and cold, frosty nights. This image show the River Allen from Cupola Bridge a few years ago during a cold spell. It has been used in a previous Seasons of Northumberland calendar, and is still available as a Christmas card in the Northumberland Winter series. Hard winters are not welcomed by everyone, but the dry weather makes a pleasant change from some of the wet winters of recent years, and I have never met a photographer who does not enjoy at least a taste of traditional ‘winter’ weather from time to time.

First frost

Today saw the first hard frost of the winter, and a beautful sunny morning in Northumberland National Park. This Christmas card shows the Tarset valley, near Greenhaugh, and a similarly fine frosty day with bright sunshine. The Northumberland Winter range of Christmas cards are supplied in packs of ten cards, and there are over forty designs to choose from.

Ice crystals on window

Very cold weather is now something of a rarity, and I don’t often get the chance to photograph real winter conditions with snow, ice and frost, even in the uplands of Northumberland. A few years ago, a couple of exceptionally cold winters meant that ice crystals or ‘frost flowers’ often appeared overnight on the window pane of an entrance door to an unheated porch. With an outside temperature of minus 10 degrees C, and sometimes as low as minus 20, glass surfaces such as unheated windows, or car windscreens can be transformed by beautiful natural wonders, and the intricate patterns of ice crystals. The first card of ice crystals I published was very popular, so I’m hoping that this new card will also be enjoyed. Meanwhile, I am very much hoping for some cold weather, hard frosts, and some sunny, wintery days, especially after last year’s exceptionally wet winter when the rain never seemed to stop.

New Christmas card designs

The new cards have been printed this week for the Northumberland Winter Christmas card range and are arriving from the printers tomorrow, ready for despatch next week. You can order the cards from this website today, and they will be delivered as soon as possible.

Hexham, Northumberland, winter evening