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!
Last winter, just after Christmas, the weather was very clear and cold and so I set off very early for an ascent of The Cheviot on the England-Scotland border. The conditions were truly arctic, with a very cold wind, deep snow drifts, sastrugi (wind sculpted ridges and troughs in the snow, and rime ice all over the fence posts. There was a really magnificent viw of Hedgehope Hill from the summit plateau of Cheviot, which was wreathed in thin, freezing mist. We did not stay long on the summit descended back to the Harthope valley near Langleeford, before the long midwinter night arrived. Thius image is now available as a pack of Christmas cards in the Northumberland Winter series, and is also in the Seasons of Northumberland calendar 2019.
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.
After a long a slow build up, the autumn colours are at last looking pretty good, even though it is so late in the year and the leaf fall is well advanced. Autumn in Northumberland is a week or two late this year but the last few days have seen some cold nights and bright sunny days and this has enhanced the colours. So there are some new photos in the bag for future Seasons of Northumberland calendars. It’s always good to get out of my office and to spend some time in nature, here in the North Tyne valley in Northumberland National Park.
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.
The Seasons of Northumberland calendar this year has a view of Lindisfarne seen from Bamburgh Castle on a very windy day with huge waves in the North Sea pounding the Northumberland Coast. Although Holy Island is some miles away, a telephoto lens foreshortens the view and shows Lindisfarne Castle above the surf crashing on the shore rocks.
I don’t think this has been a very colourful autumn compared to previous years. 2016 was very good for autumn colour, this year is distinctly quieter in terms of colour, but there is still time for colours to deepen before more leaves fall in the next gale. This year’s Seasons of Northumberland calendar has a view of beech woodland in Northumberland National Park for the month of October. It’s actually only two minutes walk from my house and the woods have some magnificent ancient oaks, beeches, Scots pine and larch. In the recent storm, a huge beech limb came crashing down about 20 yards from the house, fortunately far enough away to cause no damage.
Autumn can be one of the most beautiful seasons of the year, and in Northumberland, the peak of the autumn colours is usually in the last week of October and the first week of November. Misty autumn morning always bring to mind the famous poem ‘To Autumn’ by John Keats, written in 1819. This view shows Hexham Abbey on a fine autumn morningm with mist across the Tyne valley, which was in the Seasons of Northumberland calendar a couple of years ago. Today, the sun is shining and there is the promise of a fine day, with exceptionally warm temperatures as Hurricane Ophelia approaches from the Atlantic.
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 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.