A Snow Day in Sheffield

Sometimes, you don’t have to travel any further than outside your own front door to have a wonderful experience. This morning in Sheffield, I woke to snow falling and settling on the ground, pure, white, and just waiting for footprints to be crunched through it. So armed with my camera, I pulled on my boots and headed out into a winter wonderland. What is it about snow that is so magical? I think it’s the quiet. Snow falls silently, muffles the noises of city life, and keeps cars from roaring down the roads. The pedestrians out and about were concentrating on placing one foot in front of the other without skidding down the hill. The only sound was the creaking and crunching of the snow beneath my boots. By the time I reached Weston Park, the snow was increasingly blizzard-like, whipped about by the wind, and covering me head to toe. It was a whiteout, the snow carpeting the landscape. Taking photos was near-impossible; the lens was covered in fat flakes the moment it was exposed to the elements. But it created a lot of fun effects, leading to some abstract, ethereal pictures. I made my way towards the university, treading carefully until I reached the shelter of the concourse, and yet another moment of snow magic was revealed. From beneath the heavy, concrete bridge, the blizzard was kept at a safe distance, appearing like a snow globe all around me. The Student Union building, with its colour-changing lights and sharp, angular architecture, appeared like a mirage beyond the veil of white. Down in the centre of Sheffield, the...

In Scotland, I’m Home: Musings on Edinburgh

As the train pulls out of Berwick-Upon-Tweed and we speed towards the border, my excitement grows. Almost there. The thoughts running through my head take on a Scottish accent. The sun is shining – of course it is. The sun always shines in Scotland. At least, according to family legend, it always shines on women of the Kinloch clan. The men, especially the English ones who’ve married in, only get rain. So we leave them behind when we come. Edinburgh comes into view, and my heart leaps. The smile, which has been inanely on my face since Dunbar, grows even wider. I’m back where I belong. This gothic beauty, with all her refinement and finesse, may not be as cool and as edgy as Glasgow, but I adore her. I walk out of the station with the confidence and pride of someone who lives there. I swish past the tourists with their cameras and dazed expressions, feeling smug, until I catch sight of the Old Town skyline, the domes, the spires, the turrets of the castle, and I can’t help but whip out my phone to snap a picture. I have this very picture already, I remind myself, taken on a previous trip. But the light is different today. I’m sure I could live in Edinburgh for the rest of my life and still be unable to resist taking pictures from outside Waverley Station. Up into the Old Town, and onto the Royal Mile. The bagpipe player is playing the Flower of Scotland, competing with tinny strains of Scotland the Brave coming from the souvenir shop next door. It’s...

On Two Legs in the Peak District

Buffeted by a blustery wind, I took in the burnished autumnal hues of the Peak District. A frisson of warmth in the last few days had painted the countryside, and the pockets of trees splashed russet, gold and auburn among the green pastures of the hills. The picturesque village of Castleton, built in grey Derbyshire stone, was dappled with sunlight and shadows as clouds drifted across the sky. I couldn’t imagine a place I’d rather be on a crisp, sunny, November day than at the top of Mam Tor. Mam Tor means Mother Hill; she’s also known as Shivering Mountain. Apparently, the name’s due to some landslips that caused this peak to tremble, but it seems apt for different reasons when you reach the summit and the wind whips wildly around you. Whatever you call her, she’s a majestic feature of the Peak District, with the high, wild Dark Peak in one direction, and the undulating, limestone White Peak landscape in the other. When I moved back to Sheffield just over a month ago, one of the things I was most looking forward to was having the Peaks right on my doorstep. It’s one of the UK’s most beautiful natural areas, and its oldest National Park. I live on the edge of the city, and it takes just minutes to leave urbanity behind and find myself on the winding roads of the Peak District. But for the last few weeks, I’ve had problems with my legs, so I’ve barely left my everyday surroundings of home and university.  I’ve found walking difficult and driving painful, and I can feel my...

Friday Photo: Evening

The nights are drawing in and the clocks go back in the UK this weekend, so it is apt that the #FriFotos theme is Evening. As the days get shorter and shorter, and skies become overcast, you have to be quick to catch a beautiful sunset, but it’s worth it when you do. That ‘golden hour’ of dying light, which infuses any landscape, is understandably a photographer’s favourite, and at this particular moment of the year, for the briefest time, it’s just right to catch sunset-painted skies on the way home from work. This photo was not taken in the depths of the countryside – it was at London’s Hampstead Heath, with the view of the city just a few degrees to the right. On a perfectly-lit, autumnal evening, it really is a wonderful place to be. Where’s your favourite place to watch the sun go...
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