The last week of August had been a bit of a heavy one for me. My sister was due to get married in September, however the date of the wedding just so happened to clash with the day I was due to start lectures on a Masters in Coastal and Marine Management. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, go to the wedding, turn up a day late, sorted. That wasn’t exactly possible for me though. The Masters I had been accepted on to was in a small Icelandic backwater called Ísafjörður. Due to the logistics of getting out there, my sister very kindly moved her wedding. No biggy… or it sort of was, for which I am genuinely ever so grateful to have been able to be a part of one of the most important days of her life. Anyway, back to that last week of August. That was when she moved her wedding to, all so she could make sure her little brother could be there for the big day.
Well what a great summer it’s been! There’s been bombs, bees, washed up whales (but that one was a hoax) and lots and lots of tourists! No two days were ever the same whilst working down at Ynyslas NNR. I think it must be something engrained in to the human psyche where if you get to call working outdoors during one of the best summers in memory, it really doesn’t feel like a proper job. There was never such thing as an average day. Some days you’d find yourself out surveying rare reptiles, others you’ll be digging a hole to bury whatever cetacean decided to beach itself and die on that particular day, and then others you have to deal with the tourists. Oh so many tourists! You’ll always get the awkward ones, but I can honestly say that before this summer, I’ve never had the pleasure of working with such a fantastically diverse group of people of all ages and backgrounds, and there’s nothing more rewarding than the moment someone comes up to you after having given a talk with genuine excitement for the subject you’ve been talking about, and a desire to learn more.
Anyway, enough jibber jabber. Here’s a few shots from the summer. More to come.
My office for this summer is at Ynyslas National Nature Reserve working as a warden for Natural Resources Wales, and quite like last year, it’s hardly your average 9-5 job! Part of my job out on the reserve is to monitor the reptile populations due to an ongoing sand lizard re-introduction project throughout the UK. However, sand lizards seem to be about as elusive as rocking horse blood… or is it shit from a stone? Either way, they’re difficult to find and I’ve only caught a glimpse of one since working at Ynyslas. Part of the job also means photo-monitoring of whatever I see when I’m out and about so hopefully I’ll have plenty to show for it as the season goes on.
Recently I was asked to do some photography for David Williams-Ellis, a sculptor based between the Lake District and Porthmadog whose speciality lies in working with bronze, glass and silver. The following photos were of a commissioned piece he made this summer taken at Black Rock Sands near Porthmadog. More of his work can be found here.
This summer I’m lucky enough to be able to call myself the Ranger of Hafod y Llan camp site, part of the Hafod y Llan estate owned by the National Trust. The site is located in Nantgwynant right at the foot of the highest mountain in England and Wales, Snowdon. Whilst the weather in Wales isn’t renowned for being tan inducing, there were days when the sun was shining, the air was still and that Vit-D really got flowing!
I was recently very lucky to be accepted on to a habitat identification course run by Operation New World to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. During the week that we were out there I met some absolutely fantastic people and made some brilliant friends and whilst the course had it’s ups and downs, it really was worth it for the experience gained and friends made. Have some photos.
The view from Colderon Hondo
Luckily I’ve got a good friend that has the very enviable job of being head warden of Skomer Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire. With this being the case, if I’m in need of getting away from the main land for a while, Skomer proves to be the perfect retreat to have a change in pace of life. As I did last year, I’ve recently been back out their again around seal pupping to have a bit of a chill and live without the inconveniences that come with modern life. Unfortunately though, all good things come to an end but I definitely hope to head back out there soon. Here’s a few shots to make you go “Awww”.
For our final media project for the University of Cumbria myself, Lauren Dean and Ali Keech worked together to produce a series of videos to promote the various adventure sports available throughout the Lake District. This one was shot at Askham Fell, featuring Bex Tatham, filmed by Ali and myself and edit by Ali.