Monday 21 December 2015

Cambridge Bikers Christmas Toy Run 2015

It was back in December 2013 that the first revial run of the Cambridge Bikers Christmas Toy Run to Addenbrookes Hospital took place, and what an incredible event it was! Now in its third year, we joined the group of 23 Walden Bikers who met on The Common in Saffron Walden at 8am, on a beautifully mild December Sunday. Many riders took the opportunity to decorate their bikes and dress in seasonal style.

The convoy of Walden Bikers made their way along the M11, on route to joining the main group of bikers at La Pergola Restuarant, some way outside of the city.

Such was the scale of the event that ITV were there to cover the story.

A safety briefing was held, led by 'Chief Santa' Peter Vasey.
The numbers taking part had more than doubled since 2013, and five police motorcycle riders were to accompany the estimated 320+ motorbikes, riders and pillion riders, on the ride to Addenbrookes Hospital. 

During the ride in to the city, cars tooted their horns, families waved from windows and some were drawn outside (still in their pyjamas) by the rumble of this mass of motorbikes. Im sure it was an amazing thing to watch and I can say that it was just as amazing to be part of the event, knowing that the whole reason for it was to donate toys and gifts for the children who would be spending Christmas in hospital.

The generosity of the bikers was incredible. Several transport cages were filled to overflowing with everything from pyjamas to teddy bears...

...and to see the joy on the faces of these poorly children, it summed up the whole essence of Christmas.


Saturday 19 December 2015


      the chapter is almost at a close

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Marsh Pride Lions

I have to say that I was shocked and saddened this afternoon, to hear reports in the news that lions from the famed Marsh Pride in the Maasai Mara had been poisoned, with two confirmed dead as a result.

Jonathan Scott, zoologist, BBC presenter and author of a book about them said that they were popular with visitors because it was always possible to find them in the same place. However, of late, the pride had been pushed to the fringes by the Maasai needing to herd their cattle onto grazing land.

It was back in 2009 that I spent several amazing days in the Mara with Jonathan, staying with a group at Kicheche Camp and was able to observe this well known and well studied pride of lions, stars of BBC series Big Cat Diary.
I learnt it was possible to identify each individual from their whisker pattern and so it was easy for the lives of specific lions to be followed. One such popular lioness was Bibi, and sadly it appears she may have been one of the victims.

It seems that three men have now been charged with poisoning.
Reports are appearing online about the incident. It is a difficult one as grazing is in short supply and so when a lion attacks their cattle, they have every reason to be angry. However, to poison the animals is to poison the very thing that brings revenue to the region. As the lion population is falling, a careful balance must be struck between nature and natives.

It was with this news that I went back into my archives and pulled out a few shots from my time with the Marsh Pride. It is quite interesting to see how I look at shots I passed over back in 2006 and see them in a different light today, so do forgive me if I share a few with you now.


Friday 4 December 2015

Painting with Light - A Photo Walk

The big Christmas lights switch-on happened in our pretty little north Essex town of Saffron Walden last weekend,
so what better time to dust off the cameras to make the most of the seasonal light display?
Now how many times have I heard...
"But I dont seem to be able to get the colours right and they end up blurred!"

Well here is where I can help...


Do I need to say more? Only that there are just a couple of places remaining as I write and this will be the only walk I will be able to lead with the Christmas Lights as a feature - so get in there quickly!

But fear not if your calendar is already booked and you would like to come along on a photo walk, I will be leading more come the New Year, covering different topics. Kicking off on Sunday 20th (TBC) with a re-run of the popular 'composition' walk, first held in November. As before, tickets will be available soon from Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre and (hopefully) online. Otherwise, email me at to register your interest.

I do look forward to meeting my 'ambling photogs' on Sunday 13th!

Tuesday 1 December 2015

New Beginning...

The Milky Way over Lough Hyne

The cloud is finally clearing and it is the beginning of a new month, with new hopes, new dreams
...and a new future.
What better time to return to blogging - something I had enjoyed so much and so sadly, had got drawn away from.

My thanks to Y for encouraging me return.

This is MY Advent!