17th – 24th March
Northumberland is rightly famous as an area of outstanding scenery. It will provide us with innumerable opportunities during our six day photography workshop, and not just the famous views. It is an area that I have been visiting for over three decades, but one that I keep wanting to come back to!
Although it is now one of the least populated areas of England, Northumberland was once a place of great strategic and political importance; a scene of conflict for saints and bishops, kings and princes, Scots and Vikings. The legacy of this violent history remains, embodied in the stonework of a string of fortresses which dominate its long, eastern facing shore.
The coast is not generally one of high cliffs; instead the land meets the sea gently, in a series of sandy bays, broad beaches and extensive dune systems. The castles stand on the rare craggy outcrops, forming architectural focal points in a landscape of great openness and space. Each one is unique: Bamburgh is intact and probably the county’s most spectacular fortress, dominating the picturesque village of the same name; Dunstanburgh and Warkworth castles are ruins but this enhances rather than diminishes their photographic appeal.
We will be based at beautiful Brunton House, just ten minutes from the coast at Embleton. Here, giant dunes of apricot coloured sand, clothed in marram grass, form a barrier between sea and land. Below the stark remains of the Dunstanburgh Castle, black cannonball sized boulders fill the shoreline. These provide fascinating subjects in themselves, as well as spectacular foregrounds for one of England’s most atmospheric ruins.
A twenty minute drive north from our base lies the vast tidal flats of Budle Bay, another incomparable sunrise and sunset location. It's a wonderful wide open space with distant views of the castle at Holy Island and the Farne Islands - home to countless seabirds and made famous by Grace Darling's heroic rescue in an open row boat.
Holy Island, or Lindisfarne, is daily cut off from the mainland by the rising waters of the North Sea. We will follow in the footsteps of pilgrims, crossing the causeway to visit the remains of its beautiful Romanesque priory. Nearby is the picturesque Lindisfarne Castle and its attendant unusual and striking fisherman’s huts, constructed from upturned boats. There are also numerous opportunities for graphic studies of texture and form in the working harbour and amongst the traditional wooden fishing boats.
Northumberland enjoys a surprisingly fair climate. Prevailing westerly winds mean that the east coast lies in the rain-shadow of northern England’s Pennine hills, with superb dawn light not uncommon.
We will aim to capture the very best of the light and the resultant photographic opportunities. Weather permitting, we will be up in time to shoot dawn each day. As we will be there in March, the sun never gets very high in the sky and the light remains interesting throughout the day.
To further enhance the learning experience, some time will be dedicated each day to post-processing and critiquing of participants' images.
All transport during workshop
Full board accommodation
Photo tuition from David Ward
Transport to venue
£2,100 for single occupancy
£350 fee payable at time of booking