When I was thinking about #mybestshots I realised that for me, my ‘best’ shots are about memories and moments. Sometimes it’s a place: the light streaming through the trees at Tentsmuir, or the pink-tinged skies of a sunset at Yellowcraig or Ravensheugh. Sometimes it’s a specific moment; a walk where I can remember the sense of peace and freedom, even though it was a few years ago.
But then sometimes it’s a building, or the way buildings interact either with the landscape or each other. Or a specific detail, like the window in the previous photo from a visit to Belsay Hall in October 2016, with those wonderful shutters. I’d intended to choose twenty photos with the story behind each, but…. well, that plan didn’t quite work out, as you can see by the length of this story. So these are some photos and places leading up to the end of 2018, as I also wanted to rewind a little with this story - plus, I shared a ‘best of 2019’ story here.
This was our first trip to Belsay Hall in Northumberland in October 2016 and it’s one of my favourite places. If you enjoy architectural details, this early 19th century house is fascinating. I loved this fireplace (also on the cover) with its original Delft tiles, and then in the next photo, the former library used as an exhibition space.
Belsay Hall was built from the rock carved from the Quarry Garden, and this is one of the most unusual gardens I’ve seen. There’s just something about the scale of this place as you weave between these looming rock faces. The garden has its own microclimate and you can feel the humidity shift as soon as you arrive.
Cragside, also in Northumberland, and again this was our first visit in September 2016. I loved this moment when we came to an old thatched boathouse - a boathouse without a pond, as the water that was once here has been drained, so I didn’t expect to walk inside and find this boat.
I remember this so vividly. It was July 6 2018, a Friday evening, and we’d driven down the coast to have a picnic at John Muir and watch the sun set. The light was glorious. Just one of those moments where you feel so grateful to be experiencing it together. And Harris loved paddling.
Richard took this next photo, so it’s not one of ‘my’ best shots, but it’s one of my favourite moments and photos with Harris. It was June 21 2018, the summer solstice. We always want to mark the solstice so we’d driven to Gullane beach to watch the sun set over the sea. I scooped Harris up for a cuddle, the warm light glowing on his fur.
June 9 2015, and our second visit to Hidcote in Cotswolds, with its incredible Arts and Crafts-inspired garden. I loved this place. Just… magical. So many special moments. A must-visit if you’re in the area.
June 27 2010, shot on Richard’s old compact camera, and a visit to Little Sparta in the Pentlands - a garden that is described as Ian Hamilton Finlay’s greatest work of art. And this moment, in a wooded area, when we happened across this gilded head of Apollo.