Cape Verde: Fogo

My memorable trip to the Cape Verde archipelago started in Santiago, the main and most populous island.

The next stop, Fogo, was a short 25-minute plane hop away, just enough time for water to be served to passengers.

This small isle is dominated by the cone of Pico de Fogo, an active volcano which last erupted in 2014. But is that all there is to see? READ MORE BELOW

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Fogo’s volcano is clearly a huge draw to visitors. Its surrounding lunar landscape, which I hiked around for hours, seems out of place on a small island.

It’s easy to trace lava tracks from previous eruptions, while the village of Portela still bears scars from 2014. It’s being rebuilt despite sitting in the volcano’s shadow.

But Fogo has more to offer, including its main town São Filipe which gently cascades down to a large beach of pitch black volcanic sand.

My base in São Filipe was Melissa’s Guest House with its small but perfectly formed infinity pool and a terrace with views down the hill to the unmissable blue church and across the ocean.

The town has a wonderful mix of colourful, sometimes tumbledown Cape Verdean architecture and has its own bustling produce market like every town across the archipelago.

Evening walks around the town are relaxed and inevitably lead to watching the sun set behind the neighbouring island of Brava before seeking solace in one of the bars or restaurants. I was totally charmed by this little island capital.

Other places well worth seeing in Fogo are an invigorating stretch of coastline around the town of Mosteiros and the arches and rocks at Ponta da Salina. Coffee and bananas grow in the lush uplands around Cutelo Alto – perfect for a sub-tropical stroll.

Fogo feels a world apart from bigger neighbour Santiago, while my next stop in Cape Verde would reveal another face of this small nation. Stay tuned!

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Cape Verde: Santiago

I finally ended three years without overseas travel with a trip to Cape Verde. This island nation sits in the Atlantic Ocean to the west of Senegal, Africa.

European holidaymakers are familiar with the islands of Sal and Boa Vista, which offer sunshine and relaxation in the depths of winter. But I decided to venture beyond the resorts.

I flew from Manchester to the capital city Praia via Lisbon in Portugal. So how was the island of Santiago, my first stop? It’s the biggest and most populous of Cape Verde, but does that always mean the best?… READ MORE BELOW

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My home in Santiago was a beachside area to the south of Praia, which sits on a lofty plateau. A picturesque lighthouse, seaside strolls and decent restaurants were close to the comfortable Hotel Oasis Atlantico Praiamar.

Cape Verde’s capital is the seat of government and bustles with life. But it doesn’t pack the punch of another city in the archipelago which I visited later on during my stay.

A road trip around Santiago reveals an island dripping with attractions, from its epic mountain interior to amazing views over the city of Assomada.

Cidade Velha, the former colonial capital of Cape Verde, boasts historical ruins and charming island architecture.

Pretty bays nestle in the north around Tarrafal and valleys lush with banana plantations stand out in these often arid, volcanic islands. 

Santiago was the first of four islands I visited on my trip and was a good introduction to Cape Verde beyond the sun lounger. Would its smaller neighbours make a bigger impression? You’ll have to wait and see!

The flag of Cape Verde flying above the capital city Praia

A very large Cape Verde flag flies over Praia

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Arctic Manchester

How’s the weather where you live today? January has been mostly grey, miserable and sodden here in Manchester.

But in December there was a prolonged blast of frozen weather with bone-bitingly chilly temperatures.

The city turned into a different place, with stellar light throwing out glossy blues, industrial plumes of steam and strong reflections in still waters.

I spent a day with photographer William Perugini on his first visit to Manchester. It was a very cold, productive day filled with Arctic magic.

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7 moments of 2022

2022 will soon be consigned to history. It was a year when Covid restrictions palpably melted away, although overseas travel remained elusive for me. 

But I visited many places closer to home in Manchester, and the photographs flowed. I’ve picked seven moments that made new memories – and revived old ones. A Happy New Year to you all!

What were your standout moments of 2022? Feel free to comment below.


In August I visited Norfolk in East Anglia, with an emotional stop in the market town of Wymondham, my home for much of the 1990s. The seaside town of Cromer – also with personal connections – was sun-kissed and photogenic.


Cromer pier in Norfolk at dusk


In 2022 I finally dealt with my distaste for smartphone photography, exploring Manchester gathering images for Instagram Stories. This included the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June and her sad passing three months later.


Floral tributes for Queen Elizabeth II in St Ann's Square, Manchester


In March, I went to the famous Lancashire seaside resort of Blackpool – and kept going. The nearby towns of Cleveleys and Fleetwood served up sea paths, giant seashells and even a touch of Brutalism.


Concrete seating on the beach at Cleveleys in Lancashire


The temperatures soared in summer, so what better time to visit RHS Bridgewater in Salford, a sumptuous public garden encompassing both the old and new. A great place to have just half-an-hour from Manchester city centre.


A bed of pink alium flowers at RHS Bridgewater in Salford


My break on the Yorkshire coast was a highlight of the year. Using only public transport, I visited four seaside gems and was largely blessed with glorious weather. Having visitor magnet Whitby to myself at daybreak was very special.


A colourful row of huts at Whitby beach in North Yorkshire


I discovered Entwistle Reservoir near Bolton on a fog-bound winter’s day, a place of water, forests and a magnificent railway viaduct. I went back at the height of our hot summer and found it very different – see for yourself.


Railway viaduct at Entwistle Reservoir on a foggy winter's day


This was my first trip to the West Yorkshire village of Howarth, made famous by the Brontë sisters and their literary classics including Wuthering Heights. An incredibly atmospheric graveyard and beautiful location made this a day out to remember.


A gravestone in the cemetery at Howarth in West Yorkshire

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Wirral at high tide

November in the UK can be dank and turgid. When a day of bright blue skies was forecast, I booked a train to the Wirral, one of my favourite coastal spots. Enjoy the photos and read more below

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West Kirby is the last stop on the Wirral shuttle from Liverpool. It boasts a large marine lake, islands in the estuary and acres of sky.

But this day was different from previous visits. The tide swell was unusually high, filling the Dee estuary next to the peninsula.

Nearby Caldy Beach was underwater so I took the cliff path and enjoyed the views and winter sunshine.

After I headed back to West Kirby, the pathway which rings the Marine Lake was resurfacing. But my walk resulted in a pair of wet shoes and sodden socks!

Since that day Manchester has been cloaked in a blanket of dense cloud and is feeling truly wintry. Maybe some cheery, warm Christmas lights will provide respite from the gloom.

Boats on the Dee Estuary between Wales and the Wirral peninsula

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