Two seasons on the reservoir

Entwistle Reservoir in Lancashire is just a 30 minute train journey from Manchester. It’s a beauty spot that changes greatly with the seasons. Enjoy the photographs and read more below

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My first visit to Entwistle was on a chilly February morning. The area was cloaked in a ghostly blanket of fog while the reservoir’s levels were very healthy.

Fast forward to July and a summer heatwave with piercing blue skies. The waterways were noticably depleted and green blooms of algae were taking hold. It looked a very different place to the winter.

A walk to the magnificent Entwistle Viaduct on both visits was a real contrast. In winter it reflected perfectly in plump waters. By summer the scene was drought-ridden and tainted by algae.

No matter what the season is, Entwistle and the adjacent Wayoh reservoir is a popular place for walkers and their dogs, with the calm waterways and surrounding tranquil forests.

Back in the heat of July, I had to stop for a refreshing drink and hearty pub lunch at the Strawbury Duck before heading back to Manchester.

Entwistle Reservoir is a place I’d go back to for a good walk with my camera and to observe the changing seasons.

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Cromer: Norfolk’s seaside gem

Cromer is an English seaside town perched on the edge of the Norfolk coast. It’s traditional, picturesque and holds a lot of personal memories. Enjoy the photographs and read more below

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This was my first visit to Cromer in 25 years. I completed my initial stint as a fledgling newspaper reporter in the town. It was a time of new experiences, including a first significant relationship.

Cromer felt essentially unchanged, with its iconic pier at the centre of things. It was thronged with holidaymakers, relaxing with ice-creams and munching on freshly fried fish and chips.

Back in the late 1990s I wasn’t a habitual photographer, but this time was struck by the beauty of Cromer’s location. The wide stretch of coast that glimmered with gold at dusk, and the rows of candy-striped beach huts.

The town’s architecture is richly-coloured with turreted Victorian houses and full of the detail I maybe didn’t notice the first time around.

Cromer is a long way from Manchester and north-west England’s Irish sea coast but was worth the trip. Nostalgia and fresh eyes can often work hand in hand.

Have you gone back to a memorable place years later? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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Manchester on mobile

Earlier this year I admitted that I didn’t like using my smartphone to take photographs. That was a good starting point to try to make more use of my phone camera.

My Samsung A51 is classed as ‘affordable’, so its camera doesn’t have superpowers. But it slides into my pocket easily and has been coming on more trips, including daily walks around Manchester city centre.

I’ll admit that I’m getting used to it and the results are fuelling stories on my Instagram account. Editing is minimal and the content is good enough to last for 24 hours.

Everything is still shot in portrait and I spend a lot of time looking up at Manchester’s varied architecture. Despite this progress, my camera has its own life which I still value more.

How do you juggle your smartphone and conventional camera? Let me know in the comments below!

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Morecambe: Blue and white

When summer comes to the UK, you have to visit the coast. On a sunny day recently, I took a train from Manchester to Morecambe, a Lancashire seaside resort.

Have a look at the photographs, then read more below and let me know your impressions of Morecambe.

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The town sits on the edge of Morecambe Bay, a sweeping arm of the Irish Sea that stretches to neighbouring Cumbria.

This coastal setting is a pleasure to wander around – even when the sunshine is accompanied by a brisk, chilly breeze! I also explored the town’s West End area, where some of the buildings could use a little tender loving care.

But my favourite piece of architecture by far is the Midland Hotel, an Art Deco gem opened in 1933 and reopened in 2008. Curvy, elegant and whitewashed, it’s hard to ignore.

The standout Midland, along with fluffy clouds peppering a blue sky, seemed to be inescapably attractive that day.

Do you ever come home with a set of photographs where there is a distinct colour scheme?

The gleaming white Art Deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe against a blue sky

The Midland Hotel gleaming against a blue sky

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Manchester’s new sky garden

Take a railway viaduct that’s stood dormant for decades and turn it into a brand new green space. Does that sound like a good idea?

Well it’s happened here in Manchester, right in the heart of my neighbourhood of Castlefield. This elevated platform has been turned into a space for all to enjoy. 

Take a look at the images and I’ll tell you more below. Please share your thoughts!

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Castlefield Viaduct was built in 1892 to carry rail traffic to and from the mighty industrial city of Manchester and was eventually closed in 1969. Fast forward to 2022 and this lofty structure has been given a new lease of life with a smooth pavement to carry many pairs of feet.

Elegant gardens featuring a wealth of plants line the walkway – even silver birch trees nestle among the weathered might of the viaduct.

It’s a pleasure to explore the gardens with the expert input of National Trust guides, an organisation more associated with country estates than the heart of the city.

But as a local who’s been observing and photographing the local skyline for six years, I was really struck by the fresh perspective the viaduct provides. New high rise developments like Deansgate Square wrestle with the framework of the structure, and you really sense how old and new Manchester sit together.

The ‘sky garden’ is being piloted for a year and visitors are being asked which direction this slice of nature in the city should take in the future. For starters, there’s another stretch that’s yet to be reclaimed – the possibilities are many!

Visits to the Castlefield Viaduct can be pre-booked here.

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