Updated: Dec 9, 2018
No one enjoys forward planning more than Lucy, and looking ahead to our third wedding anniversary which happens to be in this very month of October she looked for something rather unique to mark it. And in huge apt fashion she found just that unique experience and one very much in keeping with our love of the north.
Gill Haves of Unfurl photography has come up with something rather wonderful. From a background in hospitality, education and the creative arts, Gill has teamed this with her fabulous photographic skills and passion for the North East of England. What attracted ourselves to Gill was that passion for the region that lives and breathes throughout her portfolio. From the outset we were instantly drawn to her fabulously sounding adventure photography sessions. There are various packages to chose from and we selected the “Mini Adventure” and if there’s nothing we like more it’s an adventure!!
So on a very atmospheric skied Autumn Monday morning, and suitably dressed for the great outdoors (well footwear anyway), we set off on the train from Newcastle Central station along the Tyne Valley to Haltwhistle where Gill would pick us up at the station. The journey along the Tyne Valley is always one of our favourites, the beautiful scenery and lovely stations all maintained with such pride. We were very excited as this was a lovely escape for a Monday morning whilst everyone else was at work.
And so we arrived in Haltwhistle and there was Gill to take us on our adventure. After a short drive along the Military Road we duly arrived at our starting point at the Steel Rigg car park just up from the fabulous new Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre. Out we got and Gill has a rather wonderful looking piece of apparatus for carrying her photography enquipment upon her. There before us was the magnificent sight of Steel Rigg and the remains of Hadrian’s Wall.
As soon as we were on our way it became obvious why Gill is the perfect guide for this kind of experience. Using her experience of tourism, Nordic Walking instruction and that passion for the North East she takes you back into history and how Steel Rigg was formed and pointing your gaze towards the magnificent landmarks around you. As we ascended the rocky steps we both where just in awe of our surroundings and it was just wonderful to be doing this on a Monday morning. You become immersed in the adventure along the wall and Gill takes advantage of the rocky landscape to obtain some amazing shots. In bracing wind we abandoned our coats and Gill had some great tricks to get you to totally lose yourself in the moment and be at one with each other in such breathtaking surroundings.
Coats back on we headed onwards and encountered an American couple doing a tour of Britain who weren’t quite expecting to see a couple from Whitley Bay enjoying a photo shoot!! Gill’s enthusiasm to get to know you creates a real bond and we very much felt like kindred spirits with our mutual love of the North. We descended the dips in the Cragg and back up again and found ourselves ready to head down to face a sight so familiar to us in many of the pieces of work our wonderful artists create, Sycamore Gap. Approaching it down the stone steps you gradually start to see the magic with it’s perfect position within the basin where the remains of Hadrian’s Wall curves with the contours of the landscape. Once you reach the bottom of the basin and move back into the valley you find yourself in total awe at the image before you. That is the shot we all know and so love. Gill is the perfect companion to have with you to enjoy the moment and we learnt so much about this iconic tree and it’s history that we never knew before. We couldn’t have wished for a more magnificent backdrop for our photo shoot and Paul gentlemanly used his scarf to assist in in helping Lucy down from our standing positions.
We started our return journey and felt so relaxed and privileged to be out in such glorious scenery. With some final shots to be taken our mini adventure was nearly over and after a couple of hours Gill has taken some amazing photos capturing the bond between ourselves and the beauty of Hadrian’s Wall country. We had only been out a morning but we truly felt that we had been on an adventure and learnt so much of our regions history. We had a hearty appetite so headed down to the Sill for a lovely lunch to round off our adventure.
If you love the North East and want to immerse yourself in it with the very best of hosts then this is certainly an experience to embrace and the beauty is having those wonderful photographs Gill has taken to remember the experience forever. Thank you Gill you have something very special here.
Just for info - we paid for our own mini adventure and as ever all our thoughts are our own. Gill's photos are rather fab and unfortunately for the format of this blog we've had to crop some of the images (sorry Gill) but seeing them full is rather wonderful.