Striding Edge, Helvellyn Day Hike in Lake District

Striding Edge, Helvellyn

We landed in Heathrow, jetlagged and sweaty from an 11 hr flight from Beijing. We picked up our hired car and drove to central London. We became nostalgic as we passed familiar boroughs, black cabs and red double decker buses. London felt like a million years ago and I didn’t realise how much I missed it until I came back.

There really was no time for rest (or sentiment) as we picked up our friends, grabbed a Sainsbury’s meal deal (sandwich, chips and drink for £3) for dinner and drove 5 hours to the Lake District in North West England. It was the summer solstice and when we arrived at our accommodation around midnight, the sun had just dipped below the horizon. The next day we were to hike Striding Edge, which is the highest point of the Helvellyn mountain range.

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Driving through the land of fire and ice

I looked in the passenger side mirror and the distant scenery caught my attention. My partner and I continually drove up the windy and steep road until we finally found an area where we could stop off. I walked around to stretch my legs and discovered that the land was covered in a spongy moss. It had springiness and I could almost bounce up and down. As I was enjoying the bounciness and looking out upon the vastness of the landscape, I wondered whether I was the first person to have ever stepped on this exact spot. It’s incredible how isolated and untouched Iceland is.

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Reign of the Swiss Cottage terror

Swiss Cottage window sill

I have a fixation with windows – I find them very aesthetically pleasing. I seem to always photograph them, and it’s no wonder that when I was trying to find a photo of one of our first apartments in London, that this was what came up.

There was a time in our lives that we refer to as the Reign of the Swiss Cottage terror. It began when we first arrived in London. We were looking for rooms, more specifically house shares to save some money. We took up temporary accommodation for the first three weeks before we found an ad for a room at Regency Lodge – a block of apartments in a suburb called Swiss Cottage in central London.

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Sanctuary in a busy city

Ducks at Hyde Park London

Note: the above photo I took was at Hyde Park, not St James Park – I don’t think I’ve taken my camera to St James which is a shame.

I used to work in the heart of London, centred between the overcrowded and touristy Piccadilly Circus and Soho, London’s red light district.

Walking to and from work from the tube was always a laborious task of dodging tourists, men shouting deals for west end shows and half naked women luring you to enter the clubs.

Amidst all of the noise and hustle, I was able to find a sanctuary in the city – St James Park. Sure there were still many tourists but it was a much much quieter place. I would escape to St James Park every lunch time and sit on the bench and observe the ducks and people watch. Sometimes I would bring something to read, other times I would bring bread to feed the ducks.

More often than not, it was my favourite part of the day.

First time snow boarding at Le Deux Alpes, France

Le Deux Alpes France

I was having a conversation about snowboarding with a co-worker today and it reminded me of my first experience snowboarding. We went to Le Deux Alpes (at Grenoble, France) over the holiday period in December 2012. After checking in and collecting our gear, my friends thought it would be a good idea to take me to the top of the mountain and board all the way down – learning by doing. Unsurprisingly, it was horribly difficult for a first-timer and incredibly exhausting as I kept falling down. The days that followed resulted in more bruises and soreness but the feeling of getting off the chairlift/T-bar/travelator successfully and finally managing to get the S turn right is unsurpassed.

Photo: Taken at Le Deux Alpes near the slopes

Hampstead Heath, London

Summer's day, father and daughter fishing at Hampstead Heath

My favourite park in London is Hampstead Heath. It is a leafy park in north-west London and there are many ponds, swans and walking trails. I remember the first time I visited in 2011. It was a warm summer’s day and the park was filled with people scattered about the grass, having picnics, bike riding, swimming in the ponds and walking their dogs. I remember thinking that it was quite odd to be swimming in a pond but I guess that’s just the aussie mentality that I have since I have easy access to beaches.

As I walked through the park, I quickly snapped up this image of a father and daughter fishing at a pond. It reminded me of the times I used to go fishing with my dad up in Newcastle when I was a child. I used to hate the tedious two hour car ride up to Newcastle. To entertain myself, I pretended to shoot enemies behind the bushes that we drove past on the freeway.

Day trip to Brighton, UK

During the first few months of landing in England, I visited Brighton, a seaside town which is only about an hours train ride outside of London. A perfect destination for a summer day trip outside of London. I remember that I was in the best of moods that day as the weather was brilliant (quite rare for England) and I was happy as I got to go on a few rides on the pier. I love the thrill of rides – the anticipation, the rush and the excitement. I remember the lights and sounds of the arcade machines at the pier, the moist grass we laid upon in front of Brighton Pavilion and the fear as we ran across the pier to avoid the seagulls. It’s interesting how a few photos can conjure up vivid memories of the past.

Here are a few photos from my Brighton experience.

Brighton, UK

Do you remember experiencing something for the very first time? This was my first pebble beach. I remember when we arrived I was quite fascinated and kept snapping away. Living in Australia, I’m accustomed to sand beaches so pebbles seemed quite alien. As we walked across the beach, the pebbles became unpleasant and my fascination soon turned into annoyance. Regardless, I still find something quite beautiful and photogenic about pebble beaches.

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