A few of my favourite things…

Turning the page over on the calendar this morning set me thinking about some of the experiences that I’d had over the years…

Such as;

Seeing the Northern Lights

Not once, but three times. The first two occasions were right here in the UK – the first was whilst walking back to my digs in Aviemore after a gig at the Aviemore Centre and the second was whilst driving down the A!M near Washington Services after  another gig in Newcastle by the same artist (former Marillion frontman Fish) a few months later.

The third time was the killer one though – over a stave church in Lillehammer in the middle of winter. Sublime…

Looking down over Bergen after dark

Caroline and I were in Bergen for a few days and as we’d bought a 24 hour Bergen Card, we went up the Floibanen funicular railway after dark. The view over the city was fantastic and if we were minded to get hitched, that would have been the place for me to get down on bended knee…

An early morning dip at Geysir

Had been staying in a bunk room at Geysir in Iceland and it had a geothermal swimming pool. Plan was to get up at first light, do a few lengths and then have breakfast before venturing out to get our shots of Strokkur firing up into the air before the tour buses arrived.

Plan was fully implemented, but as the air temperature was below freezing, the run back indoors after the swim was a rather rapid one.

The shots of Stokkur the geyser going off were stunning – the lighting was perfect and the colours were stunning. Just a shame that I don’t have the pics any more. Time for a return journey in the next couple of years methinks…

Having a whole Lake District valley to myself

Imagine a sunny day in the middle of May. The route was to walk from Ambleside to Scandale Pass and then over to Brotherswater Inn then back up Kirkstone Pass and then drop back down to Ambleside. When I got to the col and started to head towards Brotherswater, I realised that I’d left the crowds behind. Nobody behind me, nobody in front of me and I had the whole valley to myself.

A day on a tall ship

The current calendar in the kitchen at Wisepacking Towers is the 2014 RNLI Tall Ships calendar. The October plate highlights a ship that was spotted in the harbour at Kirkwall when Caroline and I were on the Orkneys about six years ago. As I drove down towards the campsite, I spotted the tall ship in the harbour and thought ‘No, it can’t be…”

It was. Statsraad Lehmkhul – a tall ship that once had a starring role in The Onedin Line television series and a ship that I was more used to seeing moored in Bergen harbour.  And it was £15 a head to go out on her the following day!

Caroline and I got the last two tickets for the trip and whilst she didn’t get out under full sail, it was a very fine and totally unexpected experience.

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About Keith Rickaby

Fiftysomething writer and occasional photographer who has worked in the tailoring trade and the outdoor/travel clothing, equipment and footwear game. Past lives include working as an outdoor instructor, managing three bands and doing PR work through an agency or my own contacts. Was a student in the mid-90s and whilst I'm originally from the North East, I'm now firmly based in't Yorkshire...
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