Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee: Lighting the Beacon

We came back up to the real north for the 4 day weekend of the Diamond Jubilee and had to pack quite a lot in. Starting with a birthday party on Saturday, followed by trips up the dale to Arkengarthdale one day, Hawes and Muker the next, the Wensleydale Creamery, a sunset/night walk down by the river in Richmond, watching the lighting of the beacon, the parade... the list is endless. In all likelihood I shall be writing the parade, Hawes and Muker all individual blog posts for themselves when time allows - so you can all look forward to them sometime soon.

Bank holiday Monday was probably the busiest day of the lot, and it was finished in quite memorable fashion with the beacon being lit above Richmond - and a large number of people made the walk up the hill to witness it (probably most of the people who hadn't already had too much to drink on the day on which the pubs of Richmond must make half of their yearly income).

We set off out at about 9pm, and at first seemed like the only ones going, until we got past the racecourse and onto the single track road that heads out towards Marske and Reeth where we found ourselves in quite a crowd of people all meandering up to the top of the hill. By 10pm, we had arrived and I took this quick panorama to show what it was like...
Arriving at the beacon

So we wandered to the top bit of the hill in amongst the people - hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever beacon was being lit to the north of us... unfortunately we didn't know where this was and didn't actually see it in the end. But it was now time for our beacon to be lit! 

Mayor, Stuart Parsons, lighting the beacon - obviously a lot of other people wanted to capture this moment too!
To the south, we could now see both Richmond Castle being lit (with a specially constructed beacon for the occasion) and 10 or so miles further on, the beacon at Penhill - above Wensleydale. I only had my 24-70mm lens on me this time, so no photo of that for you! (I don't think anyone would appreciate a grainy picture with a couple of orange pixels in the middle - as that's all I could get...)

Whilst all of this was going on - there was loud music in the form of the national anthem, Rule Britannia and other such patriotic stuff - all very rousing. Once some of the people started to make their way back down into town there was the chance to get a bit closer to the action - and the Mayor kindly posed wielding his fire stick for those of us still enduring the cold.

The Mayor posing for the cameras - or trying to put the flame out...
And finally, turning around to look at the remaining people gave quite a spectacular (if I do say so myself), dramatic shot - which I think was made absolutely perfect by the woman waving the flags - thank you that lady!..

This is my favourite shot of the day - I think it shows everything about the jubilee in one fell swoop - AND has dramatic lighting - perfect!
All that was left was the perilous walk back down the pitch black roads -  avoiding the late night tractors and terrifying dogs barking and growling at us in the woods.

Oh! And finally (again)- I absolutely love my 5D MkII. The very fact that I could take these shots, handheld, in such darkness is all down to that lovely new toy. Thank you camera!

That's it again for now, but I have plenty of other new photos coming very soon!

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