Autumn is in the air

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Well, wether we want it or not, the autumn is slowly making it’s approach, I do smell the difference in the air and it feels more fresh (sort of). Spending as much time in the outdoors as I do, you notice the changes even if they are very small. I can sense a slight change, and to be quite honest I do like the Autumn. However, having said that, I ain’t so fond of the rain, but if it stays reasonably dry it is very nice.

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As an illustrator coming to the month of August, I usually get into my Christmas/winter mode, and all sorts of images are playing in my head. I am sharing a few ‘warm ups’ I’ve been working on in the past few days. Even though I am busy being out in the mountains and hills, I try to find time to do some art in between depending on the inspiration and mojo.

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This picture was taken at the zig-zags above the miners village in Glendalough, we were hiking up towards the Camaderry mountain to have our bivvy night (sleeping out in the mountains). I am fortunate living near the mountains and get out doing things like this regularly. We came across a few dears that were observing us curiously, probably wondering what we were doing there, at their turf.

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We come across these fella’s quite often during our walks and at times being out practicing night navigation, they stay in the distance just observing and then we can only hear them. They have a very destingtive sound.

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In the early morning on Saturday, we had to get up early because the mist was coming in around us and we had to head down towards our base. In the mountains the weather can change extremely fast from one minute to the other basically. And you have to be prepared for it, and most importantly knowing where you are. We chose to follow the path all the way down to Glendalough village, but if you don’t have a track to follow your navigation skills are important, and knowing how to use a map and compass.

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Well, we finally arrived at our base beside the old Monastery village where this round tower is located. Shortly after this picture was taken, our day should turn out to be a very busy one, helping other walkers/cyclists/mountaineers in need.

The mountains are calling and I must go!‘  – John Muir

 

 

Summer travels part 3

On Thursday morning we started our long journey from Oslo over to Stavanger. It is somewhat 485km, so we better start driving. We got off to a good start with nice motorways and fine roads. I was the designated driver for the day, so that himself could relax and have a look around at the landscape and other things that we were driving by. One thing that we noticed is, that there is a lot of tunnels in Norway. Why you may wonder, and the reason is that there are quite a lot of hills and rocky mountains. And rather than driving up and down these hills/mountains, they have built tunnels that goes through instead. The first 250 km or so went smooth, but then when we were getting closer to Kristiansand, there were roadworks (of course), and the traffic slowed down to 50-60 km/h. So, that made our travel time a little bit longer, that Google maps hadn’t taking in to consideration giving the total travel time LOL!

We were driving quite a long time before we came onto better roads again. But, the speed limit was pendling between 50 to 80 km/h due to very bendy roads and at some places narrow. And the tunnels!!! Gosh, I completely lost counting of them all. Beside me himself were doing a lot of oh’s and ah’s and snapping like mad with his camera. The truth is that driving through Norway has that effect on you. Because no matter where you go, there’s always something spectacular showing up. You can drive through a tunnel, and when you come out on the other side you are greeted by a view that simply take your breath away. I have said it many times, and will say it again – Norway is one of my favourite countries, the landscape is fabulous! With all the hills, mountains and the fjords!! Absolutely AWESOME!

Anyway, when we had been driving for a good while and still had some two hours left til our destination Stavanger. This view came into play, we simply had to stop to take some snap, I did not care about the driving time. At this stage we had been on the roads for some 7 hours. But close to 9PM we finally arrived to our destination and the hotel we would be staying at for some nights.

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Stavanger is the capital of oil and is located on the south west coast of Norway. It is a typical harbour town, with beautiful buildings as you see in this photo. And, most of the houses were made in wood and the design was very interesting. I can say that I fell in love with this town, and it is here all the seriously gorgeous fjords starts. On our second day we went out on a boat trip up to Lysefjorden which was an hour away by boat. Lysefjorden is 42 km long but we would only travel 15 km in.

Norway is a big Viking country, many viking kings were from here and lived here. And you can get the idea when looking at the pictures above, there is a lot of water and those high cliffs are just amazing. All along the fjord the cliff raised some 1000m, it was absolutely fantastic. The landscape is very dramatic, and if you look into the horizon, there are layers upon layers of mountains, and they sort of differ in colour. From being darker in the foreground, and becoming more shady/smokey as further you see. The boat took us all into the cliff walls, and they played (at a few places) beautiful music by Edvard Grieg, he has written some beautiful classical music. And the music made the places even more dramatic, and there was an echo going around the high walls.

We made an interesting visit to some friends that were standing at the shore waiting for us, there were a few goats being at the green hills that were close to the water. We drove all the way in to say hello, and the crew threw some carrots to them which they happily accepted. The boat took us some 15 km in the fjord itself until we reached a waterfall that were cascading water out from the cliffs and the sound was defening but so beautiful. The boat drove us all the way into it, and it was just aaaaaa….so beautiful! We eventually arrived back into the harbour again to continue our sightseeing through the town.

One thing though, in Norway everything is ferosiously expensive, but it was worth it.  In my next post I will write about our journey back to the east coast again, it was the journey of our lives, so stay tuned…!

~A happy traveller~

 

The wild Mountains

Recently I have been out on a challenging walk through rougher terrains of the Wicklow mountains. A few of us were out doing a walk. We walked a part which took us over very rough terrain, with wet grounds, rough bog areas and mist. I knew from the start that this would be a long day’s walk, and prepared myself by starting out eating a good breakfast. Packing my provisions I would need during the day, to refill your energy depots are extremely important while doing the hill walks. I always carry raisins/sultanas, chocolate and snack bars in my “food bag” along with some lunch which usually is wraps that I prepare before heading out.

To chose the right gear is essential, and always be prepared for the worst, anything can happen while your out there. It can be nice weather when you start walking, but it can change very quickly once you get up a bit higher. The air gets cooler and you are facing stronger winds and many times mist/fog which makes the visibility limited. And this particular morning it started out pretty good on the lower grounds, but once we started to get up a bit higher we were facing the mist and cold air. The climb up towards Art’s Cross was the toughest part, because it was quite steep and you had to take it very slow and easy while climbing up. The ground was extremely wet and mucky, so it was quite slippery.

This day we were walking some 17 km and it took us in total seven hours.

When we were out on the flat area working our way back, we came across a pack of deer, there is a lot of them around the mountains. Luckily for us, that the fog had lifted otherwise we would not be able to have such clear sight as we had here. The deer’s were gorgeous as you can see in these photos. We stopped and were quiet not to disturb them too much, they eventually ran off  and we could continue our journey over the bog.

So you can see from these photos, that the grounds we were walking were not even, you had to be really careful and look where you put your feet. My advise is to always wear a good pair of boots with good ankle support, to help you feel more comfortable. And gaiters is always good to wear to prevent muck and wet get into your shoes and it also keeps the lower part of your trousers clean. I made a few jumps over the bog where I landed with one foot, and I could hear a ‘swomp’ and my foot went down a few inches in the muck. This happened a few times on this walk, but thanks to my good choice of gear my feet were warm and dry when I got home as well as my lower legs. However there were a few times I had to make a bum slide to be able to get down from a high sloop where it was wee too high to make a jump. But that comes with the work as they say.

Here are a few more picture, that will give you an idea of the area we walked. The views are always spectacular, even on a grayish day like this.

I have been resting for a few days this week and will be heading out on the hills again on Saturday, to a different part of Wicklow Mountains. This time we will walk down in the Glenmalure area which is south west from Glendalough.

I will be back with more updates next week. It is getting closer to Christmas and hope that you are all prepared to enjoy this holiday season.

Spring is an inspirational time…!

Hi All,

Well it has been a while since my last post, and it’s time for a little update.

I went on a little trip to Gothenburg, Sweden for a couple days and it was really nice. It’s funny though how when you get back to your ‘home’ place you know exactly where to go. I know where to go have a nice cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun a la mega.

IMG_0349But this time I found a very nice French coffee place and they had gorgeous pastries but I was there to get my good ol’ cinnamon bun lol! I enjoyed sitting here on Saturday morning, outside, just admiring the surroundings and watching people walking by.

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But my favourite spot in Gothenburg is to walk down to the Guest Marina, and just sit down watching the boats, smelling the sea and listening to the seagulls screaming.

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Passenger boat from the outer islands approaching ‘Lilla Bommen’ Guest marina, Gothenburg.

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Guest Marina ‘Lilla Bommen’, Gothenburg

During my three days there I collected some renewed inspiration which I have implemented in my latest illustrations.

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Work in progress – Seagull sitting on a pole Derwent Inktense pencils.

I am going to add some blueish background to this one as well to give it more depth.

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Graphite drawing in progress, this is a picture of my grandson and his daddy.

I love bringing out the graphite pencils every now and again and working on some different drawings, like this portrait picture for example. It’s a picture of my grandson and his daddy.

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Well, this was what I had for the moment, I will be back next week with more updates.

Have a lovely week!