Spurn Point Photowalk With Karl Holtby

Spurn point is one of those places we’ve always loved, but rarely had any luck with the weather when we’ve been down there. It always seems like someone turns the lights out when we arrive and it’s traditionally been as dull as dishwater. We haven’t actually been to Spurn for several years, though we did have a visit planned just before the storms overwhelmed the causeway in early 3013, so seeing that Karl Holtby was organising a photowalk in conjunction with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust was just the excuse I needed.

We arrived at the meeting point on what proved to be a bright, blustery, changeable day and all clambered aboard the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Unimog truck to transport us the 3 miles down to Spurn Head. The tidal surge in early 2013 has completely destroyed the road for about a mile, so it’s a case of walking, or take the truck to get to the end. I was keen to have a chance to take some photos of Spurn, but my main reason for going on this walk, was to assess the practicality of getting to the end of the spit for future visits. Walking over 3 miles on soft sand to shoot a dawn would mean an awfully early start!

800-1-10747-ROnce down to Spurn Head, Karl had organised an office as a nice cosy base, allowing us all to get a coffee and a warm up whilst he gave a short presentation. This was followed by a walk to the newly refurbished lighthouse, where we were allowed to go up to the light room at the top. I can highly recommend anyone trying this trip, as the view is well worth the £4 the Trust charges. The light room gave us some fantastic panoramic views of the spit in what proved to be some lovely light.800-1-10784-R800-1-10762-RBOnce we’d all finished in the lighthouse, we adjourned back to the Trust’s office to have our packed lunches, before venturing out into the wind again. Karl took the bulk of the party off to give them some tuition while the more experienced of us were left to wander off and do our own thing. I wanted to reprise my infra-red image from 2006, but was immediately sand blasted by the wind, so I adjourned into the dunes to seek some shelter.

90-1424-RThe big trouble with locations such as this is you’re like a child in a sweet shop, you’re spoilt for choice of where to go and what to shoot. The other problem with the location is that you are tied by the tides. If you can get in, then inevitably you are going to have a low tide and I had a few images in mind that need some water. By now time was knocking on and the tide was receding ever further out, so I headed for the tide line. Shooting long exposures in a howling gale was never going to be easy, but I set my tripod low and used myself as a windbreak.

800-1-10806-RBpsdWith a couple of shots in the bag and it was time to go walk about again. Time was ticking away and I still had masses of ideas I wanted to try, but the high wind precluded a walk round the headland, so I headed back to the office for a change to the infra-red camera. With the marram grass and big skies, this was infra-red heaven, then all to soon our time was nearly over and I joined the rest of the weary group to wait for the truck for our return ride. I have to say that after several hours up and down the dunes, the thought of walking back 3 miles over soft sand had little appeal!

90-1423-R90-1421-RAs we drove back along the sand, loads of great photo locations came into view and the light was getting really lovely by the time we got back to the car park. I’d really like to thank Karl Holtby and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust for organising this photowalk, as it was a great day out. This is a wonderful location, with lots of photo opportunities, so Janet and I will definitely be back again very soon. For anyone considering going to Spurn, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust runs the truck 3 times a day on selected days throughout the season, so have a look on their website for dates and times. You’ll not be disappointed and I’m sure they’ll be glad of your custom. 800-1-10829-R

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