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Celebrating the bicentennial of Stoodley Pike monument

A gathering to celebrate the bicentennial of Stoodley Pike monument, on the highest part of Langfield Common, overlooking Todmorden. The original monument was inspired by the Treaty of Paris in 1814, and as such it (or at least the stone monument which now stands in its place) is listed as one of the oldest towers in the world dedicated to peace. You can view one of my previous panoramas from the monument, during the lighting of a beacon for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, here.

This celebration included music from Todmorden Community Brass Band and the Handmade Samba band; giant puppets from Thingumajig, and a mayoral speech. There was a great party atmosphere, and the weather was uncharacteristically sunny. The celebration was especially apposite for Anglo-French relations because, as well as the monument standing testament to almost two centuries of peace between Britain and France, the party included a gathering of visitors from Todmorden’s twin town, Ronq in France; and all this occurs in the same year as the world’s most famous cycle race comes to Yorkshire, with the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014. Vive l’entente cordiale!

The finale of the celebration was the release of two hundred homing pigeons from the parapet of the monument… this panorama captures the moment they flew away into the distance over the crowd.

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The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee beacon on Stoodley Pike near Todmorden

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser. Select the icon on the beacon itself to toggle between a lit and unlit scene. Enjoy the view!

It’s been an especially long weekend in the UK, with two extra days holiday to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and it seems as if most of the country’s taken it to heart as an excuse for an extended party. Me too, but the crowning glory for me was seeing our local Jubilee beacon lit at dusk on the hills above Todmorden.

I only found out by chance on the day that the nearest Jubilee beacon would be at Stoodley Pike, a favourite vantage point overlooking the Calder Valley. As I read the details a couple of hours before it was due to be lit, there was a slight drizzle outside, so I was unsure if I’d be rewarded with a spectacular view if I climbed up to the monument.

However by 8pm the evening sun was glorious – a perfect example of the photographer’s golden hour  – and I decided it’d be well worth a drive and climb to capture a couple of my 360° panoramas as the beacon was set alight. I’d already had a busy day in Todmorden, photographing the Pollination Parade, and thought it’d be perfect to round everything with a bit of exercise and a stunning view over the South Pennines.

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Meet the meat… Porcus open farm day

I recently attended a ‘Food Inspirers’ open day at the Porcus farm, a wonderful sixteenth century barn on the moors high about Todmorden, as part a range of activities by Incredible Edible Todmorden. We watched (and tried our hand at) sausages being made, playful porkers frolicking in their free range pens, listened to the importance of proper porcine welfare, and heard about the occasional escaped pig.

It was a great opportunity to meet like-minded people, and it certainly helped to engage the visitors and give them an idea of life on an ethically-run free range farm. Most people also left with some of the great bacon, sausages and pork on sale, inspired and enthused after seeing how much care and consideration goes into these pig’s lives.

You can read much more about the day in a great write up on Culture Vulture, and you can view 360° panoramas of the group, and Dan from Porcus making sausages by clicking the links below…

SJ from Porcus discussing the welfare (and taste) of their free range pigs

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Panoramic view of Dan from Porcus making sausages from their rare breed pork

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser

Sunset, snow… and the ‘Rude Stone’

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I only found out about this old stone cross last year when I was researching for another project. It stands on the hills between Todmorden and Cliviger, near the Lancashire/Yorkshire border. There’s some debate about how old Mount Cross actually is, with locals suggesting it may originally date from the 7th century, although other estimates date it from the 11th or 12th century. Either way, it’s the most ancient religious monument in the area, and may have stood weatherbeaten and resolute looking down the valley for close to a millenium. Pre-Schism, pre-enclosure, pre-industrial – there were still wild boar and wolves around back then – I imagine even in those days the silhouette of this priapic religious feature may’ve raised a smile or two, earning it the nickname of the ‘Rude Stone’.

Click or tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser

Since shooting the video below (a short HDR timelapse of the sun setting here last year) I’ve harboured the desire to get back and capture a really stunning sky. One late Saturday afternoon, as the sun set quicker than the temperature, I grabbed a couple of DSLRs and set off up the hill. First I shot some bracketed stills, then, just as the sun dropped over the hills, captured this HDR 360° panorama.

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England’s highest beach

Two spring evenings at Gaddings Dam, on Langfield Moor above Todmorden. I’d previously shot a couple of panoramas up here in worse weather, but warmer spring evenings have been tempting me out to enjoy the hills again recently.

This expanse of water reflects the great bowl of the sky above, and these photos capture those hazy ephemeral moments as the sun drops out of sight towards the Irish Sea in the west on two evenings. Pity it doesn’t capture the sounds of curlews and other birds breaking the silence. Gaddings Beach, or Tod beach as it’s also affectionately refered to, is sometimes called ‘England’s highest beach’ and is a great spot for enjoying the summer sun, far from the madding crowds of the valley.

HTML5 version

Click the icons above to view a fullscreen 360° view of the scene with Flash (for desktop) or HTML5 (for mobile). You can also view the location in Google Earth. Happy viewing!

HTML5 version

Click the icons above to view a fullscreen 360° view of the scene with Flash (for desktop) or HTML5 (for mobile). You can also view the location in Google Earth. Happy viewing!