Holocaust Memorial Day

A service took place today at St Barnabas Church in Middlesbrough to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. The hour-long service brought together people from the local community and from all backgrounds and religious beliefs to mark the 70-year anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and also to remember the millions that were killed by the Nazi’s in all of the camps across Europe during World War Two.

One of the other themes of this and other events throughout the country was also to acknowledge and highlight the other genocides that have taken place such as those in Srebrenica in Bosnia, Darfur, Rwanda and Cambodia.


You who live secure
In your warm houses
Who return at evening to find
Hot food and friendly faces

Extract from…SHEMA by Primo Leiv



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The Labour shadow Justice Minister Dan Jarvis MP visited Dormanstown in Redcar earlier today. The visit comes on day eight of a nine day national tour ahead of Labour’s general election campaign and Mr Jarvis heard about the challenges of providing neighbourhood policing after government cuts to police funding and force numbers as well as chatting to some of the people from the area.

Along with Mr Jarvis was the Labour candidate for Redcar and Cleveland Anna Turley and the police and crime commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger.



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Feeding the Swaddles

Hill farmer Mark Rukin from Gatehouse Farm near Keld heads out on his quad bike to feed his stock of pure bred Swaledale sheep following a night of snow and freezing cold temperatures on the North Yorkshire Moors…


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Nice Light

Here’s a few pictures from over the last couple of days taken around Saltburn and South Gare…and the light was really working!



…and the picture above also made the Guardian Eyewitness…

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The Dancer

A dancer practices her dance moves on a freezing cold but beautiful start to the day on Saltburn beach in Cleveland…



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Sea Coal

Sea coal is collected from the beach at Saltburn by the Sea in Cleveland…



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Nowt to worry about

A bit of snow came to parts of North Yorkshire near Castleton overnight…but nowt to worry about.


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Boxing Day Dip

The annual Boxing Day Dip takes place at Redcar beach. The event brings hundreds of people to the beach to take a dip in the cold north sea and helps raise hundreds of pounds for various charities…


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The Year in Focus – 2014

So once again we’re heading towards that end of year time when many photographers roll out their ‘Year in Pictures‘ features showing some of their work from over the year. So it seems fitting that I post up some pictures from the range of work that I’ve shot this year. Some of it was shot during the occasional shift for The Northern Echo or in my capacity as a Stringer for Getty Images with other pictures going out as a Contributor to London News Pictures.

Some of these are from various news events and stories that you might be aware of and have seen – either locally or nationally – and others come from various features that I’ve shot during the year. Some come from personal projects or stories I have been working on for a period of time and are either finished or still ongoing whilst others are simply pictures that I shot because I just thought they looked nice!

Some were happy events whilst others not so much. Some might make you angry and others might may make you laugh but hopefully they reflect a varied and interesting year and hopefully next year will be just as interesting to photograph but in the meantime grab a brew (better still wine!) take a look below and check out some of the work from this last year and please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom if you so wish…


All the best for Christmas and the New Year and thanks for following my work throughout the year.





A sad start to begin this year as two fisherman die on board their fishing boat from carbon monoxide poisoning in Whitby

Fire at re-cycling plant

A large fire breaks out at a tyre re-cycling plant at Sherburn in Elmet in Yorkshire

Soldiers march through Doncaster

Soldiers from 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery parade through the streets of Doncaster as they are given the Freedom of the Town

Snow fall on the North York Moors

Heavy snow falls on the North York Moors near to Castleton


Jonathan Cairns from Newcastle heads up the slope to ski after heavy snowfall in the North Pennines

FBU Rally in Middlesbrough

Labour member for Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland Tom Blenkinsop speaks to Fire fighters during industrial action in Middlesbrough


  Visionary Surfboards at Sandsend, Yorkshire

Out and about in Saltburn

The new Bishop of Durham Paul Butler is enthroned at Durham cathedral

Aurora Borealis visible over Saltburn, Cleveland

The Aurora Borealis can be seen in Saltburn by the Sea, Cleveland

Dramatic skies over Huntcliff

Sunrise over Huntcliff in Saltburn, Cleveland

Early morning on Saltburn Beach

A lone horse rider on the beach at Saltburn

Middleham Gallops

Top flight racehorses take part in a snowy training session at Middleham Gallops in Wensleydale, Yorkshire

Surfers Against Sewage Saltburn Beach Clean

A dead bird of prey lies amongst rubbish that was collected from the beach at Saltburn in Cleveland during a Surfers Against Sewage beach clean event


Marske United keeper Robert Dean takes the ball hard in the face as he saves from a shot by John Butler from Bishop Auckland


William Hague attends an event near Richmond, North Yorkshire


Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owens feeds a newborn lamb

Great North Passion

Alexandra Burke performs during an event in South Shields


Whitby scooter rally


UKIP leader Nigel Farage during a party conference event in the north of England


Whitby Goth Weekend


Police search a property in North Shields in connection with the investigation into the disappearance of chef Claudia Lawrence


A motor-cycle stunt rider performs during a show in Yorkshire


Fishermen launch their boat at first light from the beach at Saltburn

Local and European elections in East Cleveland.

Local elections


Islay, Inner Hebrides, Scotland


Memorial event held on Saltburn beach to mark the World War One Christmas truce football match


Appleby Horse Fair


A welder in a factory in Cleveland


EDL members march through Middlesbrough

DSCF0187-2An anti-EDL rally is held in Middlesbrough on the sameday


The Tour de France peleton rides through Ilkley in Yorkshire on Stage 1 of the race


A unison member stands outside his place of work during industrial action in Middlesbrough

Durham Miners Gala

The Durham miners gala


Flowers mark the seat of MH17 air disaster victim John Alder at St James’s Park in Newcastle


Pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Middlesbrough


Sunderland Air Show


Country Show


A sheep takes shelter in a bus stop on the North Yorkshire Moors


A man on a mobility scooter rides along the edge of a reservoir in Yorkshire

Lancaster Bomber visits North of England

One of only two remaining flying Lancaster bombers is parked in a hangar at Durham Tees Valley airport


A youth jumps from a sea wall into the harbour at Beadnell Bay in Northumberland

Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in Selkirk, Scotland

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg campaigns for a ‘NO’ vote for Scottish Independence in Selkirk, Scotland

Stokesley Agricultural Show

Jack Harland stands with one of his cows at Danby Agricultural Show in Yorkshire

Angel of the North

A man walks at the foot of the Angel of the North


Stone balancing at Sandsend, North Yorkshire

Crathorne Hall Fire

Firefighters tackle a blaze at Crathorne Hall in North Yorkshire


A re-enactor poses for a picture during the Pickering War Weekend

Memorial beach fishing competition

Gary Hewitt from Eston poses for a picture during the annual Jim Maidens memorial beach fishing competition in Saltburn by the Sea in Cleveland.


A ship crashes through waves as it leaves Teesport


Gavin Woodward from Middlesbrough dresses as the reaper during the Whitby Goth weekend


Skinningrove fireworks and bonfire display

Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough

A young Army cadet stands next to a wall with names of soldiers killed during war at Middlesbrough War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday

Year_in_Focus_0053Employees from Boulby Potash mine look out over the firm’s Potash and Salt storage area at Teesport


Miner Steve Shaw stands under the green glow of a ‘safe haven’ room that offers emergency equipment and breathing apparatus in case of emergencies at the Boulby Potash mine

Year_in_Focus_0055Belgian Draught Horses Cindy (L) and Daisy are worked by their owners Marie and Paddy Pennock during a ploughing match near Staithes, North Yorkshire

DSCF0008AJudy Forsyth sits and watches over her husband Dave, a long-term Parkinson’s sufferer. Dave died a few days later.


The fishing boat ‘Senna’ is taken to the waters edge for launch at Saltburn beach, Cleveland

Year_in_Focus_0057The ‘Santa Special’ steam train from the North Yorks Moors Railway heads towards Levisham in North Yorkshire

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  Teesside weather

 A glowing red sunrise greets the day over Teesside



Industrial Teesside

Middleham_Gallops_0044jockeys and racehorses ride out at Middleham Gallops in Yorkshire under a snow shower

IFXT0025A heavy snow flurry is back lit by the sun in Swaledale in Yorkshire

North Yorks Moors Railway

A locomotive from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway steam down the track to Pickering after leaving the engine sheds at Grosmont

IFXT0023The Hartlepool Bombardment centenary


The Sankta Lucia Festival of Light choir perform at York Minster

IFXP0043Turkeys and other poultry are laid out on tables prior to the Christmas sales at York Auction Centre

0001A woman with a head-torch walks around Castlerigg Stone Circle in Cumbria on the evening of the Winter Solstice


Redcar Boxing Day Dip


William Carter (L), 11 from Keldholme has a snowball fight with his sister Eleanor, 9 on the North Yorkshire Moors near Castleton


Lifeboats from Redcar RNLI conduct training off the beach at Saltburn


Sea coal being collected from Saltburn beach


Jack Rothwell from Lancashire plays with his dog Barley on the beach at Saltburn by the Sea in Cleveland as dawn breaks on the last day of 2014




To see more of my work visit my website and blogs via the link…….. HERE

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth

No usage without arrangement

The Druid’s Circle

I spent much of Sunday afternoon and night and then through into Monday morning at the Castlerigg Stone Circle in Cumbria to photograph the Winter Solstice celebrations. Unfortunately however the weather conspired against those who may have visited and strong winds and driving rain was pretty much the order of the day. However a few hardy souls dropped by at last light so I was able to shoot a few pictures. Some of which are below…

The winter solstice, or ‘Alban Arthan‘ as it is known by Druids and Wiccans, and which is often celebrated as ‘Yule’ falls on December 21st and is an important turning point in the year as it marks the shortest day, when the hours of daylight are at their least. As dawn breaks on the morning of the 22nd the days then slowly begin to get longer, and the nights shorter. This transition has long been celebrated throughout history and around 50 people, intrigued and inspired by this ancient monument gather to mark the occasion at the standing stones of Castlerigg.

Known as ‘The Druid’s Circle‘ it sits in an amphitheatre overlooked by the magical fells of Skiddaw and Blencathra to the north and Castlerigg Fell and High Rigg to the south. The ring of stones sitting under the gaze of these majestic mountains dates back over 4,000 years to neolithic times and it is a popular meeting place for people from all over Britain who come to the remote and beautiful location to mark the arrival of both the Winter and the Summer solstices – apart from when the weather is atrocious…obviously.

There is a tradition saying that it is impossible to count the number of stones within Castlerigg as every attempt will result in a different answer. This tradition, however, may not be far from the truth. Due to erosion of the soil around the stones, caused by the large number of visitors to the monument throughout the year, several smaller stones have now ‘appeared’ next to some of the larger stones. Because these stones are so small, they are likely to have been packing stones used to support the larger stones when the circle was constructed and would originally have been buried. Differences in opinion as to the exact number of stones within Castlerigg are usually down to whether the observer counts these small packing stones, or not. Some count 38, some 40 and others 42. The official number of stones, as represented on the National Trust website for the monument however, is 38.


Anyway, here’s a few pictures from a wet and windy hillside in Cumbria…

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Next sale…


I visited the annual Poultry sales at York Auction Centre first thing this morning to shoot some pictures as they took delivery of the turkeys, geese and other poultry from various farmers and suppliers in the area who bring them in to be sold off at auction to butchers, wholesalers and other members of the public in the run up to Christmas…

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The Empty Chair

For anyone that might not be aware Parkinson’s Disease is a long-term neurological condition that affects the way the brain co-ordinates body movements including walking, talking and writing and it affects both men and women. It is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra. The nerve cells in this part of the brain are responsible for producing a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine acts as a messenger between the brain and the nervous system and helps control and co-ordinate body movements. If these nerve cells become damaged or die then the amount of dopamine in the brain is reduced. This means that the part of the brain that controls movement cannot work as well as it should and this in turn causes movements to become slow and abnormal. They can cause the sufferer to have a tremor or stiffness that makes it frustrating and eventually impossible to do everyday activities such as eating, smiling, getting dressed or driving.

Parkinson’s doesn’t just affect movement however. Other symptoms can result. These can include tiredness, pain, depression, constipation and weight loss and can all have a huge impact on the day-to-day lives of people with the condition and to make life even more challenging, people with Parkinson’s never know when the next bout of symptoms will hit. This makes being out in public and socialising a daunting experience and the subsequent stress and anxiety ultimately makes the condition worse.


The following photographs are of Dave Forsyth. He has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease for many years. He is also my father and he died earlier this month.


Over recent months his health had gradually and inevitably been deteriorating. Along with the endless tablets consumed daily and the inherent side effects that come with some of those tablets the disease itself was making things increasingly difficult. Not just for him but for both my parents. However if this medication wasn’t taken at the right time then the swift onset of the violent tremors that are a major effect of the disease quickly occurred and any periods of lucidity became mixed with confused ramblings and difficulties with carrying out even the most basic of activities.

A noticeable sign of his struggle with the tremors was the way he used to hold his right hand – the worst one for tremors – with his left hand or by keeping it in his pocket to try and keep the tremors from becoming too obvious although as the condition gradually became worse he stopped doing this as much. Irregular sleep patterns, frequent toilet needs, uncontrollable and violent tremors, lack of general mobility and balance and at times hallucinations and confusion caused by the medication were just some of the issues that had be dealt with each day and meant that it became a difficult task for my mother to ensure all the usual household needs were carried out whilst still maintaining care levels for my father. The demands of which were becoming greater each week.

After taking his medication there were times of great awareness from my father who could recall small details from years ago. At times his dry sense of humour was evident and he would occasionally look back fondly over his collection of Rupert the Bear annuals that he’d collected for years – although the reason for suddenly wondering off in the first place and returning with the annuals was unclear and must I imagine have had something to do with the effects of the disease or the medication. Occasionally he would visit the local pub to watch the football. He supported Newcastle and Arsenal! He attended a local day centre a couple of days days each week for a bit of a break and distraction – for both him and for my mother – on rare occasions he still enjoyed pottering in the garden and continued to try and do a few of the general household chores and requirements. But these were becoming less frequent.

As the condition became worse his speech suffered and became a slow quiet mumbling which made communicating with him difficult. There were plans initially for him to see a specialised speech therapist but this didn’t happen because his concentration span had deteriorated to such a degree that he would have struggled to get any benefit from it. He now suffered from Dementia. Over more recent months my mother had to put him into a care home for further ‘respite’ breaks. Each visit afforded them both but especially my mother whose own health was starting to suffer, the chance to take a breather and to have at least a few days away from the constant care that was now a requirement.

Towards the end of November my father was taken from the care home into hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia. Becoming more frail he had now lost the use of his legs and was unable to leave his bed. He now suffered significant weight loss despite efforts to maintain his diet. After a couple of days the pneumonia had cleared up enough to allow him to be moved back to the care home where he was visited by friends and family and of course by my mother who spent each day with him.


However this was only for the shortest of times and after a few days of being there he died in the early hours of December 4th. His funeral was held yesterday at Durham crematorium and was very well attended by family and friends who had known him across the years. In a way the service was similar to my father – a straight forward event without many frills, a gentle and quiet occasion with a good amount of humour.

There was some music played by some of his favourites….a bit of Johnny Cash during the service and then at the end from the 1953 musical ‘Calamity Jane‘ and a song by one of his lifelong favourites – Doris Day……. ‘ The Deadwood Stage ‘.

He’d have appreciated that.



Dave Forsyth

Dave Forsyth suffers from Parkinsons Disease

Standing in the garden

World Parkinson's Disease Day

The front room sitting in his favourite armchair


Back door


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Part of my fathers collection of Royal tea caddies, tea pots and other assorted porcelain that he has collected over the years.


Housebound for much of the time the comings and goings on the street outside offer subjects for discussion and help to pass the time


Wedding picture

Picktree Court Care Home

Resting on a bed during one of the stays in the care home

Picktree Court Care Home

Standards maintained.


Reading part of his Rupert the Bear annual collection that he has had since he was a youngster


Due to the effects of some of the medication my father hallucinates thinking he can see someone in the next room


Reading in the care home


At times he maintained his dry sense of humour


Sleeping on a chair in his room in the care home




My mother changes the dressing on pressure sores on his back


Medication is given to my father as he sits on his arm chair in the front room


My father needed to be fed with special food thickener due to the difficulties and risks involved with swallowing


Resting back in the care home with my mother watching over him – This is the last picture that I was able to take before my father died


Flowers and sympathy cards arrived from many of those who had known him over the years



The Empty Chair


In memory of David Thomas Forsyth

 23rd November 1939 to 4th December 2014


This fourth post is the final one in a series of posts that I have written about my father and it brings together some of the words and the pictures from those other posts as well as more recent work about my fathers struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. These posts, in the order of the most recently posted are (3) The Rupert Annual , (2) Shadow on a wall and (1) Living with Parkinson’s .

Learn more about Parkinson’s Disease… HERE  on the Parkinson’s UK website.

See more of my work on my website and blogs via the link… HERE

All images remain copyright Ian Forsyth.

No usage without arrangement.

Sankta Lucia – The Festival of Light

For the second year running the Sankta Lucia festival of light service was held at York Minster this evening. The Swedish tradition of Sankta Lucia shares many similarities with the advent procession that some people may be more familiar with. Dating back to the 18th century the festival symbolises the bringing of light into the darkness during the dark winter months and is one of the most significant services in the Swedish ecclesiastical calendar.

This year saw Annika Fredriksson, 30, originally from Eslov in Sweden but who now lives in York fulfilling a lifelong ambition of leading the Sankta Lucia procession.



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The Bombardment

Memorial events have been held today in Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough to commemorate a naval bombardment of the towns 100 hundred years ago, by German warships during World War One.

Of the three towns Hartlepool was the most affected by the shelling with over 1,100 shells falling on the community during a frantic forty minute period that saw men, women, children and military personnel killed. Dozens of buildings were destroyed or damaged and many of those hit are still scarred by pieces of shrapnel embedded in the walls. The Headland area of the town which was home to the Heugh gun battery, suffered some of the worst damage with Moor Terrace, Victoria Place and Cliff Terrace being particularly badly hit.

The Headland’s Heugh Gun Battery returned fire in what was the only battle to be fought on British soil during World War One, and one of the Battery’s soldiers, Theo Jones of the Durham Light Infantry, became the first British soldier to be killed by enemy action on home soil since the Battle of Culloden in 1746.


Flight Lieutenant Anthony Moy stands at sunrise next to a gun (not of the WW1 era) on Hartlepool Headland


Members of the 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry Commemoration Society stand as honour guard during the service…

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IFXP0005David Little from the 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry Commemoration Society


Local schoolchildren released balloons into the air as the names of those killed during the bombardment were read out

IFXT0046Veterans stand at sunrise during the morning service


Representatives of military and civilian services laid wreaths


The window of a nearby house has a poignant poster in the window remembering

those who were killed in that house 100 years ago


Veterans stand during the service in Hartlepool


Members of the 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry Commemoration Society prepare to place a ‘time-capsule’ into the ground

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Crosses of Remembrance


A woman looks on during the service


Schoolchildren from St Aidan’s Primary School plant 130 ceramic poppies – some of the ones used at the recent Tower of London memorial – in

memory of the 130 people who were killed during the bombardment

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A standard bearer from the Royal British Legion


Buglers from the Royal Marines played the Last Post before a minute’s silence was held



See more of my photographs on my website and blogs via the link…… HERE

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth. No usage without arrangement.

Out and about in Swaledale

I was out and about in Swaledale in Yorkshire for most of this morning shooting a few pictures for the papers and their websites. Lovely part of the world over there and was a great drive up in the hills as I headed over to the A66 on the Cumbrian border.

See the links at the bottom to see how some of them were used by the papers…



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Some of the pictures from today were used here…..

The Telegraph

Daily Mail

The Mirror

See more of my pictures on my blogs and website via the link…. HERE

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth. No usage without arrangement.

Middleham Gallops

Spent the morning shooting pictures down at Middleham Gallops today as the jockeys rode out with the racehorses from the various racing stables based around the area as the winter weather started to take hold in this part of Yorkshire…



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See more of my work on my blogs and websites via the link…. HERE

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Master at Work

The annual ploughing match held on fields at Boulby near Staithes on the picturesque coastline of North Yorkshire got off to a muddy start earlier this morning.

The event which was organised once again by Tom Harland and Christine Golding helps to raise money for the ‘Charlie Bear for Cancer Care’ fund. Hit the link HERE to visit their ‘Just Giving’ page and to read more about how the charity came about.

The ploughing match brings together farmers and ploughing experts who compete in various categories during the competition. Many are still using vintage tractor and plough set-ups and the friendly rivalry and banter creates a great atmosphere as these traditional skills are practiced and kept alive….continuing back even further into traditional ploughing history and the impressive sight of a pair of huge Belgian Draught horses pulling their plough as they work the field always attracts attention.

If you missed it this year then stick a date in your diary for next time and pop along and take a look at some traditional farming skills that are being kept alive by a small but dedicated and skillful bunch…but don’t forget your wellies!


For everything you ever wanted to know about the plough and ploughing check this link out.




The first task of the day for one of the competitors is to pull the brew wagon onto the field after it got stuck in the mud


A competitor reverses his tractor out of a truck at the start of the competition



James Jobson from Hartlepool reverses his David Brown Selectamatic 990 off a trailer

IFXP0026The competition takes place on the fields above Staithes on the Yorkshire coast

0112‘Cindy’ (left) and ‘Daisy’, a pair of Belgian Draughts are worked by owners Paddy and Marie Pennock…

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A competitor checks his work as he ploughs


James Jobson from Hartlepool arrives for the ploughing match


‘Master at Work’


Ian Myers from York stands with his 1958 McCormick International


Competitors head down through the muddy field to register their entry into the competition


A couple of co-drivers


Points are awarded by judges according to the depth of furrow, straightness and consistency and the start point from where the plough enters the ground


An entrant looks on as a fellow competitor ploughs his first furrow


A Jack Russell sits on the mud guard of a tractor


A competitor sets his plough as he starts his second run


It’s all about the depth and the consistency…


…and the straightness of the ploughing…


…and concentration

IFXT0039Ian Myers from York ploughs using a 1940 ‘Ransom’ plough on the back of his 1958 McCormick International tractor




See more of my work on my website and blogs….. HERE

All images copyright Ian Forsyth 2014

Going Underground

Cleveland Potash mine sits near Boulby on the picturesque North Yorkshire coast nestled amongst the green fields and with commanding views of the North Sea. It began production of potash in 1973. Operating down to depths of 1400 metres it is the only mine of this type in the UK and is the second deepest mine in Europe and extends out like the branches on a tree up to 7km out under the North Sea. Each year the mine produces over one million tons of potash and three quarters of a million tons of salt. It operates 365 days a year and employs just over a thousand workers directly as well as providing business to many other firms and contractors in the area who support the mine in various ways.

Potash products are used for fertilizer production, as well as for glass making and applications in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The salt products also meet a variety of needs, from winter road maintenance that we will all be familiar with to sugar beet cultivation and also as an ingredient in animal feeds.

Also located on the site is the Deep Underground Science Facility.  The facility which is funded by the Science and Technologies Facilities Council is one of only a few in the world allowing research in this type of environment into astrophysics, climate change, dark matter research and other multidisciplinary science experiments. It is currently undergoing a rebuild to provide a new laboratory underground and this is expected to be completed next year. The nature of the facility and being so far underground offers ideal conditions for the various experiments to take place.

Once the seam that contains the potash and salt has being mined underground it is then transported by a system of conveyors to the surface and then enters a process that breaks down the rock into the small pellets that will then be sent for onward distribution to the end user. The product is then moved either by lorry to other parts of the country or it is taken by train to Tees Dock where it is then stored and eventually loaded onto container ships before heading off to other destinations around the country or to different parts of the world.


I recently spent 2 days at the site and covered much of the mining operations. Below are a selection of some of the pictures …I’ve broken it down into 5 main areas showing the processes involved with mining the potash or salt underground, through the production process and then the onward movement to the docks for shipping and touched briefly on the Underground Science facility. The captions below the pictures contain further information and offer more explanation about the specifics and at the end I’ve highlighted some of the photographic aspects of the shoot.





First light arrives over the Potash mine at Boulby. The second deepest mine of this type in Europe.


Potash miners hand in their tokens before riding down into the mine…


…each person gets 2 tokens when they head down. Hand in one when you go down and hand in the other when you come up. This keeps track of how many people are underground.


Everyone going underground must were suitable PPE – Personal Protection Equipment – use a head lamp, wear protective glasses and carry (the silver containers seen on the shelves) a self rescuer breathing apparatus which can generate oxygen in an isolated close cycle by chemical reaction allowing the wearer to leave an area of low or contaminated oxygen supply.


Miners stand in the cage as it is about to make the 5 minute descent to the bottom of the mine…


…on arrival at the bottom they head off to their various work locations. As this shaft is used to pump the oxygen down into the mine there is the huge noise of rushing air as you step out the cage.


It takes around 30 minutes or so to reach a working face. Land Rover defenders and flat bed trucks are used to transport the miners. All the roads underground are

mined into the Salt layer as this is more stable than the potash layer above it.


Steve Shaw who kindly acted as my guide for the day is a seasoned miner of 20-plus years at Boulby. He pretty much knows everything there is to know about potash mining

and here he checks a device used to alarm the user if it picks up traces of gas in the air.


These two ‘green’ pictures show the ‘Safe Havens’ that are spaced at various areas throughout the mine. Reinforced areas that in the event of

an incident underground miners can try and reach. Inside there are emergency water supplies, breathing equipment and communications to the surface…


…the entrance door to the ‘Safe Haven’…


…the room is filled with emergency equipment ready for use inside the ‘Safe Haven’.


At the face of the potash seam an operator uses a remote control system to control the continuous mining machines…



…these rock cutting machines are fitted with tungsten carbide tipped cutting teeth that rip the rock out as it is driven slowly into the potash seam…



…the rock is then passed through the machine and into a waiting ‘shuttle car’ that takes the potash to a conveyor where it then moves along another tunnel or ‘bunker’ to be

stored until it is taken to the surface.


10gDave Elliot is a ‘bunker operator’ and runs the conveyors shown below that transport the potash or salt through the mine to be lifted to the surface.



Steve Shaw chats with one of the shift managers as they stand in one of the passages mined into the rock…in many places the only light comes from their lamps.


Communications can be maintained within certain areas of the mine using tannoy and intercom systems.


Due to the high temperatures the miners working at the face of the seam pause for regular short breaks during their shift to take on water and drinks to remain hydrated.

Many of the blue flask containers that can be seen are also filled with ice to help keep the drinks cold…


…as can be found in many different jobs there is also a good bit of craic and banter amongst the blokes working together.


Craig Shillito (left) a fitter and Leon Grobler, an electrician take a short break from working. Due to the high temperatures involved many of the miners wear shorts.


At the end of the shift one group of miners wait to be called forward to get the cage up back to the surface…

10m 10n

…obviously everyone wants to get back up to the surface quickly so they can knock off so there is no hanging about when they’re given the nod to enter the cage.


..on arrival at the surface each person hands over the second of his tokens before entering a room to re-charge the batteries for the head-lamps and to replace other safety

equipment before grabbing a shower and heading home.




As I mentioned in the introduction above also situated at Boulby Potash mine is the ‘Deep Underground Science Facility’…


At around 1200 metres below the surface Scientist Chris Toth, 23 stands on the site of a new laboratory

that is currently under construction and which will eventually replace the current lab and offer some improved facilities…


Funded by the Science Technologies and Facilities Council the scientists like Director and Senior Scientist Dr Sean Paling (left) can perform research and experiments into astrophysics, climate change and dark matter research along with other experiments…


It is one of the few laboratories in the world that, due to the unique area in which it is located, allows for the optimum conditions for many of the experiments undertaken.



The potash and salt that is mined in the labyrinth of tunnels underground is brought to the surface via conveyors and lifts and

undergoes a process to break down the rock and eventually turn it into the various different finished potash products…

1b 2A

All surface operations are overseen by the main control room and each stage of the process is monitored constantly for safety and efficiency…


The main production area is vast and allows for a 2-part ‘wet-end’ and ‘dry-end’ production process involving the breaking down of the rock, removing impurities and

a filtering and drying process that brings the product to a state when it is ready to be distributed…



5 6 8 9 9a 9b

Steve Sergeant, 20, was working as part of a clean up-crew removing the huge amounts of dust that accumulates during the ‘dry-end’ of the process.

9c 9dUsing conveyors the product is moved to huge storage silos prior to onward distribution by train or lorry.




2aAAndrew Dewsbury, 26, was working in one of the main storage silo’s repairing machinery.

9fLunch break



Jamie Cairns works as a ‘Ropeman’ and is part of the team responsible for the maintenance of and the movement of equipment down the main shaft and into the mine.

2gOne of a number of different potash product types that is produced at Boulby.




The final product can then be transported by lorry to other locations and clients around the country…


Much of it is transported by freight train to the docks at Teesside. Here a driver checks his brakes and load before leaving the sidings at Boulby with a train loaded

with salt product. In this case each of the train cars was holding around 62 tons.


The train leaves the sidings at Boulby heading for Tees Dock.

4BA potash train passes under a bridge as it travels through Saltburn on route to Tees Dock.



Whether it is potash or salt product the facility at Tees dock allows for thousands of tons to be held there as it waits for container ships to arrive for loading.


In the picture above there is approximately 6, 300 tons of Potash in this single pile alone. This pile is one of many within this silo which can hold 60, 000 tons when full.

2I 3C 4C

Many thousands of tons of salt product are also stockpiled outside next to the River Tees.

6A 7 8A

As the container ships come alongside ‘large ship loaders’ are used to fill the waiting vessels. The one in these pictures was the ‘Willeke’ and bound for Amsterdam.

The following week another ship is due in for loading which is bound for Brazil and which will take the potash to a final destination to be used on crops as fertiliser.


 With thanks to Cleveland Potash Limited for the access to the mine and facilities and to the staff and guides who helped with the organisation of the visit.



This job was always going to present some technical challenges photographically with the main one being light or rather the lack of. At many of the places underground the only light source is the lamp attached to the hard hat. Occasionally fluorescent lighting is used in certain areas but these were rare. Knowing or rather anticipating that it was going to be dusty I was reluctant to use flash as the light might have reflected back off the dust floating around and would have made the pictures look like they were taken in a snow or sand storm!

So I decided against using flash and to make use of the available lighting and try and create a bit of atmosphere with the pictures. The only separate light source I used on both days was a Metz LED light containing 72 LED’s and is about the size of an iPhone only a little bit thicker. It was light and very portable and runs off 4 x AA batteries and gives out a decent amount of light. It comes with a CTO (Colour Temperature Orange) filter that attaches easily to the front of the light and it helps to warm up some of the portraits nicely and gave a reasonable amount of light for wider shots. All the ‘people’ portraits in this post where lighting has been used were shot with this light either hand held to one side of the camera or placed on a small table-top tripod. It proved to be a very useful light and one that I’ll now use more often. The control switch on the back allowed for the strength of the light to be dialed up and down depending on the distance to the subject so it offered great flexibility. Occasionally the lamp worn on the hard hat could also be used to aim some light onto the subject.

The environment underground gets hotter (around 38c or so) the closer you travel to the working face and is obviously very dusty. In the surface production areas it ranges from incredibly dusty at the ‘Dry-end‘ of the potash production to humid and very wet conditions with water dripping down from pipework and other structures in the ‘Wet-end‘ of that process. When I went underground all I used was a Fuji X Pro 1 with the 18mm f2 lens. This lens equates to about a 28mm lens in 35mm terms. It was light and can be operated with one hand (useful when I was holding the LED light) and it turns out good quality images at higher ISO’s which were obviously needed in the low light. A quick check through my underground pictures shows the lowest ISO used was 1250 and the highest ISO used was 6400. Average shutter speeds were low and ranged between 15th – 30th of a second in many cases up to around 125th – 250th give or take when there was a bit more light. So it was challenging to keep them sharp and avoid movement in some cases….although creatively that can work in your favour at times.

The camera kit I used during both days is pictured below with a list of what’s what and most of it is self explanatory. Although I opted out of taking the Leica underground partly because it doesn’t perform well at high ISO’s and also I didn’t want to end up damaging it! Deciding it was too expensive to risk but ironically my cameras were in a dirtier state and took more of a battering after shooting the surface pictures the day before and apart from a good coating of dust it wasn’t too bad when I went underground.

All in all I was pleased with the performance of the Fuji. I know they’re good cameras (I’ve just sold all my Nikon D3S kit and replaced it with another fuji – the XT1) but I was keen to see how it performed in a more challenging photographic environment and it did well. The Leica is a good bit of kit which I use on most jobs so I knew that would work well on the surface but I was also particularly impressed with the LED light.


Standard clothing and PPE required when you go underground

DSCF0143(Clockwise from top) Belt with two Domke pouches, Chamois leather, paint brush, blower brush, LED on small tripod,

SD cards in the orange ‘Think Tank’ wallet, notebook and pencils, spare batteries in another ‘Think Tank’ wallet,

Leica M9 with 50mm f2 Summicron lens and a Fuji XPro 1 with 18mm (28MM) f2 lens.

See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

Middlesbrough remembers…

A Remembrance Sunday ceremony held at the cenotaph in Middlesbrough in Cleveland earlier today saw veterans, serving soldiers and Army cadets join hundreds more members of the public to show their respects. Following the ceremony the troops marched along Linthorpe Road which was lined on both sides by the public.

Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November, the Sunday nearest to 11 November which is Armistice Day which marks the end of hostilities in the First World War at 11 a.m. in 1918. This year also marks the centenary of Britain’s entry into World War One.

Remembrance Sunday is held to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.



Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough

Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough

Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough Remembrance Sunday ceremony  in Middlesbrough


See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE 

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth

Coast People – The Painter

Artist Piers Browne stands on the beach painting in Saltburn, Cleveland. Follow the link here to see more of his work.



See more of my photographs on my website and blogs…… HERE

Pictures copyright Ian Forsyth