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.

 

1 – UNDERGROUND OPERATIONS

 

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

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

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…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.

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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.

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

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…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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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…the entrance door to the ‘Safe Haven’…

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

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

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…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…

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…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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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…

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

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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.

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

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…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.

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..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.

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2 – UNDERGROUND SCIENCE FACILITY

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

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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…

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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…

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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.

 

3 – SURFACE PRODUCTION

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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…

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

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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…

4A

2c

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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.

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2b

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

9fLunch break

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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.

 

4 – TRANSPORTATION TO TEES DOCKS

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

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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.

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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.

5 – TEES DOCK

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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 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.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY and EQUIPMENT

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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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

Pictures copyright Ian Forsyth

Whitby Goth Weekend – 20th Anniversary

This weekend marks the 20th anniversary since the Whitby Goth Weekend first began. Each year it grows bigger and bigger becoming increasingly more popular. The weekend event brings together thousands of extravagantly dressed followers of Victoriana, Steampunk, Cybergoth and Romanticism and those who are into the buzzing music scene that forms the roots of Goth culture…

 

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

Images copyright Ian Forsyth /  London News Pictures

Trout

The Cypriot registered tanker ‘Trout‘ heads out of Teesmouth this morning heading to Antwerp…

 

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You can see more of my photography on my website and blogs via the link HERE

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth. No usage without permission.

Jim Maidens Memorial Fishing Competition

The annual Jim Maidens memorial beach fishing competition took place on Sunday evening in Saltburn by the Sea in Cleveland.
The competition is held each year to mark the death of the Saltburn plumber and keen fisherman Jim Maidens, who died in 1998 when he was killed after being swept overboard from his boat ‘Corina’ close to the beach at Saltburn.

Around 70 fishermen and women attended the event which helps to rise money for the RNLI and the Great North Air Ambulance

Here’s a few pictures from yesterday…

 

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All images were taken on a Leica M9 with a Summicron 50mm f2 lens and a Fui X Pro 1 with a 18mm (28mm equivalent) f2 lens. Photographs were edited in Lightroom. No editing techniques were used that couldn’t be carried out in a traditional darkroom.

See more of my photography on my website and blogs via this link…..

HERE

All images remain copyright Ian Forsyth. No usage without agreement.

Pickering wartime and 1940′s weekend

Once again Pickering wartime and 1940′s weekend came to the Yorkshire town this weekend with re-enactors, enthusiasts and fans of all things 40′s getting involved and having a great time. I was down today shooting for Getty Images and arrived at the showground in Pickering at first light and spent a few hours there before heading into town to finish off the day. It was a good day of shooting and I met some great people…here’s a few of the pictures…

 

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Some of the pictures appeared soon after on The Guardian  website, the Daily Mail website and in today’s Observer…

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All images were taken on a Leica M9 with a Summicron 50mm f2 lens and a Fui X Pro 1 with a 18mm (28mm equivalent) f2 lens. Photographs were edited in Lightroom. No editing techniques were used that couldn’t be carried out in a traditional darkroom.

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

Images copyright Ian Forsyth & Getty Images

No usage without prior arrangement

Scarborough dawn

Down in Scarborough in North Yorkshire for first light this morning to finish off a commercial job I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks and took the opportunity to grab a couple of shots for myself around the harbour while I was there…

 

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

Copyright Ian Forsyth – No usage without agreement

Crathorne Hall fire

A fire broke out today at the historic mansion house and grade II listed building, Crathorne Hall near Yarm in North Yorkshire.

All of the guests and staff were evacuated safely from the site as the fire which started shortly after 10am this morning, caused serious damage to the east wing of the building.

At the height of the blaze eighteen fire engines and more than 100 fire fighters were at the scene with crews from Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Services and Cleveland Fire Brigade attending to support the North Yorkshire fire service. Two aerial ladder platforms were in use as a water tower, to spray water on to the roof of the building and two water bowsers were also brought in to assist with the task.

Crathorne Hall is a popular wedding venue and it is understood that events were due to be staged there this weekend.

Fire crews are continuing to dampen down the site of the fire with some crews expected to stay overnight to make sure the fire is completely out.

 

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Crathorne Hall FireLord Crathorne who as a child was brought up in the nursery at the hall which was destroyed by the fire

 

Pictures that I shot from the fire made in the Daily Mail on Line and on the BBC ,

 

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

Images copyright Ian Forsyth/ Getty Images

A balancing act

Seeming to defy gravity or any logic and appearing physically impossible the art of creating arrangements out of stone requires patience and a steady hand…master this and the results can be very cool indeed.

A small UK arts collective called Responsible Fishing visited Sandsend near Whitby today to create stone balancing artwork and sand art designs on the beach and to offer advice to members of the public who wanted to give it a go. Made as the tide drops these creations are short lived however as they disappear as the tide makes its way back in and covers them over.

Here’s a few pictures from today…

Sand Art event in Yorkshire

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Sand Art event in Yorkshire

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

All images remain copyright Ian Forsyth. No usage without agreement.

 

 

Middlesbrough Pride

The Middlesbrough Community Pride event held in the town centre today brings together many members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities from the area. This is the second year for the colourful event and many people turned out to support the day which began with a parade around the town before the stage entertainment began in the centre square area of Middlesbrough.

 

Middlesbrough Pride Parade

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Middlesbrough Pride Parade

 

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

All images copyright Ian Forsyth. No usage without agreement.

Cattle wash here

The Stokesley Agricultural Show remains one of the biggest one-day shows to be held in the north of England. Attracting entrants from all over the country who come to enter their animals into the different categories of livestock, horses and other events for judging.

Dating back to 1859 the show has ran every year apart from during the two world wars and continues to be one of the key events in the show calendar.

 

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

All images copyright Ian Forsyth

Arcs of white

A Spider sewed at Night

Without a Light

Upon an Arc of White

 

Taken from “A Spider Sewed at Night” by the American poet Emily Dickinson

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

All images remain copyright Ian Forsyth

Take the hill

The roar of old engines broke the morning silence in Saltburn by the Sea today as the historic Hill Climb began once again. Cancelled last year due to the heavy flooding that caused severe damage in the Cat Nab car park and other parts of the town the competitors and classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts returned to once gain test their machines on the climb up from the car park at Cat Nab to the top of Saltburn bank.

The event which is organised by the Middlesbrough and District Motor Club has had a long association with this and other motorsport events for many years. Today’s event saw vehicles from the early 1900′s up to 1975 gather to perform.

However due to the current Road Traffic Act preventing timed events from taking place on public roads this event is currently a non-competitive event but supporters of the hill climb have petitioned constantly for the return of a competitive element to the gathering. It is hoped however that these restrictions may be lifted later in the year. These restrictions didn’t do anything to dampen the enthusiasm of those taking part today though or indeed that of the many hundreds who came to watch the event.

 

Saltburn Hill Climb

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Saltburn Hill Climb Saltburn Hill Climb Saltburn Hill Climb

 

 

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

All images remain copyright Ian Forsyth 2014

Yes…No…Maybe…?

Thursday 18th of September 2014. Remember the date. History could be made then when the 305-year-old political union between Scotland and England could potentially come to an end.

…and speaking of history:

 

Scotland’s relations with its larger neighbour have often been difficult, none more so than in the wars of independence some 700 odd years ago. Wars that were led by William Wallace and following him Robert the Bruce. He defeated Edward II who was attempting to subjugate Scotland during the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. After other cross border disputes, including Scotland’s defeat at Flodden by the English in 1513, the Scottish and English crowns were unified in 1603 when King James VI of Scotland became overall monarch of the British isles.

In 1707, that union was cemented by Scotland and England’s political union, forced on Scotland in part by a financial crisis following the abject failure of its colony in Panama, the so-called Darien adventure. All political power moved to London, but Scotland retained its own legal system, churches and universities. In 1745, the pretender to the British throne, Bonnie Prince Charlie, led the Jacobite revolt against Hanoverian rule by London. Despite reaching as far south as Derby, that ended in crushing defeat at Culloden in 1746.

In the 1800s, Scotland’s economy strengthened, its cities boomed and its citizens took a leading role in the British empire. But proposals to give Scotland some form of “home rule” within the UK have been live since William Gladstone’s era as Liberal leader in the 1880s. After several failed attempts at Westminster, notably in 1913 and 1979, a Scottish parliament was finally reestablished in 1999 in Edinburgh with wide-ranging policy making and legal powers but dependent on a direct grant from London.

In May 2011, Alex Salmond and the SNP unexpectedly won an historic landslide victory giving the nationalists majority control of the Scottish parliament, enabling the first minister to demand an independence referendum.

They believe that Scotland’s economy, its social policies and its creativity would flourish if it had much greater autonomy.

A majority of Scots disagree however. They believe Scotland is more secure within the UK, but many want the Scottish parliament to have greater financial and legal powers.

 

So what happens if the ‘Yes’ campaign take the referendum? What happens from there? Well it would mark the start of another journey. A journey of negotiation.

For all the key issues – like Scotland’s share of UK debt, dividing up North Sea oil fields, a possible currency union, taking over military bases and UK government offices – all would need to be negotiated. Some argue the any final deal should also be ratified in a referendum. Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that all the major negotiations could be completed by March 2016, in time for the next Scottish parliamentary elections in May 2016.

It is unclear at this time however just how quickly the UK parliament would approve any deal. There could also be a transition period before that process was complete which could take several years. There are profound doubts about whether the European Union’s 28 members will agree to Scotland’s membership within Sturgeon’s 18 month outlined timetable.

So in a nutshell that’s kind what it is all about. A complicated subject with many unanswered questions and with some questions that may yet need to be asked but as the day for the referendum draws closer the political debate builds and the emotions on the street rise between those Scots voting Yes and those voting No along with many still undecided.

 

I took a very early morning drive up through a foggy Northumberland and Scottish borders recently heading towards Selkirk. I was going up to cover a visit to the town by Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister. Mr Clegg along with Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and around 60 MP’s and councillors all left London on the same day to join activists at numerous locations throughout Scotland to make the positive case for Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom.

 

Below are a few pictures from the day.

So next Thursday will be the day that may bring about a new chapter in the history of the United Kingdom and the countries that form it.

Is it a good thing?

Yes…No…Maybe…?

 

 

DSCF2643 DSCF2645 DSCF2651 DSCF2667 DSCF2668 DSCF2679 IF1_8326 IF1_8328 IF1_8334 IF1_8340 IF1_8344 IF1_8359 IF1_8366 IF1_8372 Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in Selkirk, Scotland IF1_8482

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Some of the pictures from the day ran in the Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express and the Independent as well as featuring in online galleries such as The Daily Telegraph , the Guardian , the New York Times ,  Metro , Blooberg Businessweek and Wall Street Journal

 

 

See more of my work on my website and blogs HERE

Pictures remain copyright Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

Beadnell Bay

Beadnell Bay harbour in Northumberland…

 

 

Beadnell Bay in Northumberland

Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland Beadnell Bay in Northumberland

 

 

You can see more of my work over on my website and blogs via THIS link.

All images remain copyright Ian Forsyth

Mynarski – The last op

One of the only two remaining Avro Lancaster bombers that are still flying today was on display and did a fly-past for gathered crowds at Durham Tees Valley airport today.

The famous World War Two aircraft, named ‘Mynarski’ is owned by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and is beginning a 2-week tour of the UK. The aircraft is named after Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski who flew from the airport during World War Two and which was then called RAF Middleton St George.

Pilot Officer Mynarski, a Canadian flying with the Canadian Royal Air Force was posthumously awarded a VC after giving his life while trying to save a colleague when their Lancaster bomber was shot down in June 1944. A short service was held next to the statue of Pilot Officer Mynarski.

This is his and the crews story….

 

In the aftermath of D-Day attacks on 12 June 1944, Pilot Officer Mynarski was aboard Lancaster bomber KB726,taking part in the crew’s 13th operation, a raid on northern France. They reached their target at midnight, Tuesday 13 June. After encountering flak over the coastline and briefly being “coned” by searchlights, the Lancaster was attacked by a Junkers Ju 88 enemy night fighter over Cambrai, France. Raked by cannon fire with major strikes on the port engines and centre fuselage, a hydraulic fire engulfed the bomber. Losing both port engines, the crew were ordered to bail out. As Mynarski approached the rear escape door, he saw through the inferno in the rear, that tail gunner Pilot Officer Pat Brophy was trapped in his turret. The tail turret had been jammed part way through its rotation to the escape position.

Without hesitation, Mynarski made his way through the flames to Brophy’s assistance. All his efforts were in vain, initially using a fire axe to try to pry open the doors before finally resorting to beating at the turret with his hands. With Mynarski’s flight suit and parachute on fire, Brophy eventually waved him away. Mynarski crawled back through the hydraulic fire, returned to the rear door where he paused and saluted. He then reputedly said “Good night, sir,” his familiar nightly sign-off to his friend, and jumped.

Except for Brophy, all crew members of the Lancaster managed to escape the burning bomber. Five left through the front escape hatch on the floor of the cockpit. When bomb aimer Jack Friday, tried to release the escape hatch cover in the aircraft’s nose, the rushing wind ripped it from his hands. The hatch cover caught him above his left eye and knocked him out. He fell into the open hatch and jammed it closed until Flight engineer Roy Vigars reached him to quickly clip on Friday’s parachute and toss him out the hatch while pulling the unconscious crewman’s rip cord. Only Mynarski managed to leave via the rear escape door.

Mynarski’s descent was rapid due to the burnt parachute and shroud lines, resulting in a heavy impact on landing. He landed alive though severely burned, with his clothes still on fire. French farmers who spotted the flaming bomber found him and took him to a German field hospital but he died shortly afterwards of severe burns. He was buried in a local cemetery. Brophy remained trapped in the bomber and remained with the bomber when it crashed in a farm field. As the bomber disintegrated, and began breaking apart, Brophy survived the crash and the subsequent detonation of the bomb load. Still lodged in his turret, the crash broke the turret open with him pitched out, striking a tree and being temporarily knocked out.

Four of the crew members: Brophy, navigator Robert Bodie, radio operator James Kelly and pilot de Breyne were hidden by the French and, except for Brophy, returned to England shortly after the crash. Vigars remained with the unconscious Friday and both were captured by the Germans, being interned until liberated by American troops. Brophy joined French Resistance fighters and, after joining a resistance unit to continue the fight on the ground behind enemy lines, returned to London in September 1944, where he learned of Mynarski’s death. It was not until 1945 when Brophy was reunited with the rest of the crew that the details of his final moments on the aircraft were revealed. He related the story of the valiant efforts made by Mynarski to save him.

Mynarski lies buried in Grave 20 of the CWGC plot in the Méharicourt Communal Cemetery, near Amiens, France.

 

Lancaster Bomber visits North of England

Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England

Lancaster Bomber visits North of England

Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England Lancaster Bomber visits North of England

Lancaster Bomber visits North of England

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

Images remain copyright Ian forsyth

Behind the Job – Middleham Gallops

So to continue something new that I’ve started recently here on ‘Room 2850‘ where I pick some of the stories I’ve covered and then explain a little bit about how I came to get a particular shot we head down to a beautiful part of the North Yorkshire countryside for a snowy start to the day back in March…

 

Middleham in Wensleydale in North Yorkshire has a long association with the training of top flight racehorses. Several top stables call it home and have based themselves there for many years. Ideally suited to take advantage of the surrounding countryside to exercise and train the horses it forms a perfect base from which to develop future champions. Come rain or shine or in this case snow the horses are ridden out through the town each morning and up onto the ‘Gallops’ to be put through their paces.

I visited the area in March to do a feature on one of the stables based there and was fortunate (…if you’re a photographer) to arrive early in the morning in the middle of a heavy snow storm to catch the start of the morning’s workout.

As I pulled into the town I got lucky, photographically speaking, and saw straight away some riders heading up towards me through the snow. Grabbing my camera from the seat next to me I quickly jumped out of the car and shot some pictures as they came through the town. Auto-focus can sometimes be easily confused especially when there are so many ‘things’ in the frame – snow flakes in this case! So I pre-focussed on the apex of the bend using the white line as a reference point and waited for the horses and riders to reach it before shooting a couple of frames.

Once they had passed me I headed up behind them to the gallops and spent a couple of hours taking pictures of these impressive animals exercising before visiting one of the stables.

The colour version of this picture ran in the Daily Express and was shot with a Nikon D3S at the long end of a 70 – 200mm f2.8 zoom lens. The ISO was set to 2200 and was taken using an aperture of f2.8 at 1/200th of a second shutter speed.

 

 You can see my blog post called ‘The Gallops‘ which contains many of my other pictures and background from the day……… HERE

 

 

Middleham Gallops

 

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

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth

Behind the Job – Tour de France

So something new that I’m going to try and do here on ‘Room 2850‘ is to pick some of the stories I’ve covered and then explain a little bit about the back story of how I came to get the shot or shots. Maybe throw in a few technical details here and there on camera settings and all that kind of stuff and generally ramble on about what happened….in the main I’ll use a single picture from each job but to open this idea I’m going to include three pictures, each taken over the 3 days that I covered the Tour de France when it came to Yorkshire.

 

The Tour de France Grand Depart hit Yorkshire like a whirlwind! For weeks, months even, before the event small villages in remote areas of the Yorkshire countryside were buzzing with talk of the Tour.

Street decorations, signs, bunting and yellow bicycles were cropping up everywhere as the day of the Grand Depart from Harewood House near Leeds drew nearer. Impromptu campsites sprung up all over the place in fields, sports grounds and on random patches of grass – more about this later – and the excitement started to build even amongst those who weren’t keen cyclists. I was shooting the weekend for Getty Images and had been given a broad brief about the requirements but it’s always good to be prepared for a ‘plan B‘ in case things change and in this case that was a good thing!

I went to Harewood House the day before the start to cover the prep and build up of fans and spectators arriving to camp within the grounds of the stately home for the weekend but as the slow trickle of people arrived and the rain came down it became obvious that the pictures weren’t really coming. So knowing that the start – and the royals – was going to be covered by another Getty photographer I got the word to go and find ‘a typical Yorkshire village‘…..and thus, Plan B kicked in!

1 Harewood House 003.jpg Day 1 – A cyclist rides passed Harewood House the day before the Grand Depart

 

After a quick scan of the route the name that jumped out straight away was Ilkley. So I packed up my gear into my Land Rover and headed over there. With a huge amount of roads in the area being closed at different times for the race and with thousands of people in the area to watch it was always going to be hard to find somewhere to stop. I definitely didn’t want to park on some road or street that was to be part of the race the following day and subsequently find my car getting towed! So the search was on to find somewhere as close as possible to the main centre of the town.

Fortunately after sitting in a slow moving snake of traffic all the way to Ilkley I happened to glance out of my window and noticed two things. Firstly a fish and chip shop! This is always a good thing to see when you’re hungry and secondly a small sign next to it saying ‘Camp Site’ and an arrow pointing down some side street. I knew I was virtually in the centre of town so in the true spirit of adventure and because of the chip shop I made a turn to check it out…

On further investigation I found a sign saying ‘Camping’ with a mobile number written below it on a fence post on the edge of a small strip of grass outside a scout hut. So I called the number and spoke to a chap who said he would come along and see me. Ten minutes later I was parked up, paid up and ready to head back along to the fish and chip shop for some food!

 

The following morning was an early start to get some build-up shots as spectators prepared themselves along the route for when the Peleton passed through the town. It also offered a good opportunity to check out a few potential spots that might work for pictures before it became too busy to move through the crowds later. I wanted to try and get at least one wide shot, preferably from a higher viewpoint so I went in and spoke to the manager of The Crescent Inn which is situated right in the centre of the town. They were really helpful and made space in one of the top floor rooms that was used as a storage room for bedding, sheets and towels.

After working the crowds for the hours leading up to the time when the Peleton was due to arrive I headed into the Crescent Inn and went and waited in the room. As the time drew closer the crowds became more and more enthusiastic and cheered pretty much anything and everything that passed them by on the road. Police motorcyclists, official cars, delivery trucks or any other vehicles were cheered as they passed but anyone who rode past on a bicycle – especially the young kids – with cheered with as much enthusiasm as if the lead riders themselves were passing by.

As the time for the riders to pass approached the pre-race caravan passed by throwing sweets and assorted merchandise out into the crowds. Loud music blared out from huge speakers wired onto the flat bed trucks that carried the young women who through out the ‘goodies’. The loudest cheer of the day went out as the ‘Yorkshire Tea’ truck passed by. At this point, apart from craving a cup of tea I’m taking a few pictures from the window on my longer lens. Trying to isolate some of the crowds and get some of the atmosphere. Once it was obvious that the caravan had passed and seeing the swarm of TV helicopters start to come overhead it was time to change to a wider lens.

Leaning out as far as I could, standing on tip toe with a high wall of sheets and blankets leaning precariously against me and threatening to fall at any minute I got ready for the Peleton. The light was changing all the time with bright sun one minute then clouds passed by and the light levels dropped so I hoped for at least some good light on the riders but not too much to make too many shadows from the buildings.

I had manually pre-focussed on a spot on the road. This wasn’t really the time for the auto-focus on the Nikon D3s I was using to decide to hunt around and risk missing the pictures and I was on the widest lens I had – a 28mm f2.8 – to try and get as much in the picture as I could. I would have preferred to have gone wider though if I could have. I was shooting at 1/800th of a second at f8 and was at 800 ISO.

You knew they were close because a collective cheer went up further along the road and built as they got closer. A wall of noise carrying the riders through. Then as they approached I picked my moment and began to shoot a few frames.

Thirty seconds later it was all over. The Peleton had passed and ridden through to the next town. Time to head back to my truck as quickly as possible to begin editing and then file the pictures back to the desk.

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 20.13.17My spot – Top floor, fourth window from the left in the Crescent Inn

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Day 2 – The Peleton passes through Ilkley in Yorkshire on Stage 1 of the Tour de France

 

After waiting for the roads to re-open in Ilkley I then headed off to another impromptu campsite/field that I had found a couple of days earlier and pre-booked. One of the few that wasn’t full and which was near (ish) to the big hill climb on stage 2 at Holme Moss. Driving for just over an hour to the site I was making good time until the road I needed to use to reach the site was closed by police. The stage wasn’t even due to pass there until the next day but already the road had been closed. No amount of sweet talk by me could persuade them to let me through so a slightly altered route was needed to make my way to the campsite/field.

I won’t bore everyone with all the details of the journey but suffice to say that a good Ordnance Survey map of the area, a 4×4 vehicle and a very broad interpretation of trespass laws allowed me to find my way onto a road that would take me to the campsite/field I was looking for and soon enough I was parked up with a beer or three ready to go.

The thing with large events similar to these is that you’re kind of working all the time. You need some time to ‘admin’ yourself and your gear of course but when whatever is happening doesn’t occur very often then you need to shoot as much of what’s going on as possible. So even though I was parked up and ready for the next day I had to get some shots of the campsite and of those who had made this random field in the middle of Yorkshire their home for the night. So I wandered through the site for a bit shooting a few pictures and chatting to some of the people. There was a good vibe, the wine and beer flowed, kids ran around playing on the field and everyone was in a good mood in anticipation for the following day. I headed back to the truck, edited and filed the pictures in…I was able to get a good enough signal on my mifi to get on the t’internet which had been a concern – and then sorted my gear out for the next day.

 

Bulmers

Essential pre-tour administration sorted

I said earlier that the campsite/field was close(ish) to the hill at Holme Moss. Now close is all relative I suppose as it turned out to be about an hour and a half steady walk from the campsite/field to the hill. An hour and a half that meant quite literally that those heading to the hill would have to walk up hill and down dale to get there. So this presented a few logistical issues I had to consider. I had to carry my laptop, Mifi and associated ‘stuff’ that I would need to file my pictures. I didn’t know if I would get a signal from the hill but I had to try. It wasn’t like I could nip back to my truck to send them and I had to carry enough camera gear to ensure I could cover what I hoped to get. My only concern was battery power for the laptop!

So the following morning it was an early start and a leisurely walk to the hill. As I went I shot a few pictures of those other happy campers making the walk through what has to be said was a very lovely part of the world. The farmer who owned the field had very kindly assisted those who visited his campsite/field by laying a route marked every few meters with pink ribbons tied to markers or fence posts. All the way from the site to the hill which was a very considerate thing to do. I did however hear a few people commenting on the hill later on how they were going to get back after seeing a lot of people carrying small pieces of wire with pink ribbons attached to them sticking out of their rucksacks!

So I had arrived on Holme Moss hill. The path had brought me out near to the ‘S’ bends about half way up. Thankfully though there were a couple of burger vans parked here so it offered a good opportunity to not only recover from the walk in but prepare myself for what would be a busy and physically demanding morning making my way up and down the hill several times to get as many pictures of the day as I could in the build up to the Peleton passing through. I thought the best way to prepare for this was to have a coffee, a bacon bap and a fag and so, suitably prepared in the healthiest of ways off I went to join the throng on the hill and shoot a few pictures…

I’ve put a link to my original blog post at the bottom of this post where further pictures can be seen but the picture below is one that I like. I shot a few of this chap and his dog who were just chilling on the hill and watching the chaos below them as the crowds built. He lived in Holmfirth, a village at the bottom of the hill and had walked up here for the day. I don’t think he was a huge cycling fan to be honest but like many people he was just enjoying the occasion and every so often his mobile would ring and he would go into discussion with someone. He told me that his wife and daughter were in 2 separate locations on the approach to the hill and were sending him regular updates on the current location of the Peleton. He gave me the nod when they were 10 minutes away. Can’t beat local knowledge!

Now I had already filed some pictures in by this point from the hill. Surprisingly I was able to get a signal and the pictures zapped away at a reassuring rate and I felt a sense of relief that every photographer who has to file pictures in will know when they have a picture desk waiting for your stuff. So as the Peleton came and went I shot away and was reasonably happy that things were going to be ok to get the pictures out. The second feeling I then had was the frustration and annoyance that once again every photographer who has to file pictures will know when you then, for no logical reason can not get a signal for love nor money despite being in virtually the same place as earlier! The huge amount of technical knowledge I have (not) guessed wildly that the volume of traffic passing through the networks from all the crowds trying to tweet and update their Facebook status with random selfy’s may have been the culprit but nonetheless my pictures were going nowhere fast and I wandered around the hill sides of Yorkshire with my laptop held up above my head trying desperately to get something, anything that looked like a hint of a signal.

Failing miserably and tired of looking like a dickhead for the day (…”Daddy what’s that man doing..?”. “I don’t know son, come over here next to me...”) and noticing that I had 3% of battery life remaining on my laptop I decided there was only one thing to do. Head back to my truck. So it was time to forget all this leisurely bimble through the woods civvie stuff and for the ‘army head‘ to come back out and ‘tab‘ back as quickly as possible to my Land Rover….to an internet signal…..and to a power supply and my kettle. Now in military speak to ‘tab’ is basically to walk really, really quickly so after looking like a demented hill walker to the crowds ambling back through the countryside I reduced the walk to 45 minutes (not too bad for an old bloke) and arrived back and quickly began the process of turning the pictures around.

 

5 - Waiting 003.jpgDay 3 – A man from nearby Holmfirth sits with his dog watching the crowds build as the race approaches Holme Moss on Stage 2

 

So after all this adventure did the pictures make anywhere? Which is pretty much the point of it all really…well fortunately I had a few good shows in print and on-line and they were picked up by publications and websites in a number of places around the world such as The GuardianCBS News , The Telegraph Al Jazeera AmericaThe Metro and ESPN sport amongst a few others and it’s always good to see your work being used so I was happy with the result.

The three days spent eating, living, sleeping, editing and filing and using the truck as a base from which to work had come to an end and it was time to head off. All being said the truck did really well as I expected and I don’t have any real issues in preparation for the next time I use it like this although I do plan to fit a second ‘leisure’ battery to help with charging requirements…oh and to pack more Bulmers…obviously!

 

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The Truck! This is the campsite I stopped at on the third night after leaving Ilkley to cover Stage 2 at Holme Moss

FilingKettle on and ready to start editing and filing pictures back to the desk

downloadSleeping in the back of the truck

 

 

 You can see my blog post called ‘The Yorkshire Effect‘ which contains many of my other pictures from my three days of covering the Tour…… HERE

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

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

The engine shed

Work continued in earnest this morning at the engine sheds of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in the small Yorkshire village of Grosmont. The work was to prepare the steam locomotives ‘Chiru‘ and ‘Eric Treacy‘ for a short ceremony to mark the construction of a second platform at Whitby train station. This second platform will now provide passengers with more options for travel to reach the popular Yorkshire seaside town.

Whitby is at the end of the line on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. This hugely popular railway remains the only heritage railway in the UK that runs over both the Network Rail lines and the heritage line. The line runs for 18 miles between Pickering and Grosmont Stations, and then for a further 6 miles to Whitby. It was first opened in 1836 as the Whitby and Pickering Railway and was planned in 1831 by George Stephenson as a way of opening up further trade routes from the sea port of Whitby.

The two locomotives arrived in Whitby station, under steam, before moving into position side by side – the first time this has happened at Whitby in half a century.

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

 

TECHNICAL STUFF: All photographs in this set were made with a Leica M9 with a 50mm f2 Summicron lens and a Fuji X Pro 1 with an f2 18mm (28mm equivalent) lens. Editing and black and white conversion was carried out using Lightroom 5.5

 

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

Images remain copyright Ian Forsyth/ Getty Images