South West with The Weatherman
- Thursday 12 May 2011
I’ve just got back from a quick two day hit to south west England to finish off photography for the second edition of our South West Mountain Biking guidebook. I’d already shot the Quantocks and a big chunk of Exmoor last year, and we have some Dartmoor images already, so the focus of this trip was to shoot the remaining Dartmoor and Exmoor images. My partner for the trip was John ‘The Weatherman’ Horscroft and he did a sterling job of riding and re-riding sections of trail while giving the impression he was having a good time (although I secretly think that he was!).
Day 1 on Dartmoor saw all kinds of weather. After an early start near Okehampton we shot the local trails, many of which were flanked by late season bluebells. (Incidentally I’ve never seen so many bluebells in the UK as I did on this short trip!) After a quick memory card meltdown we gradually made our way south and then into moody and remote central Dartmoor, knocking off locations and shots as we went. After a quick (expensive!) lunch in the quite weird Two Bridges, and a brief rest while it rained and hailed, we continued east and then north, finishing the day at the stunning Hound Tor. The scenery in this part of Dartmoor is amazing, with beautiful craggy tors all around.
Having driven up to Exmoor after finishing off in Dartmoor we kicked off day 2 in Lynton, working gradually east and knocking off yet more quality spots. It always surprises me just how quickly the scenery changes in Exmoor, from the obvious coastal, to moorland, to verdant agricultural land, and then moorland again.
There's some great riding in the south west, and I think the Quantocks is one of my favourite riding areas in the country after the Peak and the Lakes. Dartmoor always blows me away with its beauty and there's excellent riding too, while Exmoor is full of surprises – the brilliant descent into Porlock Weir and the ace trails in Horner Wood being two examples.
We’re flowing the images into the book now and we’ll have it at print within the week. It should be in book shops and bike shops in July, and of course we’ll be running a pre-order offer direct. Watch this space.