Steve Robinson Glass Art

Steve robinson wall art

Steve Robinson Wall Art in the Gallery

I was so fortunate to attend a morning at Steve Robinson, Glass Art in St Davids a few weeks ago. It was a trade day courtesy of Pembrokeshire Tourism and gave us an idea of what visitors to Steve’s studio might expect if they were to book onto one of his workshops.

 

Steve is the very talented chap that has created the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards that I have been lucky enough to win over the last 2 years for ‘Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast’. I have always wanted a piece of his work, and now I have 2 very special pieces!

Award 2014 given by Pembrokeshire Toursim

Pembrokeshire Finest Breakfast Award 2014

Steve Robinson trophy awarded by Pembrokeshire Tourism

Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast Award 2013

 

Steve’s studio is stunning and will leave you wanting to buy oodles to take home. I really liked the Puffin piece, I thought it was quite fitting for the B&B as we have the puffins so close by and also have so many guests staying that take the trip onto the island to visit them. Try as I might though, I could not find a ‘place’ in the B&B that it might fit in with. Maybe when I next redecorate we’ll have a different colour scheme and it can take pride of place then!

Steve Robinson puffins

Puffin Wall Art

Steve Robbinson Whitesands Bay, Pembrokeshire

Whitesnads Bay, Pembrokeshire

You may have seen some of Steve’s work for sale in John Lewis, for example-they stock his lovely range of splash backs for kitchens. His studio was full of wall pieces, bowls and tea light covers-it was the tea light covers that we were going to be having a go at making.

 

The glass is coloured with powdered enamels(I may not be technically correct here, this is what I remember!). I decided to do an underwater type scene -my vision was a seahorse floating in lovely blue water above a sandy sea bed.  Steve helped with the colours, as they don’t mirror the colour when it’s in its’ powdered state once it has gone through the kiln, so occassionally I was picking up the wrong sand type colours and blues!

 

Steve Robinson Tea Panel Workshop

My panel in the making

Between us all there were many different designs and colours, the majority of us did seem to favour the blues and greens though-probably because a lot of Steve’s wares were highlighting those colours as we walked in, I guess.

 

So, once you have scattered your various powders and settled on your vision, you then scatter some grey powder which causes the glass to create bubbles-perfect for an underwater scene. Then a second piece of glass is popped on the top of the piece you have been working on- carefully so not to disturb your creative scatterings and thetwo pieces of glass, as one, are then placed in the kiln.

 

Steve Robinson kiln

My panel ready in the kiln for firing!

The glass is fired in the kiln at some ridiculous temperature(I can’t remember what!) and a day after, hey presto!

 

We had to wait a day for it all to cool properly before we could collect it. I waited with baited breath…did my seahorse shape stay enough for someone else to ‘see’ it was a sea horse???

 

Well, you tell me…..

Steve Robinson finished panel

My finished Tea Light Panel

I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed my morning and I am so pleased and proud of what I have achieved. My panel has pride of place in the large blue bathroom, as it suits the colour scheme in there.

 

If you would like to try your hand at Glass Art, you can book day and half day workshops with Steve here http://www.steverobinsonglass.com/

If you would like to take home a fantastic memory of Pembrokeshire, I would highly recommend it!

Foe information about Pembrokeshire Tourism, click here

Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast available at Fields Lodge!

 

Gold Award winner 2014I am very proud to report that Fields Lodge has been awarded for the second year running, the title of ‘The Finest Breakfast in Pembrokeshire’.

 

The awards, as given by Pembrokeshire Tourism and the breakfast category sponsored by Pembrokeshire County Council, were judged by two independant judges who came to sample my breakfast offering many months ago in July. I had just returned from a short break away, the following day being the day chosen for the Breakfast Judging.

 

My own Masterchef!

I was first to be judged, which meant I went straight from a busy breakfast service, straight into welcoming the judges.

award1

 

It was my very own little ‘Masterchef’ competition! Cooking up various items from the breakfast menu and waiting whilst they were tasted, was, for me, nerve racking. I love to cook for people and want nothing more than to provide a really great breakfast and breakfast experience-which, going by comments and reviews, I do achieve…but having to be judged is another game all together!

 

Anyway, after creating a usual Fields Lodge Cooked Breakfast, Cnwd(guest producer that week) Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Egg on a hot buttered muffin, Smoked Haddock with Tato Cymru (which is my name for a crispy potato cake cooked with Welshman’s Caviar-dried and toasted Laver seaweed, courtesy of The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company)topped with a poached egg and served with hollandaise sauce, lovely kippers from Milford Docks and never mind the local berries and fruit selection,  homemade granola, yoghurts, bircher muesli and smoothies, all finished off with homemade bread toasted and topped off with homemade preserves, the judges were bloated before moving on! Phew!

My 1950 Aga, did me proud, cooking everything and making it all taste so yummy, it’s a pleasure to cook on and show off to anyone who is interested, it really is like a member of the family and it does have it’s off days…wind…it really doean’t like the wind! Yesterday I made a lovely multi grain loaf that normally takes 45 mins to an hour to bake…..I took it out of the oven at 8pm-I started it at 9.30!! The wind had sucked all the heat out of the Aga and because it stayed windy all day, it just had no chance to catch up and get back up to heat. That’s the downside of Aga living here, it’s deceptively high here so we catch the wind coming striaght off the heads of the river and of course, I never know how the Aga has been affectted overnight until I come in to start breakfasts in the morning!

 The Awards

Coming back to the awards, they were presented in the Wolfscastle Hotel, just outside of Haverfordwest. The Wolfscastle is my favourite place to eat in Pembrokeshire, it offers fabulous food from a great chef(he appeared on Masterchef!), the service is really great and the surroundings are modern and newly refurbished. It ticks all the boxes for me.

Wolfscastle1

Ceasar Salad with hot smoked salmon

Wolfscastle

There were many categories of award, and it was lovely to see so many people receiving recognition. For a full list, please check out Pembrokeshire Tourism’s site.

Whilst the awards were being presented I waited with baited breath, not really being able to enjoy my meal as the awards were next. The competition was strong, the 2 other B&Bs that made the finals to be judged I know offer great quality breakfasts and are equally as good cooks, we  all promote Pembrokeshire and Local Produce and use this extensively, so for me, any one of us could have won. I was delighted to hear that I had been judged the winner!

Award made by Steve Robinson

Award made by Steve Robinson

 

The award, created by Steve Robinson in St Davids, is really lovely. An absolute pleasure to have as pride of place as you enter my hallway and I couldn’t be more pleased. It’s very satisfying to have my dedicated work and enthusiasm to do a great job for visitors and Pembrokeshire recognised and acknowledged!

 

For more information:

http://www.steverobinsonglass.com/

http://www.holiday-pembrokeshire.co.uk/

www.beachfood.co.uk

Foodie Heaven in Narberth

Narberth Food 20143

The last weekend of September saw the Narberth Food Festival coming to town.

This is a festival with a wonderful atmosphere and plenty of seats!

There are delights galore if you like your food, there’s a beer tent and live music playing in the outside area and inside the marquee there are many, many independent food retailers from the local area and beyond. Infact, you can enhoy a 3 course meal from all the tasters that are on offer!

My first stop is some lovely local coffee from Preseli Coffee Roasters together with a Devilishy Good Brownie, from the company of the same name. I have a wander around all the stalls to see what’s on offer (deciding to go later on the day and buy), check out the demonstration timings and the talks timings and then decide what to do next!

 

I settled with my coffee and cake to wait for the first demonstration, which was chamged at the last minute from the advertised chef to Kate Morgan from Pembs County Council, who jumped into the breach and saved the day(or the first demo, at least). Kate did a sterling job on profiling our local leeks and explained the product mark that the producers are trying to obtain, to identify them as being ‘Welsh Leeks’ in the same way as ‘Welsh Lamb’ is identified.

I then ended up sitting through a few more demonstrations, watching some fantastic chefs-Lisa Fearn from the Pumpkin Patch, Stephen Terry from the Hardwick in Abergavenny-who was responsible for cooking for the President and all the delegates at the recent NATO conference held in Wales. He entertained us with many stories and was most enjoyable to watch.

Stephen TerryStephen Terry at Narberth

 

 

I then had a break to find some lunch, which I enjoyed with the Pembrokeshire Beach Company-I chose one of their Seashore Wraps-crab, seaweed, spring onions and many other things in a cooked flour tortilla- yummy.

After watching a talk by the same Pembs Beach Company (they’ve won many awards for their produce), I enjoyed a taster of their Fish Chowder. It’s not something I would ever choose to order, to be honest, but it was absolutely fantastic, and I have been converted, well and truly!

Fish Chowder

Then I headed back to the demos to watch Will Holland, head chef of Pembs newest ‘nice’ restaurant-Coast. Coast overlooks Coppit Sands at Saundersfoot, with a stunning view- I have been over once myself and it is on my ‘to-do’ list to go again.

 

Will demonstrated a pudding dish from their festive menu coming up. It sounded a bit strange, but it did taste superb, and I will definately be making it this week. It’s no good for diets, however!

After the demos, I started going back to the stalls to buy-it was late afternoon by then, and dispaoointingly for me, but great for the stall holders…much of what I did want had sold out-to be refreshed tomorrow…so, it’s a good excuse to go the following day too!

Once you’ve finished at the festival, you can then pop to the Queens Hall to the Pembrokeshire Craftmakers Exhibition-full of Artisan crafts, really good quality. And then, if you have any stamina left, you can wander down the high street in Naarberth and enjoy the lovely boutique shops…I was far too weary and I’d bought that much, that my bag was way too haevy to be wandering anywhere but back to the car! But, again, that makes a really good excuse to go back to Narberth on another day, as it’s a truly unique high street.

 

So, inspired by the demos and all the lovely food on offer, I made some lovely bread ready for breakfast the following morning and enjoyed a tasty steak stuffed with pate and stilton, courtesy of Andrew Rees butchers for our supper. Bang goes the diet again!

NArberth Food 20145

 

 

Ironman comes to Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Ironman comes to Pembrokeshire

Swimmers Ironman Wales

2000 swimmers starting their race

40,000 people recently descended on Pembrokeshire, Tenby, in particular to watch or take part in Ironman Wales.

Running shoes waiting

Running shoes waiting to be collected after the swim

This challenging competition is run over 1 day, with a sea swim, biked ride and then topped off with a full marathon! It’s not for the faint hearted and it is deserved of it’s name!

My friend Gills’ son, Neil was in the competition-the second time for him and I also had a guest staying who was here to cheer on her sister, who was also competing.

Over 2000 men and women entered, with over 190 being from Pembrokeshire.

Swimmers prosession

The swimmers procession down to the start of the swim

The day started at 5 am for us(on my day off!!!!), getting up so that we could drive to Carew to pick up the Park & Ride that the council had put on, as all the roads around Tenby would be closed due to the race. The Park & Ride ran very well, getting us into Tenby for 6.15am, and already the town was filling up, with Ironmen in their wet suits being spotted getting ready for their swim!

The swim start time was 7am, and there were thousands of people standing all over looking the beach ready to cheer them on.

Sun Rising

The sun rising just as the swam began

The sea got more choppy as time went on, so the slower swimmers did have the hardest job-they had to swim 2 laps within 1 hour 15 mins to be able to carry onto the next leg-the bike ride.

 

I was standing next to a family who were supporting the husband competing in the race-he had previously done a half Ironman in Bolton, and they were amazed by how many people had turned out to cheer on the competitors, they said the atmosphere was much better in Pembrokeshire! (Yaay!!)

After the swim, the competitors had to run to transition to get onto their bikes and cycle all over south Pembs, before coming back to transistion to change into running shoes to finish with a full marathon.

 

Neil was hoping to get within a 12 hours finishing time, and all the family was there to support him.

The day started at 7am, and the competitors had until midnight that night to get all 3 stages completed, with individual deadlines in place for each stage, complete it within the deadline or be disqualified and therefore unable to continue.

 

As it happened, Neil did tremendously well, finishing faster than some of the professionals, with a final time of 11 hours, 30 mins and a position of 126-go Neil!! I must find out what he had for breakfast!!

Neil on his last lap

Neil enjoying his last lap!

What’s his next challenge going to be??

 

Getting Activated!!

Granola finished

The finished product, fructose free Granola!

I have been reading quite a bit lately on the benefit of ‘activating’ nuts before use. I hadn’t heard of it until recently, and then, of course, once you start delving you find out loads!

In a nutshell(no pun intended), nuts in their natural state contain toxins in their husks that are hard for our bodies to digest. Soaking and then drying them causes them to sprout, which activate enzymes that make them easier to digest. It produces a crunchier and a bit toastier version of the original nut, I must say I can’t really tell much difference in taste. Almonds (have you seen the price for a small tin??), walnuts, pistachios, pecans and pumpkin seeds work best, while the ‘oiler’ nuts such as macadamias or cashews can go a little soggy, so only soak these for 6 hours.

So, what do you do?

Get Activating!

Soak your nuts overnight

Soak your nuts overnight

Soak the nuts overnight in water and a little salt in a covered bowl of water. Drain then spread out into a single layer and dry in the oven for 12-24 hours, depending on how low you can get your oven. On a gas oven, just the pilot light is sufficient. In my Aga, I found that 6 hours dried out the cashews ok in the bottom oven but the other nuts needed longer and I ended up burning them, hence I discovered the top of the cooler cooking plate does a fine job over nearly 24 hours!

Drying out

Drying out

 

Once they’re done, you can store them in an airtight container in the freezer and use them straight from there, as they don’t actually freeze!

I have learn’t this in the main from reading the I Quit Sugar book, which then led me onto further reading.

So, now I have my activated nuts, I need to do something with them!

 What Next??

I have tried a new Granola recipe, which is fructose free, which is great for anyone trying to follow the IQS eating plan, or just generally wanting to be healthier, as there is no sugar in this recipe. It’s very yummy, and I do believe is nicer than my previous recipe, which, although healthy, did have honey in it, which is 40% fructose. This recipe uses Rice Malt Syrup(if you want it a bit sweeter), which is a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose & glucose, which means it’s a relatively slow releasing sweetener, so doesn’t cause those sugar spikes, that eventually end up with the munchies..well they do with me!

All cooled, made into Granola and ready to store

All cooled, made into Granola and ready to store

 

Granola

1 Cup Dessicated coconut

2 Cups mixed nuts(activated) roughly chopped-I used walnuts, almonds, cashews,pecans & pumpkin seeds

2 Cups Rolled Oats (I prefer the jumbo ones)

2 tablespoons of Chia Seeds (I used white)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

80g Coconut oil, melted

3 tablespoons Rice Malt Syrup (if you want it sweeter)

Combine all the ingreedients

Spread on lined baking tray

Bake at 120c or gas 1/2 until golden, turning halfway through cooking time (approx 20 mins)

Allow to cool then store in an airtight container

Then enjoy!!!

 

 

 

 

Fabulous Birds of Prey above Picton Castle

Pembrokeshire Falconry1

 

I was recently fortunate enough to encounter Pembrokeshire Falconry at Picton Castle, as part of a trade day with Pembrokeshire Tourism. I had already bought an ‘Owl Walk’ as a gift for my parents as a Christmas present, but we had yet to use it, so this was a great way to see what might happen at Picton Castle.

 

Picton Castle

Pembrokeshire Falconry4

The venue for our hawk adventure was Picton Castle, a fairytale castle just outside of Haverfordwest, which is open to the public giving guided tours and has  40 acres of ground to explore, plants to buy and a fabulous cafe serving the best Tapas! If you look back through my blog, you’ll see a piece written on my visit there last year.

 

Pembrokeshire Falconry

The guys at Pembrokeshire Falconry are really caring about their birds and have great stories to tell you. Their latest aquisition is an American Eagle, which they are in the process of training-which is a slow process to ensure they have a happy bird for the length of its life. To find out more about Pembrokeshire Falconry and how they look after their birds, then please click: http://www.pembrokeshire-falconry.co.uk/

Pembrokeshire Falconry

 

History Galore

As you take the walk around the grounds of Picton Castle and through their woods, you are given a history lesson and will be amazed at the facts that you will encover…so many of our sayings and words are derived from Falconry over the ages. For instance, ‘mantle’ as in the mantle over the fire place- mantlepiece it went onto be, is derived from Falconry. When the hawks(and I saw this myself) go in for a kill, they spread their wings right out and around their prey to stop other birds pinching it, this is called mantling, and you can see how the form they make is similar to that of a mantlepiece over a fire-I’ve taken a picture of it, just as the hawk was landing. The hawks, when I watched this were following a dummy rabbit that the guys in Pembrokeshire Falconry had trailed on a piece of string to make it look like a real rabbit from above!

Pembrokeshire Falconry3

Other phrases such as ‘under the thumb’ , ‘wrapped round his little finger’ and ‘old codger’ all come from Falconry, but I will leave you find out how they came about when you take your own Hawk or Owl Walk!

Pembrokeshire Falconry can be found out and about around the county, offering displays at other venues as well as individual events-if you get a chance, then do take the opportunity to get involved.

 

I can highly recommend it!

Pembrokeshire Falconry2

This is me holding the male Harris Hawk!! I ended our adventure, not with a breakfast but with yummy Tapas coutesy of Maria at the cafe in Picton Castle.  For more info on Picton Castle http://www.pictoncastle.co.uk/

Crust to Crumb…

A Wholesome start to the day!

 

Bread making1

I was very fortunate recently to attend a Vic North baking class at her home just outside Cardigan. I particularly wanted to learn more about making bread with sourdough. I had learned about this in more detail on a Ffres trip I made to Gozo towards the end of last year, to investigate locally produced food. Here, in a bakery, they were making bread in a wood fired oven from a starter that had begun it’s life over 50 years previously, and was something they called the ‘mother dough’. It sounded quite complicated and slightly confusing, so I just stuck with packet yeast for my own bread making for my Pembrokeshire Breakfasts!

 

Anyway, a course presented itself just recently via Pembrokeshire Tourism, so I snapped up a place. Vicky is a lovely lady, very patient(she would have to be with me!) and took us through a very busy day full of bread Bread making2making of many different sorts-we started with a wholemeal, then soda bread, then bread sticks, then a tear and share pesto and garlic loaf and lastly we came away with a sourdough loaf in it’s own proving bowl made and ready to prove overnight in our own fridges, so we could take it out the next morning, bake it and offer it to my guests! The heat of the car coming home however, made it start to expand to such a degree that Sue(my B&B friend that also nabbed a place) & I were concerned we were going to be smothered in sourdough! I’m pleased to report that it survived and baked well the following day..guests most appreciative!

 

My go!bread making3

So, I have been ‘dabbling’ ever since, and have successfully made a few good loaves-all going down well with guests and family alike. I am still struggling a little with fitting the whole 24 hours, starter dough business correctly into my day…you need a window of about 24 hours to make this bread from start to finish…but practice will make perfect I’m sure!

 

If you’re interested in attending a Vic North Bakes class, you can find more information here: www.vicnorth.co.uk/

For more information on Ffres: www.ffres.org or Pembrokeshire Tourism: www.holiday-pembrokeshire.co.uk/

Would Henry Tudor like my Breakfasts?

 Time For a Run??

It’sSteve Robinson trophy April and it’s blue skies, so a very keen guest decided to get out on thePembrokeshire  Coast Path, which we are situated on, and enjoy an early morning run before coming back to one of my Award Winning Breakfasts-’Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast’, no less-as judged  by Pembrokeshire County Council for the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards in April last year.

 

The route my guest took was across the circular walk at Dale, encompassing St Anns Head-just under 8 miles and takes in some great history.

History on our doorstep

For those of you that have enjoyed the BBC Drama The White Queen and then the books of Phillipa Gregory, this is a must do walk-personally, I wouldnt be running it! You may remember in The White Queen that the  other ‘Margaret’-Margaret Stanley (not the Red Queen) had a son, Henry, in Pembroke Castle-husband died and she married Lord Stanley, while at the same time her son took refuge in France with Jasper Tudor (his Uncle). In the WQ eventually Richard takes the crown after his brother (the King) dies and the other brother being drowned in a vat of red wine. Well,  HenryVII,  once he has grown makes sail to land in Wales and has in mind to take the Crown.

The route taken today by my guest takes in Mill Bay, where Henry VII landed in 1485 and then made march through Wales and across England, gaining support as he went,  to finally defeat Richard III at Bosworth.

Butts Bay Mill bay Henry Tudor

I am sure the coastline hasn’t changed much from when Henry landed, and to imagine 55 Ships and 4000 men coming ashore at Mill Bay and making their way along the Coast Path up towards Aberystwyth, is astounding when you are actually there. It must’ve been such a difficult trek, especially with all that armour and the supplies they must’ve needed! If I had been open back then, perhaps Henry would’ve liked to have had one of my breakfasts to sustain him through the day!

Time for Refreshment?

If this inspires you to take the circular walk, I recommend parking in Dale Car park, as, when you return you can enjoy some well earned refreshment at The Griffin, the excellent local pub situated right on Dale front, overlooking the water. One of my favourite pastimes in the Summer evenings is to spend an hour or so with a little drink (gin & tonic or a nice cold cider)  leaning on the beach wall watching the world go by and the sun go down! The Griffin has an excellent reputation for food, with many of the fresh fish dishes comprising of fish brough in directly off the pontoon at the front of the pub. Many guests return to Fields Lodge saying what a good meal they had! http://www.griffininndale.co.uk/

If you’d like to read more about other things to do in Pembrokeshire then click here: http://www.fieldslodge.co.uk/blog/category/things-to-do-pembrokeshire/

Enjoying Mexican @ Halen Mor

 

 

 

 

Halen Mor Tortilla

 

5 Courses- £15!

Mexican Communal Dining was the order of the day at Halen Mor last night. A 5 course Mexican inspired meal with some suitable cocktails-my favourite Margerita. The picture above is of the second course, Queso fundido
3 cheese fondue with mozzarella, cheddar and feta with homemade mexican style chorizo, spicy tomato salsa and crispy flour tortillas. Quality food was evident throughout the night.

 

The first course was a Salmon and avocado course:Tequila cured salmon ceviche with avocado green chilli and fresh lime, followed by the Tortilla pictured above-these were so nice we asked for a second bowl! Then we moved onto a pork dish, Pork Pibil:
A pork casserole with habanaro chilli and achiote with Mexican green rice, black bean stew, pickled cucumber salad and re fried beans. 
This was finished with a  Palate cleanser-
Mango, lime and star anise granita. Then onto the l
ast course, a scrumptious avocado and spiced green apple puff pastry parcel with smoked peach sorbetto. For me, the smoked peach was a bit too smoked, but I am not a fan of smoked foods normally!

Quality Food

Halen Mor pride themselves on offering good quality food, rather like myself with my Breakfast produce. I believe that if you start with good quality ingredients then, hopefully, you can always improve your food further! Adam, the chef, prides himself on producing great plates for diners to enjoy and like myself with my breakfasts, I like to see empty plates coming back into the kitchen!

Greek Night

Halen Mor opened their doors a little before Christmas 2013 and have already built up a good following of foodies and regularly hold Communal Dining Evenings- the next one being Greek on 8th, 9th & 10th April.

Greek Menu

Their phone number is: 01646 693017. If you’re interested in going then do ring up and book your table early as these seats do go quickly!

For more eating out experiences read  here: http://www.fieldslodge.co.uk/blog/?s=eating

 

 

 

 

Andy Davies Photography Courses

Andy Davies runs photography workshops in our area, a few of Andy’s students have stayed with me and have praised his skill and patience when dealing with all levels of photographer. I have included here his list of workshops if you fancy improving your photography skills-and of course, you can stay with me here in Fields Lodge whilst you undertake them!

Skomer Island Photography Workshop

Andy Davies Puffin

Join professional Welsh photographer and lecturer, Andy Davies, for an unforgettable day on Skomer Island learning how to use your digital camera to capture the stunning landscapes and rich wildlife. This is a truly world class destination and the memories will stay ingrained for a lifetime. The unique experience of being within inches of the iconic puffins will remain ingrained forever and one can just imagine Sir David Attenborough commentating in the background.

Andy provides hands-on expert tuition to small groups who are guided in taking control of their camera to capture memorable images. Whether a complete beginner, enthusiast, aspiring professional or seasoned photographer, Andy provides comprehensive tuition to suit all levels in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. There is plenty of time throughout the workshop for one-to-one tuition when topics of your interest can be explored.

The Workshop is run in association with the Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales and Dale Sailing so participants by special arrangement have pre-booked, guaranteed places on the first crossing of the day on the Dale Princess, returning on the last boat of the day giving us as much time as possible on the island. We have privileged use of the library in the Warden’s House to review images on a computer if we need to shelter from a shower.

Workshops begin in April when the puffins, guillemots and razorbills are busy building nests and courting and the beach in North Haven is crammed full of Atlantic grey seals. An unmissable landscape panorama unfolds in May when the island is covered with a carpet of bluebells and red campion. The end of May to mid-July is the time to capture the iconic shot of a comical puffin with an impossible number of sandeels crammed in its beak. The last couple of weeks of July may afford the opportunity to see a puffling exercising its wings at the entrance to the burrow. See here for a Year in the Life of a Puffin.

There is still plenty to photograph in August with herring and lesser black-backed gulls often posing on rocky outcrops. We tend to explore the whole island at this time of the year giving an opportunity to capture the great landscapes around the coast. The year culminates in the seal pupping season from late August through to the end of October.

For recommended accommodation see here and for a video of Andy giving a workshop on Skomer click here. News and images can be found on Andy’s Facebook page here. Workshop reviews from participants can be found on Tripadvisor here.

Workshop dates for 2014
April 3rd, 11th, 17th, 22nd, 25th
May 1st, 6th, 9th, 15th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, 29th
June 3rd, 7th, 12th, 17th, 21st, 26th
July 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 19th, 24th, 29th
September TBA
October TBA

Further information here http://www.andydavies.info/pages/workshops/skomer.html

Andy Davies flower

National Trust Stackpole NNR Photography Workshop
The National Trust’s Stackpole National Nature Reserve is the venue for a day in the company of Welsh profesional photographer and lecturer, Andy Davies, who will provide hands-on expert tuition to small groups who are introduced to the essentials of creative photography. This is an exceptionally diverse wildlife location offering one of the best chances to photograph a resident family of otters in the UK.

The Bosherston ponds are at their best when the lilies are in flower at the end of May and the woodlands are carpeted in bluebells and wild garlic. Other subjects of interest are herons, mute swans, damselflies, dragonflies and butterflies. Awe inspiring landscapes abound with Barafundle and Broad Haven being two of the most picturesque beaches in Wales. The autumn woodland colours are spectacular and make for superb landscape compositions when reflected in the ponds.

Whether a complete beginner, enthusiast, aspiring professional or seasoned photographer, Andy provides comprehensive tuition to suit all levels in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. There is plenty of time throughout the workshop for one-to-one tuition when topics of your interest can be explored.

We meet at 9.15am for an introductory talk at the National Trust’s Stackpole Education Centre and the day is then spent visiting various locations in the Reserve. Instruction is informal and conducted as we work our way around the ponds, woodland and beaches. The course finishes at 3.15pm.
Workshop dates for 2014
February 26th
March 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th
April 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th
May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th
June 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th
July 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th
September TBA
October TBA

Further information here http://www.andydavies.info/pages/workshops/stackpole.html

Andy Davies st brides

St. Brides & Marloes Peninsula Photography Workshop

St. Brides Castle, our base for this Workshop, is a 19th century baronial country mansion, spectacularly set within the some of the most picturesque scenery of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The Castle is surrounded by 99 acres of mature parkland and bordered by Old Red Sandstone cliffs which are stunning when bathed with evening light and assaulted by Atlantic surf. The woodland has a superb carpet of bluebells and red campion in the spring.

The Marloes Peninsula is one of the top landscape destinations in the UK with impressive views over Jack Sound to Skomer Island and, just to the south, the majestic Marloes Sands. Wooltack Point is a particularly good location for watching porpoise and plunge-diving gannets and the coves are full of seal pups from late August to the end of December.

The large tidal range here of almost 8 meters allows a stunning variety of marine life to be discovered in the myriad of rockpools exposed during low spring tides at St Brides Haven, a stone’s throw from the Castle. The area has a diverse range of coastal birds including the charismatic chough and soaring fulmar petrel as well as a number of raptors such as peregrine falcons which nest nearby.

This workshop caters for all skill levels, from complete beginners to aspiring professionals. Your tutor is Andy Davies, a professional photographer and lecturer, who provides hands-on expert tuition to small groups who are initially taken back to the fundamentals of photography, rapidly progressing to having full creative control of either digital compact cameras with manual capability or digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) with interchangeable lenses. There is plenty of time throughout the workshop for one-to-one tuition when topics of your interest can be explored.

Workshop dates for 2014
Alternative dates are available.
February 25th
March 11th, 25th
April 8th

Further information here http://www.andydavies.info/pages/workshops/st_brides_castle.html