Now you that is spectacular. The cliffs at Bempton. Another Yorkshire Gem.
This world has so much to offer.
We travelled here yesterday. A visit to one of the countries best bird viewing sites. That good that the Northern Hemispheres only Albatross chooses here for a summer vacation. No albatross yesterday but we did see many sea birds and a rare chance to see a Short Eared Owl hunt over the fields. That’s some bird.
Hawklad is pushing the boundaries but under his terms. Avoiding crowds, avoiding people. The fact that he can’t face an over crowded classroom doesn’t mean that he can’t venture out. So what next…..
He has set himself some realistic goals for this year. Twelve ‘avoiding people’ targets. I’m signed up to them, so let’s see how many we can tick off during 2022 for him.
1. Visit the New Forest
2. Visit Sherwood Forest
4. Climb Yorkshire’s two highest mountains (they are small ones….)
5. Visit the Lake District and walk up one of England’s bigger mountains
6. Visit a new wildlife park
7. Go to see an Osprey hunt
8. Go for a torchlight walk on the Moors and get to see the stars with zero light pollution
9. Go to Scotland to see a Golden Eagle fly
10. Visit Stonehenge
11. Visit a new castle
12. Go for his longest ever walk
We also have a new golden rule. When we venture out, if a car park is ever half full or busier – then no questions asked, we don’t park. We continue on, find somewhere less busy or we head home.
Hopefully 2022 will show that you can avoid people and still have adventures.
Another early trip to the coast. Early means tiredness but it is good. At that time it is quiet. That is perfect for Hawklad. Normally you also get to witness the beauty of first light. NOT THIS DAY….
It was dreadful. Heavy rain, Misty, Windy, Cold. Within minutes of standing in the cliff viewing platform the weather had made its way through our coats and clothes. Today birdwatching was going to be a trial. A few intrepid (bonkers mad) souls were hoping to catch sight of one of the rarest birds. An Albatross. The only Albatross in the Northern Hemisphere. Albert has decided to make the Yorkshire coast one of his pit stops. Last year he spent 3 days here. This year it’s been a month so far. Resting on one particular spot on a steep cliff.
This was our fifth visit to try and see him. We had been lucky on one trip. Seeing him through a telescope on the cliff. But no luck seeing the true spectacle of an Albatross flying. The other visits – no luck. Albert spends a lot of time at sea, or further down the coast or flying to an island off Northern Germany.
Today was not looking hopeful. No sign as he has been last seen flying off to sea. The weather was trying to drive us back to the warmth of the car. The other mad souls had given up. After an hour that was enough for Hawklad and we dragged our sudden bodies back to the car park. But then a couple of men ran back. He might have been spotted. So we headed back to the cliff. NOTHING.
Must have been an earlier sighting. After 30 minutes it was enough for Hawklad again. But for some reason I said ‘5 more minutes’. NOTHING. I started to pack away the drenched binoculars when suddenly a shout. ‘What’s that’.
Amongst the Gannets, one much larger bird with black wings.
Unbelievably Albert the Albatross was there. For 5 glorious minutes he performed close fly passes. Sometimes no more than 20 yards away. These photos don’t do him justice.
Finally Albert settled on the cliff and rested. One chap shouted over that this was like a bird spotters dream that could never happen.
So a very wet Hawklad had seen his first ever Albatross. As a toddler he had a soft toy just like Albert. He loved it and always said he wanted to one day see one. Who would have thought that one would come to him. Now let’s hope Albert somehow finds his way back home. But while he is here he will bring so much joy to many.
But it just goes to show that even when things are seemingly against you. When it’s looking grey and tough. Great things can just be around the corner. DREAMS CAN COME TRUE.
Off to see the birds. We set off for the RSPB reserve at 8am in glorious weather. Son was in great spirits happily firing facts in my general direction. I certainly upped my Puffin knowledge which sadly is not difficult.
Unbelievably I found Bempton Cliffs first time. Everything is going to plan. Even remembered not one but two pairs of binoculars. One pair being so old it predates the discovery of glass.
Son had drawn up a detailed itinerary which included a picnic. I wasn’t particularly hopeful on the picnic front. The chef conjured that up at 3am in a state of some disrepair. Not so much Gordon Ramsey more Gordon The Big Tank Engine.
As per the itinerary we visited the first viewing location. Absolutely stunning. Son spotting many different types with the newer binoculars. The view was not so clear with my prehistoric viewing aids. The combination of lens scratches, permanent fogging and the inability to focus took me back to my University Drinking Days – and that was just my knackered old eyes. As for the ancient binoculars – might as well have been trying to look through two Yorkshire Puddings.
Unfortunately at the second viewing point the plan went to pot. Before I could react the really helpful (and clearly very nice) bird expert suddenly approached son and asked him if he wanted to see a juvenile Gannet taking its first sea swim. The sudden and unplanned social interaction completely spooked our son. I could see the terror in his eyes. Bravely he took a very quick look through the bird experts spotting scope to see the swimming bird. A minute later we were quickly exiting the reserve – meltdown in progress. An hour later we arrived back home.
That’s just part of our Aspergers world. You can plan all you like. Risk assess to the finest detail but you can’t plan for everything. It’s nobody’s fault. Not the bird experts, not the parent, certainly not our son’s. These things just happen. All you can do is get back to the safety of the home, pull up the drawbridge and settle in. Try to come up with as many distractions as possible. Red Dwarf and Marvel are great. Football outside is a winner. Important point to Dad – we have a small garden so don’t try to hammer the ball with a bit of bend in to the top corner of our small goal – son will wet himself as I launch the ball into orbit – somehow it landed in the garden TWO houses away.
Three big pluses from the day:
RSBP Bempton is absolutely stunning so well worth a visit.
The Gordon the Tank Engine made picnic was not to shoddy at all.
If you have your picnic on the trampoline with the safety net closed it keeps the bugs off the food.
And above all at the end of the day son is smiling and that is all that matters. It doesn’t matter how you get there – just end up smiling.