The Bempton Gannets

Work-row-work-sleep-repeat. Such has been my life of late, but thanks to a few weeks of unemployment thoughts of exploration and photography have been waking up my creative brain ever so slowly! Let’s see how long it lasts…


Bempton Cliffs, East Riding of Yorkshire

Seeing the gannets this year was a big one on my wish list. Initially I was thinking of going to see them in Ireland, but when I looked at the weight of my wallet I decided against it and went for a quick 2-day trip up to Bempton Cliffs instead. I had been to Bempton before, about 3 years ago on a group trip, but all I could remember was being insanely cold, it being a bit drizzly and having to fight against the wind with all my might. It was so much better this time around! I had better weather, I was prepared, I was free to go at all times of the day (i.e. very early in the morning), and it was far less busy (going outside of peak times does that…). I can’t recommend the area highly enough to anyone looking for some great coastal scenery (you can walk all the way round to Flamborough head) along with some brilliant photography – gannets, puffins, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes and even a few barn owls! Plus it’s all very accessible and the cliff area is fairly contained.




I didn’t really know what to say about this trip on here, but while I was walking around I realized there were a few things that my past ventures have taught me and listen to them paid huge dividends in terms of my enjoyment. So in case you’re interested, here they are –

  1. No matter what you do – always prepare for cold weather. It had been pretty warm the week leading up to my trip, but the weather dropped by several degrees around the time that I went up north, and I ended up wearing my down jacket for most of the trip and even dipped into my thermal trouser underlayers. It will always be colder by the coast, and take a few more degrees of wind chill off to get your actual dawn temperature! Oh, and bring gloves!
  2. It’s always worth paying for a B&B. It was nearly May, which meant getting up at 4.30am to get to location on time. It’s still chilly, and nighttime temperatures could drop to low single digits. You might want to go home during the middle of the day to faff, or take a nap. There’s sand everywhere and your fingers go numb. Yes, you will want a comfortable room with a proper shower and space to sprawl out. Trust me.
  3. Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Check the sunrise forecast, look at the probability of rain and high winds, and then go anyway. Yes, there may be nothing that comes of it. But clouds are usually an enriching factor in sunrise shots, and can reflect the light beautifully – all you need is a single gap for the light to penetrate through.
  4. Take off the telephoto lens. How many frame-filling shots of a gannet sitting down do you need? I always like to bring my wide-angle lens, not only because it covers a range of shots but it also forces me to think slightly differently and try something new.


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2 thoughts on “The Bempton Gannets

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