Walk on the Ocean Floor at Hopewell Rocks, Canada!

What’s more relaxing than walking on a beach?

img_2912Well at Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick, Canada, they claim you can go one step better (no pun intended) and ‘Walk on the ocean floor.

img_2905The Rocks are located on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy, which boasts the highest tides in the World. The action of water rushing in and out of the bay for thousands of years has eroded the area’s dark-red sandstone cliffs, forming spectacular structures often referred to as the Flowerpot rocks. No prizes for figuring out why!

img_2269 img_2897In 2009, I was twice lucky enough to walk on the ocean floor around the Hopewell Rocks. And I firmly hope it won’t be the last time I get the opportunity!

img_2254 img_2264 img_2265 img_2266 img_2267This post was inspired by the photo themes of Rock Paper Scissors from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Relax from Hakan of The Daily Post, together with Cee’s Which Way Challenge and Jo’s Monday Walk.

img_2902 img_2903 img_2904 img_2910 img_2905 img_2911 img_2913 img_2917img_2921the-great-migration-coverthe-pride-of-london-coverThe first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes early next year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

jaspas-journey-logo-bigger-bucketIf you’re the sort of person that loves experiencing the wonders of nature on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

Posted in Adventure, Canada, Environment, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The Shard, London: Part 2 – The Building

Another thought occurs to Ben. “What did you mean before? When you said that Canary Wharf has the tallest buildings at the moment?”

“Ah-ha!” replies his dad. “Well work’s already begun in the City on a new skyscraper officially named the Pinnacle… But the biggest will be the Shard. It’s being built at the far end of London Bridge, directly across the river from here, and will be 66 storeys when complete. That’s a whopping 250 feet higher, give or take, than even One Canada Square.”

“Wow!” says Ben.

– Excerpt from Jaspa’s Journey 2: The Pride of London (written in 2008)

The River Thames and The Shard

The River Thames and The Shard

The Shard from the Millennium Bridge

The Shard from the Millennium Bridge

The Shard and Southwalk Cathedral

The Shard and Southwalk Cathedral

In fact, Ben’s dad got his facts a little confused in the excerpt above. The Shard comprises 65 inhabitable floors (72 if you include the View from the Shard observation area), but the tip of its spire actually topped out at the equivalent of 95 storeys above the ground.

Upper portion of The Shard, seen from the west

Upper portion of The Shard, seen from the northwest

The Shard's spire

The Shard’s spire

Early winter morning on London Bridge

Early winter morning on London Bridge

The Shard looms above London Bridge station

The Shard looms above London Bridge station

The Shard from London Bridge Street

The Shard from London Bridge Street

Another view of the spire

Another view of the spire

Looking up The Shard

Looking up The Shard

Main entrance canopy

Main entrance canopy

At 1016 feet, as the quote above says, the Shard is 245 feet taller than One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, London’s previous tallest building. This makes it the tallest building in Western Europe, and provides it with some of the best views in the World.

The River Thames and St. Paul's Cathedral through the windows of the observation area

The River Thames and St. Paul’s Cathedral through the windows of the observation area

The Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the East End

The Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the East End

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

South London

South London

Open air between the windows of the upper level of The View From The Shard observation area

Open air between the windows of the upper level of the View From The Shard observation area

Looking up inside the spire

Looking up inside the spire

For more views from the top of the Shard, visit my post from last week… The Shard, London: Part 1 – The View

There’s certainly something magical about how this tower of windows dwarfs everything else on the current London skyline. From a distance, it really does look like a giant crystal shard rising from the heart of the city.

The Shard from the east near sunset

The Shard from the east just before sunset

The Shard from near City Hall

The Shard from near City Hall

The Shard, City Hall and HMS Belfast from Tower Bridge

The Shard, City Hall and HMS Belfast from Tower Bridge

The Shard from the Tower of London

The Shard from the Tower of London

HMS Belfast and The Shard

HMS Belfast and The Shard

Looking east along the Thames

Looking east along the Thames

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Windows from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Distance from Jennifer Nichole Wells, and Magic from Jen of The Daily Post.

Central London, with The Shard on the right

Central London, with The Shard on the right

dsc_2577the-great-migration-coverthe-pride-of-london-coverThe first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes early next year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

jaspas-journey-logo-bigger-bucketIf you’re the sort of person that loves experiencing the wonders of culture and history on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

Posted in Adventure, History, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Shard, London: Part 1 – The View

The Pride of London is the second instalment in the Jaspa’s Journey collection of travel adventure novels for Kids 8-80. This time around, my friends and I embark on a whirlwind tour of London, attempting to solve the riddles of The Path in order to help our new friend Ernest, a Ratses, become a member of the clandestine Ses society known simply as The Pride.

To celebrate The Pride of London’s release, I thought it would be fun to do some posts that feature some of the places mentioned in the book.

Central London, with The Shard in the middle distance towards the left

Central London, with The Shard in the middle distance towards the left

I’m going to begin with a two-part piece about one of London’s major sites, The Shard. Ironically, The Shard gets only a brief mention in The Pride of London, since at the time the book was written, construction on building had only just begun. Just a few years later, The Shard has become one of the British capital’s most recognisable landmarks.

The River Thames and The Shard

The River Thames and The Shard

Standing 1016 feet tall, The Shard is a towering skyscraper of glass that dwarfs the rest of London. Looking down on the roofs of London from The View From The Shard (the observation galleries that take up the 68th to 72nd storeys) is hard to beat, even from the air.dsc_2571

At the top of The Shard!

At the top of The Shard!

Looking west along the Thames

Looking west along the Thames

The Shard's early morning shadow falls northwest across Central London

The Shard’s early morning shadow falls northwest across Central London

The West End, with the BT Tower on the right and Wembley Stadium in the distance

The West End, with the BT Tower on the right and Wembley Stadium in the distance

Looking east towards Canary Wharf - The pointy building is One Canada Square, the UK's tallest building before The Shard was constructed

Looking east towards Canary Wharf – The pointy building is One Canada Square, the UK’s tallest building before The Shard was constructed

Greenwich (looking east)

Greenwich (looking east)

South London

South London

Strata SE1

Strata SE1

Central London, with St. Paul's Cathedral

Central London, with St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral was the tallest building in London until 1939 (when it was topped by the chimneys of Battersea Power Station)

St. Paul’s Cathedral was the tallest building in London until 1939 (when it was topped by the chimneys of Battersea Power Station)

Battersea Power Station (to the west)

Battersea Power Station (to the west)

HMS Belfast, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, with the East End beyond

HMS Belfast, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, with the East End beyond

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

The Tower of London

The Tower of London

Traitor's Gate, the Tower of London

Traitor’s Gate, the Tower of London

The White Tower, the Tower of London

The White Tower, the Tower of London

Tower Bridge and City Hall (bottom right)

Tower Bridge and City Hall (bottom right)

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge's south tower

Tower Bridge’s south tower

The City of London - The 'Walkie Talkie' (20 Fenchurch Street: foreground left) has also joined the London Skyline since The Pride of London was written

The City of London – The ‘Walkie Talkie’ (20 Fenchurch Street: foreground left) has also joined the London Skyline since The Pride of London was written

The Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe)

The Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe)

The Monument - Where both the Great Fire of London and my adventures in London began

The Monument – Where both the Great Fire of London and my adventures in London began

The Millennium Bridge

The Millennium Bridge

Southwalk Cathedral

Southwalk Cathedral

Charing Cross station

Charing Cross station

Building trapped between the tracks outside London Bridge station

Building trapped between the tracks outside London Bridge station

London Bridge

The rather plain looking London Bridge

Looking west

Looking west

The London Eye

The London Eye

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

The Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament

If you look very carefully, you can see Nelson's Column in the centre of the photo

If you look very carefully, you can see Nelson’s Column in the centre of the photo

Royal Courts of Justice (the Law Courts)

Royal Courts of Justice (the Law Courts)

Even the biggest sights of London, many of which feature in The Pride of London, seem tiny from way up there. In fact, you can see the whole area in which my adventures take place, like a living version of the map at the start of the book.

pride-of-london-map-finalThis post was inspired by the photo themes of Roofs from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Ascending from Paula of Lost in Translation, and Tiny from Cheri of The Daily Post.

Feeling even more tiny than normal, looking down on the roofs of London

Feeling even more tiny than normal, looking down on the roofs of London

The first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes early next year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

If you’re the sort of person that loves experiencing the wonders of culture and history on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

 

Posted in Adventure, Jaspa's Journey, Travel, United Kingdom, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Tower of London ‘Poppies: Wave’ At Lincoln Castle

July 17th, 1914, marked the United Kingdom’s first full day of involvement in World War One. Exactly 100 years later, the moat of the Tower of London began to gradually fill with large ceramic poppies, in an art project named Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. By the time the installation was completed, on November 11th that year, the Tower’s moat held 888,246 poppies, one for each British or colonial military fatality in the so-called ‘War to End All Wars’.

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red (including Weeping Window) at sunrise (picture by Jeremy Selwyn)

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red (including Weeping Window) at sunrise
(picture by Jeremy Selwyn)

The massive undertaking was created by artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper. In addition to the moat full of poppies, it included two features called Wave, which crested the bridge visitors cross to enter the castle, and Weeping Window, in which poppies seemed to pour out of the Legge’s Mount bastion.

Poppies: Wave over the bridge leading to the Byward Tower (picture by LondonMetroGirl)

Poppies: Wave over the bridge leading to the Byward Tower (picture by LondonMetroGirl)

Although my escapades in the newly released Jaspa’s Journey adventure, The Pride of London, take me to the Tower of London, sadly I didn’t get there while the poppies were in place. Thankfully though, the Wave and Weeping Window sculptures are currently doing a tour of the UK. And I was lucky enough to see Poppies: Wave at Lincoln Castle this summer.

Poppies: Wave cresting Lincoln Castle's ramparts beside the Lucy Tower

Poppies: Wave cresting Lincoln Castle’s ramparts beside the Lucy Tower

dsc_8419 dsc_8422 dsc_8426 dsc_8427 dsc_8428 dsc_8429 dsc_8430 dsc_8431Despite comprising a tiny fraction of the poppies from the full project, Poppies: Wave was still and impressive sight. And although a few people claimed the entire Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was “prettified and toothless”, I for one found just this small part of it extremely moving.

dsc_8510dsc_8381 dsc_8373 dsc_8368dsc_8371img_6512

Panorama of Lincoln Castle from the top of the Observatory Tower - Poppies: Wave can be seen beyond the Lucy Tower on the left

Panorama of Lincoln Castle from the top of the Observatory Tower – Poppies: Wave can be seen beyond the Lucy Tower on the left

Lucy Tower and Poppies: Wave from the Observatory Tower

Lucy Tower and Poppies: Wave from the Observatory Tower

After Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was dismantled, UK households were able to buy a poppy, with the money raised going to charity. Below are a couple of photos of me with Rich’s Mum & Dad’s poppy, to give you an idea just how big and substantial they are.

dsc_8615dsc_8617The first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes early next year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

If you’re the sort of person that loves experiencing the wonders of nature and history on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

Posted in History, Photography, Travel, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pirate Capital’s Earthquake Battered Giddy House, Jamaica

In the late 17th Century, Port Royal in Jamaica was the pirate capital of the Caribbean. Which is why the British Royal Navy built Fort Charles there in 1655, in an attempt to control the turmoil of what was considered to be “the wickedest city in the World.”

Former entrance into Port Royal

Former entrance into Port Royal

In 1692, amid the chaos of the massive Jamaica Earthquake and resulting tsunami, a significant section of Port Royal was swallowed up by the sea, and much of the rest of the town was brought to ruins. In 1907, it was hit by the Kingston Earthquake, which was almost as devastating. Today the once rich and mighty city of Port Royal is little more than a village.

Main entrance to Fort Charles, Port Royal

Main entrance to Fort Charles, Port Royal

Although damaged by both earthquakes, Fort Charles still survives. During the Kingston Earthquake, one of the fort’s  Royal Artillery storehouses, built to hold gunpowder and weapons, partially sank into the shaking sand on which it was constructed.

The end wall and doorway of the Royal Artillery storehouse dips 15º to the south

The end wall and doorway of the Royal Artillery storehouse dips 15º to the south

The building came to rest at this precarious angle after the 1907 Kingston Earthquake

The building came to rest at this precarious angle after the 1907 Kingston Earthquake

Today, the building tips at an angle of around 15º. When you pass through the slanted doorway and enter the former storehouse, the tilt plays havoc with your head and balance, resulting in its nickname: the Giddy House.

Walking through the tilted entrance is a really strange sensation

Walking through the tilted entrance is a really strange sensation

And inside your balance is thrown into even more chaos

And inside your balance is thrown into even more chaos

img_6981This post was inspired by the photo themes of Entrances or Doors from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Traces of the Past from Paula of Lost in Translation, and Chaos from Ben of The Daily Post.

Entry to the Victoria and Albert Battery, which sank 8-10 feet into the sand of Port Royal during the 1907 earthquake

Entry to the Victoria and Albert Battery, which sank 8-10 feet into the sand of Port Royal during the 1907 earthquake

the-great-migration-coverthe-pride-of-london-coverThe first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes early next year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

jaspas-journey-logo-bigger-bucketIf you’re the sort of person that loves experiencing the wonders of nature and history on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

Posted in Caribbean, History, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Wheal Coates UNESCO Tin Mine, Cornwall

The scenery alone of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape UNESCO World Heritage Site is breathtaking, with its rugged hills and craggy coasts. But the widespread remains of the region’s long tin mining traditions make for something extra special.

dsc_1837During the Industrial Revolution, mining innovations pioneered in Cornwall spread around the World. Work in the mines in the 18th and 19th Centuries was bleak, and the effect on the countryside was often bleaker.

dsc_1851Yet the romance of time has transformed the grim mining ruins into enchanting locations with a historical legacy worthy of UNESCO World Heritage status.

dsc_1795The remains of the Wheal Coates tin mine lie on the north coast of Cornwall, within the St. Agnes Mining District, one of 10 districts defined within the World Heritage Area.

Whim engine houses and stack at Wheal Coates

Whim engine houses and stack at Wheal Coates

Stamps and Whim engine house from 1872

Stamps and Whim engine house from 1872

Mining at Wheal Coates dates back at least as far as the Middle Ages, but all the ruins visible today come from the period 1870-1914, the last time the mine was active. Today they are preserved by the National Trust.

Stamps and Whim engine house from 1872

Stamps and Whim engine house from 1872

Stamps and Whim engine houses

Stamps and Whim engine houses

Ironically, although the dramatic hillside ruins of the mine’s Towanroath Shaft engine house, perched high above plunging cliffs, is one of Cornwall’s most iconic images, the Wheal Coates mine itself was actually never really successful.

First glimpse of the Towanroath Shaft engine house

First glimpse of the Towanroath Shaft engine house

dsc_1802dsc_1811dsc_1818Built in 1870, the Towanroath engine house once held a steam engine that pumped water from a shaft over 600 feet below the ground, which extended far out under the sea.

dsc_1828dsc_1833dsc_1836Today it is a captivating testament to our industrial past, transformed into a mystical hillside spot to take a magical walk at sunset.

dsc_1834dsc_1853This post was inspired by the photo themes of Commercial or Industrial Buildings from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Hills from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?, Transmogrify from Michelle of The Daily Post, and Jo’s Monday Walk.

dsc_1847 dsc_1848 dsc_1850the-great-migration-coverthe-pride-of-london-coverThe first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes early next year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

jaspas-journey-logo-bigger-bucketIf you’re the sort of person that loves experiencing the wonders of nature and history on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

Posted in Environment, History, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

South Stack Lighthouse, Anglesey, Wales

Built above the cliffs on the tiny rugged islet of Ynys Lawd (South Stack), there’s no denying that South Stack Lighthouse commands a breathtaking location.

scan039Yet as with all lighthouses, South Stack’s positioning was determined by necessity, in this case protecting the ships sailing the Irish Sea off Anglesey. Not that this means we can’t enjoy this iconic Welsh lighthouse’s picturesque and dramatic setting.

scan040The first lighthouse was proposed at South Stack as far back as 1645, but construction of a beacon didn’t begin until 1808! The tower of the South Stack lighthouse is over 90 feet tall, perched atop cliffs that are themselves 135 feet high. These cliffs are home to all sorts of seabirds.

scan043scan041Located as it is on Wales’ west coast, the sunsets at South Stack can be spectacular!

scan042scan038scan037This post was inspired by the photo themes of Houses and/or Barns from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Shine from Nancy of The Daily Post.

The first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes early next year.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

If you’re the sort of person that loves experiencing the wonders of nature and history on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

Posted in Environment, Europe, History, Photography, Travel, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments