Flamborough Head

I’d been wanting to get a picture of Flamborough Head that did the beauty of the place justice for many years, having scouted out various positions for numerous shots depending upon the lighting and the time of year. It is a beautiful place to visit, with stunning views of the cliffs along the coast line, and many different types of sea birds, but it is difficult to convey this in a photograph.

People sometimes suggest that Flamborough gets its name from the ‘flame’ of the very early lighthouse, built in 1669, but in actual fact it is likely that the name is derived from the Viking word for ‘point’ or ‘needle’. It is also quite well known for the battle between the Royal Navy and the American War of Independence ship the ‘Bonhomme Richard’ in 1779, which was eventually sunk a little way off Flamborough Head. It is probably one of the most famous American warships, although it was actually on loan from the French, and the Captain John Paul Jones, who was actually a Scot, had just picked it up from there. It was during this battle that the immortal words ” Surrender ? I haven’t yet begun to fight !” were uttered by John Paul when the commander of the British ships asked if he would care to surrender after the American ship had been reduced to the consistency of match wood. John Paul Jones went on to win the fight, but his ship sank shortly afterwards. There have been serious attempts to find the wreck, including the author Clive Cussler, but to date it remains lost.

We had the morning planned to get the sunrise shot, weather forecast was good. It involved getting up at 3 am in order to reach the pre arranged point and get set up before the sun rose. However at 3 am there was cloud cover, and it was building, so we drove up to Flamborough with faces as long as a week thinking it was going to be a wash out. Before sunrise cloud cover was solid, but we got set up in position, and then settled back with a coffee and sandwich to wait. The dog was having a great time trying to sniff out Flamborough rabbits. As the sun began to climb on the horizon the cloud began to break up, and then the magic happened. Then it was a mad panic to get the shot sequences off before the light was gone. The whole thing lasted maybe ten minutes. Drove back home much happier than on the way  !

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