Agricultural Travel to Ireland, Scotland, Wales & England

Tour guide Kerry Moss and I are taking a Quadrant Agricultural Tour to the British Isles in late August, until late September.  We’ll be zig-zagging over farms and memorable sites in Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales, for almost a whole month.

This farm tour includes visits to a range of beef, dairy, sheep and cropping farms in various locations. Plus an Irish horse stud, woollen mill and much spectacular scenery in between visiting places of historic significance – castles, grand houses and gardens, ancient ruins etc. Plus a farmers market or two.

We’ve lucky our London visit coincides with the Summer Opening of the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace.  And as a truly special treat on this tour, with luck we’ll be able to swap some stories and laughs over dinner with a couple of special locals associated with agriculture in Ireland and the UK.  These are really interesting people I’ve met via twitter, such as the driving force behind the Farmers On Film project, livewire Sarah Gayton.  I’ve already got a raft of questions to ask local ag-associated people!

One of my jobs is to not just take lots of photographs, but to help fellow travellers do likewise (more on that, below).  I’m so excited my suitcase packing was almost complete 2 months beforehand (whereas it’s usually a night-before job).

I’ve gathered together some fabulous photographs and a couple of excellent videos of just a few of the many places we’ll visit here on Pinterest. Clicking on the photographs takes you to the source websites, where there are more photographs and information.

In the meantime, I am continuing my *cough* essential research, which fortunately I started years in advance.  I recommend other tour participants continue to do likewise!  Currently this vital “work” involves watching period dramas such as: “Downton Abbey” and “Midsomer Murders”, plus contemporary ‘reality’ programmes such as Kevin McLeod’s “Grand Designs”, “Restoration Home”, “Escape to the Country” and “A Farmers Life for Me”, featuring Jimmy Doherty (rare pig breeder, amongst other things). Plus “The Farm Fixer“.  Previous compulsory ‘education’ included watching every royal wedding and programmes such as “James Herriott” (Yorkshire Dales), “Upstairs/Downstairs”, “Ballykissangel” (filmed at Ballykissane, close to the ‘Ring of Kerry’ route we take), all films based on Jane Austen and Agatha Christie’s  books (“Pride & Prejudice”, “Sense & Sensibility”, Miss Marple, Poirot etc), plus James Bond (“Skyfall” was fabulous for London sky-scapes and evocative Scottish landscape).  The Irish and British realised years ago that featuring beautiful landscapes, expansive gardens and historic homes etc in TV and big-screen films encouraged tourist visitation!

Photography in Ireland and the United Kingdom:

I’m especially looking forward to visiting farms and meeting Irish and UK farmers, because this is of course something most independent travellers are simply unable to arrange.  Already I have lots of questions to ask and – of course – many photographs already in mind to take.  I’m also really looking forward to meeting fellow travellers, and helping anyone who would like a hand to capture the best images they can.

Of course there’s a few challenges with taking photographs in Ireland and the United Kingdom.  Even though we’ll be there during a fabulous time of year, late summer, we’re unlikely to strike a month of solid sunshine.

  • The most obvious photography difficulty is low light and grey or hazy skies. In Australia we’re accustomed to a clear atmosphere – only occasionally dimmed by bushfire smoke or dust; in the tropics, extreme humidity; and in inland Australia, heat haze. In most parts of Australia it’s relatively sunny most of the time. So we’re used to sharp shadows, bright colours, easily visible detail in landscapes, a clearly defined horizon and the ability to capture images at a fast speed. Talk about spoilt!
  • The second photographic challenge I’ve discovered via my extensive loungeroom research, i.e. television programmes. Everywhere you look in the English landscape, particularly, there seems to be at least one powerline dissecting the bucolic scene. And when skies are blue, there will be at least one plane’s vapor trail (or “con” trail – short for condensation trail) disrupting the view of pastoral bliss. There are nearly 70 million people squeezed onto the British Isles, and despite good ferry services and under-channel trains naturally there’s a lot of planes passing overhead! Lairy advertising billboards and a lot of the other commercial blights on Australian landscapes are banned or highly regulated in the most historic parts of the UK, but not much can be done about essential infrastructure such as power supply lines and roads!  So the challenge will be to do a great job of composition – cutting out the hard-to-love bits to ensure top-drawer memorable photographs. I enjoy challenges, so I’m looking forward to it a great deal. There’s bound to be at least some drizzle, mist or fog, and definitely many overcast days; so we’ll be doing our best to turn moody light into “atmospheric”!

Quadrant’s Aug-Sept 2013 Ireland & UK agricultural tour information:

Kerry Moss is the guide on this tour, and what a mountain of travel experience she has! Kerry has visited more than 35 countries so the list of countries she hasn’t visited is probably shorter!  She has worked in the travel industry for more than twenty years in various roles – Tourism Commissions in WA & NT, airlines, plus retail & corporate travel agencies; and travel-related TAFE teaching.  Kerry has worked for Quadrant since 2007, runs the Coffs Harbour office and is Quadrant’s  Outbound Operations Manager.

If you have any queries re Quadrant’s farm and specialist tours don’t hesitate to contact Quadrant online or Kerry Moss in the Coffs Harbour office, or Quadrant’s Brisbane or Armidale office, or myself (particularly for photography-related questions, or agriculture. My contact details are below).

Quadrant is a member of Agricultural Tour Operators International (ATOI)

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