After meeting Bob Brind-Surch at Bracknell Camera Club I had signed up to receive his newsletters about coming events. Bob sent out an email that gave an unexpected vacancy on one of his British Secret Mammal’s Workshops in Devon.
Here is what we photographed on the second day.
The workshop was over two days and Bob had kindly arranged for me to stay at the nearby Frankaborough Cottages. I had extended my stay for the night before and the night after the workshop. I did this as the journey to Devon was of the order of at least 3 hours traffic permitting.
Friday 7th September, down to Devon
My journey down to Devon went OK until I reached the M4/M5 interchange where the traffic built up so much that the M5 simply stopped. This motorway was stop start for the next 15 miles or so when just as suddenly the road cleared.
After the M5 I joined the A30 going West until I reached my exit that was signposted to Broadwoodwinger. This is when all my troubles started as the road I needed was closed as it was being re-surfaced. I had to go back onto the A30 and continue into Launceston There take the road North and then cut back East towards Broadwoodwinger. All told this diversion added an hour to my journey. What was slightly annoying was that if I had been a couple of hours later the road was then re-opened!
Frankaborough Farm Cottages
I did have to ring and double check directions as I was approaching the farm was a different direction. Luckily I was indeed on the correct road. The Frankaborough Farm Cottages were down a narrow lane off to the right and then I passed a row houses and came to the farm yard. The farm house was signposted as reception and there I met Bob and Linda, the owner. The first order of business was a cup of tea and piece of excellent cake that more than made up for my delays!
Bob showed me to the cottage that I would be sharing with another attendee of the course. My cottage was at the end of the row and was close to the milking sheds of the farm. I was in the Old Diary Cottage that had a large sitting room/dining room/kitchen and two bedrooms upstairs. The really good news was just how fast the wi-fi was in the cottage.
After moving my car I unpacked and set off to explore the immediate area. Just past the row of cottages was a pond with ducks, a rowing boat and a floating duck house.
Away beyond the pond I had great views of the Devon countryside.
Dinner at The Village Inn
Bob had booked a table at The Village Inn, Ashworth, for dinner for all the attendees. I was lucky as one of the other attendees offered to drive us to the pub.
The car park for The Village Inn is past the village green and literally is round at the back of the pub. We had a table booked for our party which was a good job as the pub was very busy. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours learning about what to expect over the following two days and getting to know more about each other. Some of the other attendees had been with Bob on safaris to Africa and I was fascinated to learn about their experiences there.
For my meal I had a Sirloin Steak accompanied by a draft Timothy Taylor’s Landlord pale ale.
After dinner we went back down the narrow lanes to the Farm for an early night and to get ready for our busy day of photography the following day.
Saturday 8th September, The first day of the workshop
The name of the cottage, The Old Dairy, gave the game away and at 5 am I was wakened to the sound of cows coming into the farm to be milked. I did manage to get off to sleep again.
We were scheduled for an early start at the wildlife centre and I joined my fellow attendees for breakfast in the farm house. It was a truly magnificent breakfast. After my cornflakes with fresh milk from the farm’s cows, I added a full English breakfast with delicious marmalade on my toast.
Bob joined us to give us directions for parking and what was planned for our first day.
Westcountry Photographic Wildlife Centre
The Westcountry Photographic Wildlife Centre where we would be spending the next two days was just a couple of miles down the road from Frankaborough Farm. We parked nose in along the side of the road and went into the farmyard. On our left was a pen with the farm’s working dogs. The visitor centre was on our right.
We sat and had a cup of tea to hear about the plan for the day and to discuss camera settings that we might need.