Lazy days in Poppyland

A few years ago, before our eldest son was born, we had our first holiday in North Norfolk and really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. Later we returned with our young son and had lots of fun rediscovering the place through his eyes.

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Overstrand Beach, view towards Cromer at sunset

More recently, our youngest joined us and we wanted a week away somewhere we knew well. Bizarrely our choice was sealed watching TV in the early hours of 9th June as we watched the reelection of the MP for the area, Norman Lamb, on TV. We looked for a cottage in Overstrand, because we knew the pub did decent food and the beach was really lovely.

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Of course the addition of a new member of our family did mean that taking the same number of lenses and cameras as before our new arrival was out of the question. A last minute reflection on what we were actually likely to do resulted in taking my Sony A7RII, Olympus OM-D EM1II, Fujifilm X100F and Leica M10. The eagle eyed will note no DSLR, but might also note no XPro2 either. A last minute panic about wanting 2 cameras for seal watching resulted in my EM5II body joining the bag too.

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We were lucky enough to find a great cottage to rent near the sea, on Cliff Road, which I can only assume hadn’t been booked for the week because of the lack of internet (it actually had a public hotspot next door so no great concern). It was a great location for the seaside and walks. As ever, I always like to begin a holiday with an early morning walk. This always allows for catching some beautiful morning light with fewer people to be terrified by my camera. More importantly, it allows for the gathering of breakfast…

Our first day was spent mooching around on the beach and generally exploring with our 6 yo the concept of tides in a manner likely to be beyond former MP Douglas Carswell. What was great fun was watching our eldest get back into going into and out of the sea and building sand castles galore. As getting to the sea required leaping over the sea defences, our youngest stayed on a blanket behind them while we took turns to be the foil to general seaside fun for our eldest.

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A trip to the area isn’t complete without a trip on the North Norfolk Railway. It’s a brilliant little volunteer railway, running from Holt, inland, to Sheringham, by the sea. Thanks to the volunteers for posing for pictures.

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Sheringham itself is a small seaside town, with pebbled beaches, fishing boats, a great museum and an enormous wind farm dotting the horizon (the Sheringham Shoal). Its definitely worth stopping on the beach for an ice-cream and visiting the museum while you are here.

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Genuinely one of the most beautiful places in Britain has to be the beach at Holkham. Its a stunning place, pine forest leading onto a salt marsh, leading onto dunes and a beach. It isn’t a place that needs a thousand pictures to tell its story, but it’s wonderous and fun all the same. Naturally, our youngest took the beauty of nature as a cue to sleep almost the whole time wrapped in a rugby shirt…

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As ever, a trip to Norfolk creates the possibility of seal watching. They truly are fascinating creatures and very curious of the boats that pass by. For this trip I packed the EM1II + 100-400mm and the EM5II +12-40mm. Good combination for visually consistent results. I struggled a bit with the light, but the results were worth it. Our youngest caused a moment of hilarity by falling asleep in the car and waking up on the boat. We still wonder if he thought the whole thing was a nightmare!

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One thing worth doing in Overstrand is taking the clifftop path to Cromer. It’s a beautiful walk with the sea and beach on one side and properties on the other side precariously facing the sea. One day we will walk down the beach to Cromer, but this time I decided to get stung doing the walk through undergrowth in my shorts…

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Cromer Lighthouse

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Walk far enough and you reach the Cromer Golf course, which requires some bravery and discretion walking up one of the holes, before heading into countryside and parks outside Cromer. A highlight was stopping to investigate the Cromer lighthouse and have a quick snack on the cliffs looking down into the town. This also provided an opportunity for fish and chips (and mushy peas) in Cromer, which was excellent.

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Cromer Pier

While the rest of the holiday was spent on and off the beach, on the day we were leaving we decided to head home via Pensthorpe, a nature reserve near fakenham. It’s a beautiful place with the most amazing variety of birds. I can also confirm the Greylag Geese are a little pushy! I really appreciated the gardens, which were colourful but harmonious.

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All in all a great holiday. The camera I most enjoyed using for all of this? The EM1II. It’s so capable, having a great sensor, great AF and many great features that were useful in taking these pictures. A close second must go to the M10, the soft top sports car of cameras. Best lens is probably a fight between the ever great Panasonic Leica 100-400mm lens and the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8

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