Earlier this year I was lucky enough to spend a few mornings on the beach with the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, photographing and filming their summer ride-outs on Holkham beach, just down the road from me here in North Norfolk.
When I was contacted by a press agency asking if I would be interested in doing something similar for The King’s Troop I jumped at the chance. I wasn’t sure how much press interest there would be since we had pretty good exposure with the HMRC (my doubts were proved unfounded!) but I love any opportunity to photograph the spectacle of royal horses riding through the surf so I booked out two mornings in my diary.
To ensure that the ride was as safe as possible the times & dates of the ride were not published since the visits to the beach are a serious training exercise, when it is covered in crowds of people it endangers the public, the riders and the horses (to a degree). When one of the riders gets thrown and the horse bolts back to the shore at full speed, straight towards you, it’s a pretty scary sight I can tell you!
On the first morning (Wednesday) I arrived at 7am, we had permission from the Holkham Estate to fly a drone that morning only so I made the most of it capturing aerial video and stills.
On Thursday morning I headed back to get some more ground-based stills & video. Their final beach ride of the year was on Friday, BBC Breakfast were scheduled to come along & do a live broadcast from the beach so I gave it a miss, happy that I had got what I needed. I didn’t want to get in the way.
Sadly there was a press embargo until late Friday morning (to ensure that the riders could have unencumbered rides on all three days). I was the only photographer on the beach on Wednesday and would have had the scoop for all the nationals had I been allowed to put out the shots that day but I totally respect their decision not to allow the word to get out and held back. Sadly (for me!) on Thursday two Press Association photographers were there getting shots also so I didn’t have the monopoly on shots as I’d hoped but as you will see at the bottom of this post we still got some pretty good national media coverage.
The short film I made of the rides is here…
As mentioned earlier the press interest once again has been good. BBC Look East produced a video from my footage which at the time of writing has had 275,000 views on Facebook alone, it was on BBC Look East last night and the video was on the front page of the BBC National News homepage. Today’s press has been good too with photos in The Guardian, The Telegraph and a double page spread in the Daily Express. It seems I’m not the only one who can’t get enough of royal horses on the beach!
I think that’s pretty much all the beach-horse action I’ll see for the rest of this year now but I’ll be back next summer to do it all again!
Many thanks to The Kings Troop, BBC Look East, Apex News, Holkham Estate and Norfolk Locations.
I had been looking forward to this week for a long time, in 2017 I filmed the Household Cavalry on their annual summer ride-out on Holkham Beach here in Norfolk from the drone. I missed the ride last year but managed to organise access to the two regiments (Life Guards and the Blues & Royals) this year and went through the necessary permissions to be allowed to fly at Holkham again.
As you will see below we were blessed with incredible weather on Thursday & yesterday (today it is raining!) so we got some stunning stills & video footage. My partner Leanne (currently setting up her own independent film company – Samphire Films) came along on both days to film some ground-based footage to add to the aerial footage and since I wasn’t able to get clearance to fly both days (to minimise disturbance to the wildlife) I shot stills on a long lens yesterday. I’m very grateful to the Holkham Estate and Norfolk Locations for allowing me to fly on the Thursday, there is a rare nesting colony of little terns at the west end of the bay so I had to make sure I avoided flying too close.
A huge thank you to the lads & ladies of the Household Cavalry for allowing us such amazing access, particularly Major Chambers and Captain Perera who even drove us to & from the beach to save our little legs! It was a huge privilege to meet them all, a real credit to the the British Army.
Thank you to Jason & Graham from Norfolk Constabulary who came down on the Thursday to police the beach for any rogue drone users and keep an eye on things. And finally thank you to our friends Leigh & Steve who came down to assist us – Steve was my drone-spotter for the day and didn’t take his eye off the drone once, while Leigh assisted Leanne as she filmed some incredible footage – including filming from the army truck as they sped alongside the horses at full gallop. What an incredible opportunity!
Below are some of the shots and at the bottom of this post you will find the finished video by myself and Leanne and a link to the full gallery of the photos. As per 2017 the shots & video this year have proved very popular with the front cover & pages 2 & 3 in the Eastern Daily Press (see bottom of this post), a shot being used in today’s Guardian newspaper in their ‘pics of the week’ spread, Country Life magazine, the Daily Mail Online (here), and on the BBC. Enjoy!
Your eyes don’t deceive you, there is actually a naked man in the below photo – the west end of Holkham is a nudist beach, bet they didn’t expect 26 army horses & soldiers to ride towards them that day!
In today’s Guardian…
The full gallery of my still images can be seen here.
Our film of the two mornings on the beach is here:
Next in the North Norfolk Gems series is the internationally acclaimed four star boutique hotel and two AA rosette restaurant in Burnham Market – The Hoste. I’ve photographed a few events and weddings at The Hoste over the years and I’ve stayed & eaten there almost as many times – always a treat and never fails to impress!
Set in the heart of Burnham Market village, The Hoste regularly attracts the attention of travel writers and the media, celebrity guests include Stephen Fry, Amanda Holden, Johnny Vaughn, Bill Nighy, John Hurt and Rory McGrath and the restaurant is often frequented by the Royal Family. Boasting 62 bedrooms across 6 properties all in the beautiful and picturesque Georgian village of Burnham Market – one in an actual railway carriage (more about that a bit later). (more…)