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The Pepperpot, Isle of Wight, UK


St. Catherine's Oratory is situated on the Isle of Wight, UK. This tall medieval octagonal tower is all that survives of an oratory built here in 1328 as penance by a local landowner, who had plundered church property – casks of white wine – from a ship wrecked nearby. Affectionately known as the Pepperpot, it seems to have been used as a lighthouse, and stands on one of the highest parts of the Isle of Wight. It is part of the Tennyson Heritage Coast, a series of linked cliff-top monuments. A later lighthouse can be seen nearby.

I previously visited the Pepperpot at night in 2020, during a September break on the island. It was a night to remember, with clear skies and no moon, which was ideal for Astro Photography. I pulled in some great shots that night and two years later I revisite the same spot to do it all again. This time round, I had my upgraded camera with me - a Canon R5, so I was looking forward to seeing just how capable this bit of tech was at pulling in some milky way shots.

I made a couple of night time visits to the Pepperpot in September 2022. I managed to grab more still photography and also two time lapse sequences, which you will find at the end of this video. It's a magical place to be at night. The 15 minute hike from Blackgang viewpoint to the Pepperpot was quite challenging, as I had to negotiate the cattle, on way up the hill. A large bull stood in front of the gate, blocking my way through to the Pepperpot. It was a reasonably good excuse to sit and have a rest nearby, until it decided to shift its arse, which it eventually did. Two hours on location felt like 30 minutes - it absolutely flew by.

Another one bites the dust...

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