Slam Dunk North 2016

30/05/2016 Leeds, UK

I recently rediscovered the love for alternative/hardcore and metal that I lost sometime around 2009, around about the time that I discovered Drum & Bass. With rediscovering my favourite bands, along with some new ones, I had been involuntarily humming their breakdowns and lyrics daily and figured that I had to get myself to a festival/gig/event ASAP, luckily enough Slam Dunk Festival was just around the corner so I roped my friend into getting tickets with me, booking a hotel to stay in and go and get our mosh on.

 This was my first time at Slam Dunk North and though the queue to get in took over two hours and the whole organising of tickets, wrist bands and queues could have gone a hell of a lot smoother, once we were inside and had a beer or two, things were absolutely sick. We hung around the Atlas stage most of the day and then swung by the merch tent to pick up a tee, grab food and drinks and have a wander around. 
We ended up seeing Miss May I, We Came As Romans, Northlane, The Amity Affliction, Memphis May Fire, Issues and Of Mice & Men. WCAR & OC&M stole the show as far as I’m concerned; their sets were incredible.

Though the show was sold out and absolutely heaving, we didn't have any trouble at all with any of the other festival goers and we were able to walk around the site's various stages and tents with relative ease. It was an awesome experience and we both hope to do it again next year, here's hoping to see even bigger and better bands! Below is Of Mice & Men absolutely killing it along with a few other snaps from the day. Austin Carlile is probably one of the best frontmen I've seen live, he really kept the crowd alive and involved throughout the whole set.

A video posted by Luke Taylor (@hiluketaylor) on

Isle of Man 9th - 15th May 2016 - Part 3

25/05/2016 Isle of Man

Isle of Man, 9th - 15th May, 2016

14th - Laxey Glen and Wheel & Onchan

With having had quite a packed week so far we decided that we’d take it a bit slower for our last full day on the Isle so we headed on up for a walk in Laxey Glen in the morning. We parked the car up and headed onto the public footpath which lead further into the glen. As we walked through it I noticed the sounds of cars and the city slowly dwindling away and being replaced by nothing but the sound of the birds, running waters and wind through the trees, it was a nice feeling; knowing that we were still close to the city yet couldn’t hear any noise pollution, just nature. We walked through the glen for some time until we reached a good spot in the hills to sit down and take in our surroundings, from there we realised that without any food or water to hand and with it being quite a hot day again it was wise to head back to the car and go and get some dinner. It was a great feeling walking through nature and being away from the outside world whilst being in the glen, though this was slowly replaced by the regular sounds of the city as we headed out of it. 

As we headed back we stopped off at a café for some food and was able to see the electric railway; seeing plenty of trains go past us as we ate. They seemed to go fairly slow though so must act as more of a tourist attraction rather than proper method of travelling and commuting throughout the Isle. Just up the road from the café was Laxey Wheel which was used when the mines were operational. The wheel still turns today as water flows through it. It was quite stunning to see it amongst the hilly landscape.

Quite worn out from the busy week we’d had, we decided to stop off at Onchan shore where we took in the scenery and enjoyed the remainder of the warm afternoon before heading back to Nathan’s for a take away, beers and a film to see us through to the end of the night.

Isle of Man, 9th - 15th May, 2016

15th - Colden Plantation and the Journey Home

Having had such a busy week we decided that our last morning on the Isle of Man before flying in the afternoon should be filled with yet more walking among the countryside and enjoying more of the great weather that we’d had all week. We checked out of the hotel and Nathan picked us up. We then headed to Sophie’s, where we picked her and her two dogs, Honey and Oisin up and set off to Colden Plantation. After walking up yet more steep hills and through some back roads we were rewarded with some epic views of the countryside and plantation. Some of the views which didn’t have any manmade structures looked like stills from something like The Lord of The Rings or Game of Thrones, with long sprawling hillsides, high tree tops and a reservoir at the bottom which glimmered in the sunshine. I almost expected some kind of mythical creature to emerge from the forests. 

We spent most of the morning and midday there before we had to finally set off to head to the airport so that we’d be ready with plenty of time to spare for our flight back to Manchester in the afternoon. Upon arriving at the airport we said our goodbyes to Nathan and Sophie, making sure that we’d make another visit in the future and letting them know that we’d love for them to come over to Hull as well. The journey home was really good with great sunshine all the way back to Manchester where my Step Dad picked us up from the airport and drove us back to Hull. 

After dropping Lewis back home and finally arriving home ourselves, I was ready to collapse after the week’s adventures and lots of long walking and fresh air in the open countryside had finally caught up to me. The Isle of man was a really great experience with lots to see and do, and it was great to see Nathan again and meet his family and friends. I’ll definitely have to make a return journey there sometime in the future!

Isle of Man 9th - 15th May 2016 - Part 2

24/05/2016 Isle of Man

Isle of Man, 9th - 15th May, 2016

12th - Douglas Bay, Jurby Junk, Airsoft Club & Bride

We started the day off with a trip to Douglas, parking up at the viewing point of the bay as we tucked in to a McDonald’s breakfast to set us up for the day ahead. We spent the day travelling up to the northern side of the island, towards Jurby where we stopped off at Jurby Junk, two massive hangars filled with anything and everything that you could imagine. Scrap, ornaments, old clothes, household items, toys, books and more filled the hangars right up to the ceiling, it was like Aladdin’s cave of wonders, ran entirely by an elderly woman surrounded by cats (crazy cat lady?). 

Eager to leave the Jurby Junk as the smell of cat urine and dust lingered, we headed on towards the Manx Airsoft Club grounds. Nathan is a member of the club and wanted to show us around where he plays. Lewis and I were really keen to have a game ourselves but unfortunately airsoft games were only running on weekends. We got to walk around the grounds though and see some of the bases, equipment and fields that would be used on game days which really peaked my interest as it made me think of how I first met Nathan by playing First Person Shooter games on Xbox Live. 

After a short drive we arrived at Bride and the Point of Ayre where we quickly explored the seafront and an old military base which used to be a radar station during the way, before we had to head off and meet one of Nathan’s friends, Jack where we then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening back at one of the local pubs in Douglas.

Isle of Man, 9th - 15th May, 2016

13th - Castle Peel and Way Too Much Beer & Pool

Getting an early start to the day we decided to head up to Peel to grab an all day breakfast each at the Marine Hotel to set us up for the day before heading across to Peel Castle. The castle was right on the edge of the coast and we luckily had some of the best weather of the week with great sunshine, which made for some good photo opportunities by the sea. It was great to wander around the grounds, as we went through the halls where people would have eaten, the ammunition stores, fortifications, living quarters and dungeons I could really visualise the castle in its former glory as it was fairly well kept still. 

After going through the castle we thought it would be rude not to pay another visit to the Davison’s Ice Cream Parlour as it was a stones throw away, there we indulged in some more amazing ice cream as we planned out the rest of our time on the Isle. We ended up heading back to one of the pubs on the way to Douglas and getting in some more games of pool before we had a dinner date with Nathan’s family on the evening. 

Nathan’s Mum and Step Dad took us all to an amazing steak house which also served curry so you could mix and match the different plates and really make some huge and interesting piles of food. I went with the 16oz T-Bone steak which was amazing and filled me up pretty much for the rest of the trip! It was nice to get to know more of Nathan’s family and learn a bit more about the Isle itself as we ate. From there we left his Mum and Step Dad and went on to one of the pubs in Douglas and had a great night playing pool and having a few drinks together as Nathan’s Dad joined us for the remainder of the night and showed us some of his great pool skills.

Isle of Man 9th - 15th May 2016 - Part 1

23/05/2016 Isle of Man

Isle of Man, 9th - 15th May, 2016

9th - The journey

 After such an epic trip away in January on the Interrail through Europe, the next holiday that I was looking forward to was a trip away to the Isle of Man to see my friend Nathan and his family. I first met Nathan online when I used to play video games after school; we’d play on Xbox Live together and have been friends ever since. He came to Hull to visit me, my family and friends a couple of years ago, so it was only right that I’d eventually make a trip over to the Isle of Man as well, taking my friend Lewis, who is also friends with Nathan.

Lewis and I were lucky to get a lift to Manchester Airport from my Step Dad, where we flew with Flybe to the Isle of Man. The flight was only 45 minutes which suited us both fine as I aren’t overly keen on flying and it was Lewis’ first time flying. After landing and checking into our hotel which was nearby the airport, Nathan came to pick us up where we headed straight to his home in Douglas where his Dad made us an awesome curry before we headed out to the local pub for some games of pool to see us through until the end of the night as we planned what we were going to do for the week.

Isle of Man, 9th - 15th May, 2016

10th - Visiting Peel and The House of Manannan 

To kick start the first full day of the holiday, things took a turn for the worse as Nathan’s car decided that it would be a great idea to not start up in the morning. Having had no problems with his car all throughout owning it, it was sod’s law that this would happen during the holiday when we need him to pick us up from our hotel each day, as we were staying near the airport which was a good 15 minute drive away from him in Douglas. Luckily we only lost an hour or so out of the day as he was able to pick us up in his Step Mum’s car while a mechanic started on the car.

After an eventful morning of switching cars and some anxious waiting around on the mechanic, the car was fixed and we were good to set off to Peel and visit the House of Manannan. I love a good museum and the House of Manannan didn’t disappoint; we learnt the history of the Isle, right from when the first settlers arrived, through the Viking, Celtic, Industrial age and through to modern times. I love anything to do with history, especially the medieval and viking times as part of my ancestry comes from Scotland. I love to learn about the various clans and how they moved through the various isles and highlands so I was really in my element as we went through the museum. It was also nice to see how proud the Manx are of their heritage. As we came to the end of the museum, Nathan told us of a nearby world famous Davison’s Ice Cream Parlour on the sea front which we definitely had to try, so after a stop off at the local pub opposite the museum for a quick pint we headed there before we spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening back at Douglas where we headed to the pub again for some food and a beer or two over some more pool. 

Isle of Man, 9th - 15th May, 2016

11th - Manx Museum, Castle Rushen, Cregneash and Calf of Man

With the previous day filled with learning some of the Isle’s history at the House of Manannan, we decided to start the new day off by heading to another museum! After picking up Nathan’s sister Sophie we headed to the Manx Museum, where we were able to see more modern history of the Isle, such as the world famous TT races, wildlife and the different industries on the Isle. It was quite surprising to see how such a small Isle had so much developing on it throughout the years. Afterwards, we had a quick pub lunch on the way to Castletown on the southern end of the Isle as we headed toward Castle Rushen. The castle was really well maintained with lots of exhibits on display which featured weapons, living quarters, dungeons and information about the castle. We felt like we were on set of one of the castles in Game of Thrones. 

In the afternoon we headed to Cregneash where we were able to walk around a folk village which had been kept in the traditional style of farming and crofting way of life. It was nice to see the animals living there peacefully on the little farms. From there we headed down to the Calf of Man where we sat at a local cafe, taking in the scenery of the coast and sea. On the various rock edges we were lucky enough to see some Seals popping their heads above the water which was a nice touch to the end of the days adventures. We then finished the day off with a film, some drinks and a takeaway back at Sophie’s house before heading on back to the hotel to recharge our batteries for another filled day ahead! 

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