Monday, 8 June 2009

Lake District - Photo Trip

We returned from the Lakes yesterday evening. I had intended to update this blog in the evenings during our trip but there was no mobile phone signal in Eskdale so it had to wait until today, Monday 8th June.

This trip was planned specifically around taking photographs for my new book on the Lake District, due out in March 2010. I needed to fill a few gaps in the south west and southern parts of the Lakes so we based ourselves in Eskdale. The trip also coincided with the Boot Beer Festival and our excellent accommodation (Stanley House b&b) was within easy walking distance (10 minutes) of this.

We arrived in the Lakes to sunshine on Thursday afternoon. We drove in over the Ulpha Fell road and stopped at the end of the lane to Devoke Water. This is just a mile from the road and has fells coming down from 2 sides and a partly ruined boat house to put in the foreground to set off my photographs. A beautiful spot. Then around to the Hardknott Pass for some late afternoon shots across to the Scafell range from Hard Knott. This has to be one of the best viewpoints across and has the added bonus of a small pool of water just beyond the summit for some foreground interest. No chance of a reflection on this occassion as it was quite breezy.

Friday was fine to start with and then closed in with heavy rain for a few hours. We went up Black Combe in the far south west of the Lakes, near Millom. I managed a few shots before the weather closed in. Then we returned to the car and drove around to the coast, near Bootle and just south of Ravenglass, for some photographs as the sun returned, of the only coastal area within the Lake District National Park. Impressive clouds hanging over most of the Lake District tops though, including Black Combe just a couple of miles away. Then on to Hall Walberthwaite for shots to the northwest fells. Then around to Ravenglass and a few estuary photos as the light began to go. It was obviously time to go back to the Boot Beer Festival!

Saturday was very wet until the afternoon. We walked along the shore of Windermere from the ferry near Far Sawrey north until level with Hawshead. Fortunately, this was mainly through woods so we were sheltered from the worst of the rain. We turned inland and returned via the tarns just north of Near Sawrey. There was a great view to the Langdales with a tarn in the foreground as the rain was sweeping in again. Had to set up the camera and tripod under some trees so that my gear wasn't completely waterlogged before taking the photos. Continuing on we found a hostelry, the Sawrey Hotel, offering temporary shelter from the rain (and 7 real ales on hand pumps!). Then back to the car. From here we drove across to near Torver and found a single track road most of the way up a small hill that faced the Old Man of Coniston and Dow Crag. The rain had now cleared and it was sunny on and off so it was just a matter of waiting for the sun to illuminate a suitable part of the scene to make my photographs. A good end to the photographic part of the day. Then down to Torver for some food at the Wilson Arms before driving back to Boot for the beer festival. On walking in to the Brook House Inn it was a nice surprise to trip over some friends, including Mark from my ski mountaineering days. We spent rather longer in the pub as a result catching up on the year since we last met (but still managed an early breakfast the next day!).

Sunday started cloudy but thankfully dry. Quite a breeze blowing though, had to keep hold of the camera on the tripod on more than 1 occassion. This started at the southern end of Windermere. We went up the little hill called Gummer's How. This gives uninterrupted views over the Lake to north and south, as well as to all other points of the compass. The sun tried to come out for a while before closing in for a brief shower of rain. From here we walked over to Cartmel Fell and Ravens Barrow for views to the Lyth Valley and the main Lakeland peaks to the north. The sun was out for most of our time here although a lot of the big peaks stayed in shadow the whole time. These turned out to be the last shots of the trip since we decided to give Whitbarrow Scar a miss, the last place on the location list for this trip.

So despite the changeable weather, which I'm sure many people would describe as bad weather, working in black and white means that I have lots of dramatic photographs and stunning cloud formations that wouldn't have been possible without this sort of weather.

It will take me a few weeks to process and print the films from this trip but keep an eye out on the new web site (davebutcher.co.uk) for them coming along in the weeks to come.

Dave Butcher
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