“There’s always a sunrise and always a sunset and it’s up to you to choose to be there for it,” said my mother.
“Put yourself in the way of beauty.”
– Wild, Cheryl Strayed
I looked back over my photo catalog and realised I’ve been going up to the same ridge, walking out over Barton Fell, up to Arthur’s Pike since the winter of 2014. These images are from an evening back in late June of this year. In the next post I’ll show you my very favourite historical images from this ridge. As a photographer and nature lover I enjoy the repetition of going to the same vantage point high above Ullswater.
I start out near Pooley Bridge and walk out across the open fell, passing The Cock Pit, an ancient stone circle. The light is really beautiful here, even in the dead of winter I always love this part of the walk, It takes me about an hour to get to the foot of the ridge itself just by Barton Wood. Then a steep short climb up and I take the sheep path right on the edge of the ridge. I use the safer inside path during the winter months, when the wind can knock you over. There are always sheep here, sometimes they chase me along the path, stamping their feet at me.
Barton Fell is pretty boggy all year around but there is always lots of Bog Cotton here and on the ridge itself in August, the heather is in full flower. Sometimes I lay here and watch the Ullswater Steamer sailing up and down the lake. My objective is always the cairn by Arthur’s Pike, I looked this up on the OS map and its name is actually Whinny Crag. Sometimes I walk on a little bit further and watch the water pouring down Swarthbeck Gill.
In all the time I’ve been here, I have only bumped into humans on two occasions and that suits me just fine. It’s so rare to find very quiet fells in the Lake District. If I have my head torch packed, I will sit up there until the sun sets with my flask of tea and a warm blanket. I have started to take my Hasselblad up here to try and catch some of that lovely light and will carry on doing that through this coming winter for a project I am going to do.
If you have been following my 365 Project, you will know that I have been out hiking all weekend. Yesterday was a much longer walk and I got up to the area at the foot of the Helvellyn Headwall near Red Tarn. I wanted to show you some of the images that I shot at the top. The snow was about three foot deep here and the windchill was incredible. It took me about four hours to get up and then back down into the valley in the fresh, soft snow.
I was doing star jumps at the top waiting for the sun to burst through the clouds and illuminate the snow. My favourite image was the one at the top of the post at Hole-In-The-Wall, with the moody sky brooding over Ullswater.
Because he had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars… – Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
We’ll wander back and home to bed.
Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
– J.R.R. Tolkien
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved,
desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing,
but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars. – Jack Kerouac.
He knew one of the women well, and had shared his universe with her. They had seen the same mountains, and the same trees, although each of them had seem them differently. She knew his weaknesses, his moments of hatred, of despair. Yet she was there at his side. They shared the same universe. – Paulo Coelho.
Yesterday I had a WordPress meet-up with fellow blogger and photographer James from Walking with a Smacked Pentax. We met up at my Photography Exhibition, enjoyed a hot drink then drove over to Keswick for a leg stretch. I wanted to take James somewhere that had a good vantage point, a nice view of some of the popular fells of the Lake District. I decided Walla Crag would suit the bill with its lovely view of Derwentwater. We took the steep ascent up from Springs Farm in the pouring rain. I was worried when we got to the summit the view would be overcast, dull and uninspiring. But luck was with us and the sky opened up for us when we reached the top, light was bouncing off Bleaberry Fell, Catbells and sunlight was streaming through the rain clouds over the Borrowdale Fells. We were both delighted and had a wonderful couple of hours making photographs and chatting about cameras and blogging….
And my heart caves in when I look at you – Man Overboard
I wanted to show you this image tonight, these lyrics mirror how I feel when I see landscapes like this one. There doesn’t need to loads of bright light to take great photographs, but you do need a little good quality light. I had to travel into Keswick this morning and this is how the mountains looked – It is so breathtaking, I am a complete sucker for mist like this.
I think shots like this one are very under-rated, this was shot at St John in the Vale looking up towards Great Dodd. This particular valley is always brilliant for mist, once I saw it rolling around the valley like it was alive, like it was an ocean, I suppose it was just the force of the breeze which made it appear to be moving so fast, but my heart just caved in…
This is where I live, Penrith in the Lake District. I haven’t shown this image previously as I am not keen on images where there is lots of evidence of man-made structures and industrialisation, but in the context of this post I think it represents Penrith well. I live in what was, a small market town now is fast becoming a quite large township, the gateway to The Lakes. I am grateful every morning when I see (a partial) view like this from my bedroom window, that my back yard is, the eastern mountains of Cumbria and I live in such an astoundingly beautiful place.