A New Year - Jay Birmingham

A New Year

I decided to have a bit of a rest for most of December, but as soon as the Christmas holiday came around I was ready to go again. I spent Christmas itself in Stone with my wife's family. A white Christmas would have been wonderful, but alas it wasn't to be. I did however get a white morning on Christmas Eve when a blanket of mist covered the floodplain of the River Trent in Stone. I loved the single tree that poked out of the mist.

For the last trip of 2018 (and the first of 2019) I went to the Lake District. When booking it, I had thought there might be some snow, but although there was a little frost, even the tops of the hills remained uncovered.

I started off by visiting Keswick, as there was a fence that I was hoping to see underwater, and I was pleased to see the lake was high enough. I’d thought about this shot when I visited in May, but the water was extremely low at that point. This time, there wasn’t a magnificent sunset, but there was a little colour in the sky, so I donned my wellies and stood in the water for a while.

The next day, there wasn’t much of a sunrise, but I went to look at some locations on Ullswater. I was staying in Penrith, which is very close, and as we haven’t moved much past the winter solstice, it’s possible to have a bit of a lie-in, and still be up in plenty of time for sunrise. We zipped around a little and visited Crummock Water, Ashness Bridge and Keswick.

We were away with friends, so went for a walk up Castle Crag on New Year’s Eve, and to Aira Force. Both of these are very accessible, and quite impressive, although the light was flat all day. I nipped back to Ullswater to take my last photo of 2018, of the boathouse at dusk.

On New Year’s Day, the weather was lovely, so we drove over to Buttermere, and walked round the lake. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, as it is a stunning place. The light was so wonderful as we arrived, that I told my wife and friends that I’d catch them up, and spent so long taking photographs that I had to run round the lake and caught them up as they’d done ¾ of the walk!

On the way back from Buttermere I just happened to be passing Ashness Jetty, so I couldn’t help but stop. This place is immensely popular with photographers, so the classic shot has been done many times, so I looked for something a little different finding a rope swing on one of the nearby branches.

I liked the views at Buttermere so much that I decided to return for sunrise the next day. The temperature had dropped considerably, and as I drove over Honister pass in the darkness the car registered it at -4.5 degrees. The road was a little frozen in places, and is very steep, but fortunately my Corsa remained faithful and we made it to the lake safely. Buttermere is surrounded by dramatic fells, and those who are regular blog readers will know of my fondness for a lone tree. It was extremely cold, and quite a few photographers came and went as the day was dawning. I’ve wanted to photograph sunrise at this tree for a while, so was pleased to have a shot at it, so to speak. It is usually closed off in the summer months, as there are ground nesting birds, so this has been my best opportunity for a while.

After warming up at the pub, we decided to go for a walk in Whinlatter Forest. I’ve driven past this before, but not walked in it, and it is well worth doing so. It’s full of windy paths, and becks and glades with impressive views.

That evening I visited Derwentwater again for sunset, but by now the cloud was creeping in. I took some pictures from Strandshag Bay, but geese kept getting in the way, so I thought I would incorporate them into some of my pictures. The next day I didn't take any pictures - the clouds were grey and the light was flat so I thought I would  just relax and enjoy my last day in the Lakes.

It was a fun trip to kickstart the year, and nice to do a bit more exploring in the beautiful Lake District.

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