Hills, Lakes and Jetties - Jay Birmingham

Hills, Lakes and Jetties

My latest trip was magic. I’d managed to source Ed Sheeran tickets some time ago, so I knew that we would be in Manchester on the Sunday evening, so that helped narrow down my next destination to the North, and the Lake District was the location of choice. Whilst in Manchester, I did have a wander taking pictures of some of the more interesting buildings.

We were staying near Keswick, so that evening we went  to take shots of the iconic boats on the shoreline (classic postcard shot!) as the sun set.

Summer can be difficult for landscape photography as the best light is around sunrise and sunset. This means getting up at around 3 or 4 am to hunt for some amazing skies, but it definitely can be worth it if you have the resolve.

And so we found ourselves arising at 3:15am on our first   morning to climb Catbells, which is only 1,480ft, but affords wonderful views of Derwentwater. I’d hoped for a cloud inversion there at sunrise, but when we reached the summit, we could see clear skies over Derwentwater, but lots of mist near Ullswater. We ran down to the car, so that we could find the mist we spotted, and just about made it for sunrise! We headed to Crummock Water that evening, where there are lots of rocks that make for good foreground interest.

The next morning, we summited Latrigg. It’s a little smaller than Catbells, but you can drive most of the way up. We watched the clouds roll in, and they were dancing over the hills. There are good views of Keswick, Derwentwater, and lots of fells. Wainwright put it best when he said ‘…this scene is one of the gems of the district’.

That evening there was just rain, so I had a beer and looked at some of the pics so far. The next morning it was also a little wet and miserable and so we had a lie in before heading out for a small walk around Buttermere. Unable to find anywhere to park as it was so busy, we once again headed for Crummock Water.

The weather cheered up a little in the evening, so we went to see the Lodore Falls, which was very popular with the Victorians, when they stayed in Keswick. The weather had been too nice for there to be much water coming down, but waterfall watching is fun. We went back to Derwentwater for sunset, where several people were camping out, and some people had been balancing rocks, which was rather impressive (and also good for foreground interest). As the blue hour kicked in after sunset, we stopped off at Ashness Jetty where I got the chance to repeat one of my favourite photographs from six years ago.

It was getting harder to wake up early each morning, but we thought we’d go to Ullswater, and it was testament to having to work hard to reap rewards. Even though it was tough getting up, the sunrise was wonderful. It was so peaceful, and the gentle colours warmed up the sky. Photography sometimes can require a bit of dedication, and for each time an early get-up, or tricky walk pays off, there are usually several that don’t. This was a good morning, and a lovely view of the second largest lake in the Lake District.

Thunder and rain had been forecast for later that day, so we headed out with anticipation around Derwentwater, hoping to get some shots of lightning. In reality, we just listened to thunder and tested our waterproofs. I took a few pictures of the lake cruiser and then we chased some mist which kept moving away from us. This did, however, lead us to Bassenthwaite Lake where a faint rainbow appeared for around 30 seconds. Bassenthwaite is the only lake in the entire Lake District to use the term ‘lake’ in its title, and it is quieter than some of the others, situated just under Skiddaw.

For our last sunset of the trip, we went back to Ashness Jetty. It’s incredibly popular with photographers with good reason, as the vista is stunning. Sure enough as we arrived a couple who had just got married were having their wedding photos taken. The conditions were good for it – after the rain, there was a period of stillness, and the mist was gathering. The only issue was the midges, but it is definitely worth braving their attacks in order to witness this view.

The trip was fantastic, and we hope to visit the Lake District again in the summer, as there are still some locations on our ‘wish-list’. Also, after the summer solstice, the sunrise will begin to get later, so we are looking forward to that too!

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