Updated: Dec 4, 2018
Due to the poor weather when we visited last weekend, I decided that the autumn colours were too good an opportunity to miss and, as the weather forecast looked decent, I decided to come back up for another long weekend.
After another early start, I found myself at the southern end of Coniston but quickly realised that I needed to be at the other end of the lake, so I shot off to Monks Coniston – after a 4 hours plus journey, the first things on your mind are not about the photography but ‘where are the toilets?’ or ‘where can I get food and drink?’. Unfortunately, the Monks Coniston car park offered no solution to either of these problems as there was no café and the toilets were closed!
So, with crossed legs and a rumbling stomach (it was just as well the car park was deserted!) I set about getting some pics and was delighted that I managed to get several that I was more than happy with.
By now, an hour later, the crossed legs weren’t working, so I thought it best to make my way back into Coniston – a short wander around the village and I stumbled across a lovely café called Herdwicks, that served a delicious full English breakfast. The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted a slight trend within these blogs – we like a nice café and are happy to promote any that we think worthy. It’s only our humble opinion and far better than having a discussion about the costs of toilets and car parking in the Lake District – please don’t get me started!!!!
The next stop was Tarn Hows, a lake tucked away in the middle of nowhere, where I thought I might be able to escape the madding crowds – how wrong could I be! Despite this, the walk around the Tarn was beautiful and well worth the visit – what made it more enjoyable was that by walking from the disabled car parking area, you could get away from most people plus get a better view from a higher vantage point.
Again, I was happy to get a couple of images that I thought acceptable and should eventually find their way into the gallery on here.
Today was planned to be all about the mist on the lakes so I made my way to Rydal Water and arrived early to an empty car park – it was just as well I got there early as I later found out that there was a cycle race taking place and it became a nightmare to find spaces later that morning – as I found out when I eventually moved on.
I had found where I wanted to be by 7.30am and set up, waiting for the sun to rise – it was a delightful place to be, with mist appearing on the lake, then disappearing as quickly as it had arrived, plus being accompanied by buzzards, woodpeckers, swans and rock climbing sheep – yes, you read that right – 2 sheep in the field decided that, despite both having a dodgy leg, they would exit by scaling a 4 foot wall rather than going through the gate – they certainly made a better job of it than the photographer who was climbing the wall to get into the field (a very undignified landing and a quick glance around to see if anyone had seen him!).
The next hour was spent hoping that the mist would last and the sun would shine in the right spot – I’d just about given up on getting any photo’s when the sun lit up the bay next to me and presented a glorious opportunity. It wasn’t what I’d planned but was as good as I’d hoped for – as it was for the 12 other photographers stood next to me – this was the theme for the weekend, despite it being late November, everywhere I went there were umpteen other photographers after similar shots – I know I’d picked popular spots but it was a little unnerving to have people come and stand within a few feet of me (perhaps I looked as though I knew what I was doing?!)
Although the sun played ball, the mist had disappeared by this time, which was a little disappointing, so I set off for a walk around the lake and stumbled across a picturesque setting where the River Rothay joins Rydal Water – the sun was providing a backlit scene and the mist was there in abundance, which made for several lovely shots – amazing how so many good pictures come about by pure chance.
Finally, I continued the walk on through the woods, up to Rydal Cave (you have to walk inside this to appreciate how massive it is!) and back down to the lake before returning to the car park.
The day was completed by a trip into Ambleside, which turned into a 30 minute journey to get from one side to the other, before giving up on finding a parking spot and returning to Keswick for another wander along Derwentwater.
The forecast for today was a bit mixed – overcast and possible showers later so I decided that black and white would be the order of the day and picked a couple of areas that I hoped would be suitable.
Firstly, a trip to Stockley Bridge in Borrowdale - a short walk from where I parked the car, through the valley, before arrriving at the bridge. Plenty of rocks but not a lot of water running through so it was a little disappointing and difficult to find a decent composition – I managed to get some pics but nothing that I was too happy with and it became a little frustrating.
This also proved to be the case at the next stop off – Ashness Bridge – where, again, the lack of water restricted the options and I decided to cut short the visit. This is the 2nd visit to the bridge and each time, there has only been a relative trickle running through.
To continue the theme of frustration, I parked up at the bottom of Ashness in the hope of getting some minimalist pictures of Ashness jetty but 2 fishermen had taken residence and looked as though they were going to be there for some time.
The next stop should have been Latrigg (I’d hoped to get a panorama from above Keswick) but the roads were closed and there were no detours in place, so this was abandoned before making a quick decision to visit the stone circle at Castlerigg.
I’ve been here before, but I’m not one for photographing a ‘pile’ of stones – without being disrespectful, I appreciate the signifigance of the stones and the area, but they just don’t appeal to me as a photographic subject – so, while the other 8 or 9 photographers placed themselves around the circle, I took myself off to a corner of the field (it must have looked very dodgy and I can imagine some of the comments!) in order to get some shots across a field with the mountains in the background and the rays from the sun breaking through the clouds – it didn’t quite work out how I wanted but at least I’d given it a go.
Going home day and salt was rubbed into the wound! I’d packed my bags and as I took the first load out to the car, the sun came out and a beautiful rainbow appeared above Whinlatter Forest – this had been my view from the B & B – so I dashed back in to get my camera. Needless to say, by the time I got back outside, the rainbow had disappeared and I was left to curse my luck.
While it can be very frustrating at times, you simply have to accept that nature works in its own wonderful way and be grateful for those fleeting opportunities that come your way – I wouldn’t change a thing.