Daniel Groves

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Wind, Rain and Mountains

Published: 3 April 2016 · Tags: cumbria, walking, photography

A short photo-story from a recent trip to the Lake District National Park in Cumbria.

I don’t generally write these posts unless I have a single purpose — to tell the tale of an adventure. This one will be a little different to the others, focusing instead on a week trip to the mountains, specifically the Lake District national park. There was no real purpose for this trip, except to escape to the mountains.

We arrived at Gillside Farm campsite in Glenridding after a nine hour drive up on Thursday 22nd March. It was starting to get dark, but everything seemed calm on the drive in. As we approached the campsite we noticed a group of people walked the other way up the road seemed to be struggling with the wind. Driving across the campsite we quickly noticed one tent was already in a heap, weighted down by some chairs, and others were partially collapsed.

 alt: A quick grab on the way to Keswick. Left to right: Lonscale Fell
A quick grab on the way to Keswick. Left to right: Lonscale Fell, Blease Fell, Gategill Fell and Hall’s Fell.

We checked in at reception before returning to the car to get the tents out. Pitching proved difficult, although not as bad as some in the past, thanks to the 50mph winds that were crashing over the campsite. At one point one of the tents attempted to fly away down the campsite, but both went up relatively quickly despite the winds.

Just as I was pegging the guy lines out on my own tent someone approached and asked if we’d seen their tent going past at all. They returned 10 minutes later with it bundled in their arms, throwing it into their car before driving off.


 alt: Looking over Derwent Water towards Dodd and Ashness Fell.
Looking over Derwent Water towards Dodd and Ashness Fell.

The next morning the weather hadn’t improved. Rain had now been added into the mix, so we retreated to Fellbites Cafe in the village for breakfast before deciding we’d heading to Ambleside for the day to pickup any new gear that was needed, including replacing my old Berghaus Extreme GoreTex jacket that has been slowly disintegrating for the last 6 months or so.

We finished the day with a rather miserable curry cooking under a tarp while it was beating down on us thanks in the wind. At this point the camera was still well buried at the back of the car boot, thanks to the relentless rain.

 alt: Swinside from the Theatre on the Lake.
Swinside from the Theatre on the Lake.

Thankfully, the weather did eventually improve from torrential downpours to scattered showers which allowed me to put the camera together and start shooting. This improvement set a course for the rest of the week as the weather steadily improved everyday providing more and more shooting opportunities until the final day where I barely put the camera down all day.

 alt: Fairfield Pikes.
Fairfield Pikes.

During this final day in the lakes we decided to follow Glenridding Beck out of the campsite to see how much snow coverage was present. Having no winter gear I was not in a position to attempt to climb it this time, although I have completed it on numerous occasions in the past. Plenty of people were making attempts though as we were regularly overtaken by others with ice axes and crampons strapped to their bags.

 alt: Red Tarn Beck looking towards Catstye Cam under a thick blanket of snow.
Red Tarn Beck looking towards Catstye Cam under a thick blanket of snow.

Despite staying well below the snow line there’s still loads of photo opportunities along the path approaching Red Tarn from the old copper mine hostels. Many of these are on the path itself, while others are jsut a short distance off the beaten track.

 alt: Falls on the Helvellyn Approach.
An unnamed waterfall on an unnamed beck on the approach to Red Tarn on Helvellyn. The snow covered peak in the background is Catstye Cam, which stands in from of Helvellyn itself.

We finished the afternoon back in Fellbites Cafe for a cream tea before heading back out to photograph the sunset from Deepdale Valley where I’d noticed the peaks were in a dramatic setting with heavy snow cover from the road earlier in the week.

 alt: Deepdale Beck looking back towards Ullswater (out of view) and Place Fell
Deepdale Beck looking back towards Ullswater (out of view) and Place Fell, Stony Rigg and Angletarn Pikes beyond.

We turned up about 90 minutes before the sunset and so had plenty of time to find a good angle and setup. The light took a long time to develop, so I focused on the mountains back down the valley in the east. Eventually the colour started to develop in the west, but only lasted for about ten minutes during which I only managed to get one exposure. Thankfully this was well judged despite the long shutter time capturing all of the movement in the clouds as well as the colour.

 alt: Sunset in Deepdale Valley. Clearly visible are Hart Crag
Sunset in Deepdale Valley. Clearly visible are Hart Crag, Link Cove, The Step and Black Buttress.

This is only a small subset of the images captured during the trip. Keep an eye on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for more over the coming weeks.

If you’re interested in the gear I use for shoots like this, checkout my recent post Gear for a Landscape and Adventure Photographer.

Locations

Most of the locations I shot during this trip are easily accessible. Those featured in this article are presented on the map below.