Arctic conditions in the Lake District

In early February we experienced a run of Northerly winds for about a week, and these brought snow and keen frosts to Northern Britain.

I had waited for true winter conditions to hit the Lake District for a couple of years so I hit the road early for the lonely drive over the Pennines..... I'll open with my favourite image from the two day trip ~ a distant view of Blencathra from a very cold and blustery Great Gable.....

Blencathra from Great Gable 317 web

On the previous day, I had walked the round of Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Crag Hill and Sail, also known as the Coledale Horseshoe. Crag Hill particularly offers great views of all the Lake District mountains as it is reasonably high and occupies a fairly central position. I was also using this trip as a reconaissance for a future landscape photography workshop.



Grisedale Pike from Hopegill Head, Skiddaw in the distance

Grisedale Pike from Hopegill Head 169 web


The Scafell Massif from Crag Hill

Scafell Massif from Crag Hill 190


Looking towards Buttermere from Crag Hill, Wandope on the right

Towards Buttermere from Crag Hill 206 web


Telephoto of the Scafell Massif from Crag Hill, an image I had in mind to make for several years

Scafell Massif from Crag Hill 210 BW


I had intended to bivouac up high somewhere and photograph the sunrise. I wasn't too bothered about the low temperatures but a strong Northerly was still blowing, and this would have been rather distracting. As it was, I camped in Braithwaite and had the campsite all to myself. I realised why when I checked my Suunto Vector in the morning, and found it was reading minus 8 Celsius. That might have also explained why I had to thaw the saline before I could extract my contact lenses....  I digress..... driving past an almost frozen Derwentwater, I realised I had missed a stellar dawn, but all the same it was nice gearing up in some warm sunshine at Seathwaite before the quick hack up to Styhead Tarn......

Styhead Tarn 243 web


Styhead Ghyll was looking fabulous too....

Styhead Gill 242 web


From Styhead Tarn, I headed North West up Aaaron Slack to reach Windy Gap on Great Gable, from where I was able to make the next three images...... Windy Gap is now on my list for a future landscape photography workshop location....


High Stile from Windy Gap

High Stile from Windy Gap Great Gable 272 web


The view down into Ennerdale with Pillar on the left and High Stile on the right was particularly impressive.....

Pillar Ennerdale and High Stile from Great Gable 275 276


I was working with my newly acquired Fuji X-E1, and I was already impressed with it light weight, its versatility and it tremendous dynamic range ~ the last time I was working up here, I had hauled my Fotoman 617 plus two lenses and my Mamiya 7II plus three lenses...


Pillar and Ennerdale from Windy Gap Great Gable 276 277 web


Due to the low temperatures and continuing strong wind, it wasn't really possible to linger in any one place, especially Windy Gap. The only way of keeping warm was to keep moving.... I reached the summit of Great Gable and had the whole mountain to myself.... and I realised I hadn't actually been to the summit since my 8th birthday, although I had done plenty of climbing on the various crags on the flanks of Great Gable.


Looking out over the Irish Sea from Great GableIrish Sea sunset from Great Gable 324 web



Kirk Fell, Steeple and Pillar from Great Gable

Pillar and Steeple from Great Gable 302 web



Skiddaw and Blencathra from just below the summit area of Great Gable

Skiddaw and Blencathra from Great Gable 326


I had intended to head across to Great End, and perhaps the Scafells, but this range had been socked in cloud all day long and it didn't look like clearing, so after photographing the last light on Blencathra, I headed back down the track to Seathwaite.