The National Parks 60th Birthday tour Part II – The Lake District

Off again already on Part II of the NationalParks 60th Birthday tour, this time to the Lakes an area where I had not spent much time despite it being less than 100 miles away.  Maybe it’s too close and I just like travelling to places further afield or maybe its just too busy.  624 miles, just under 24 hours driving and approximately 40 miles walking.
 
Arrived at my base on the west side of Coniston mid-afternoon in the sunshine after the best few days of weather for the year so far.  I was in two minds whether to take a short walk to pick up some photo opportunities around the lake but decided to sit in the sun and read instead.  As time will tell maybe I should have gone for that walk.
 
The following morning brought rain which did not stop until mid-afternoon but I set out for a recce around the northern lakes in and around Keswick.  I went through Newlands Valley to Crummock Water and Buttermere which were on my list of locations, but at that stage, the weather looked uncertain so moved back round to Keswick and the east side of Derwent Water.  The sun was now out and some great clouds in the sky.  I walked up to Ashness Bridge which thankfully was fairly quiet and managed to take a couple of reasonable shots.  Then walked back down to the shoreline and along towards Friars Craig taking other shots as I went.  I suddenly realised that my Spot GPS messenger which is normally attached to my camera case strap was missing.  Great, 6 months old and hardly used.  Decided to forgo my intended walk and retraced my steps but to no avail.
 
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The next day turned out to be a great day – which I needed after yesterday so decided to complete a walk up to Angle Tarn near Patterdale which was voted by “Country Walking” magazine readers as the “Best View in the Lake District”.  The walk should have been just under 8 miles but ended up at 10+ as I included a circuit of Hayeswater on my way up and a circuit of Brothers Water at the end. Just before Angle Tarn at Satura Crag, there was a small pool with some great reflections so managed to get a couple of shots.  Angle Tarn is a great location and certainly worth a visit and the views down into the valley just beyond the tarn were unbelievable but you will need a head for heights on the narrow track with the sheer drop on one side.
 
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Day 3 brought rain all day and the following night so nothing to do but make a few enquiries about a certain missing GPS with the police and the National Trust office in Keswick.  No one had as yet handed it in but Alex at the NT offered to email everyone in her office.  Within a couple of hours, a call was received from the NT saying it had been handed in so spent the next few hours going to collect it.  Thanks to the kind person that handed it in and the NT for their help.
 
Day 4 and still raining although now only lightly but the weather forecast for the next few days was not too good but improving.  Remember what I said when I first arrived about sitting in the sun or going out – well I should have made the most of it then.  There’s a lesson to be learnt here, in that we should always take any opportunities that arise particularly in landscape photography.  So whilst the weather and I decide what to do I thought I would make a start writing this.  To try to get rid of that low cloud and mist I headed out to the coast and drove up from Millom to Ravenglass and eventually ended up at Wastwater and spent the late afternoon in improved conditions near Overbeck.  My return to base was over Hardknott Pass something I am not sure I will try again in slippery conditions driving an automatic camper van with nearly full tanks.  I will say no more.
 
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I was expecting the next day to be an improvement weather-wise, which initially seemed to be the case, however that soon changed when I left base but I was determined to get some walking in so completed just short of 7 miles from Grasmere to Rydal via the “coffin route” and back along each lakeside.  Then a 4 miler up to and round Loughrigg Tarn where after having been walking in rain most of the day a blue sky and sunshine materialised for a short while.
 
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I had been saving Crummock Water and Buttermere as the weather was supposed to be improving but this was not the case at least till very late afternoon.  Leaving Buttermere till the better light later in the day I first completed the 8-mile circuit of Crummock via High Force waterfall, the highest in England, although from the bottom you can hardly see the higher parts of the fall.  It takes a good hour to walk to the fall and although we have had a reasonably dry Spring it was extremely wet so if you ever intend completing the trek go well prepared with waterproof boots.  Unfortunately, the bluebells were not yet out at Rannerdale which is supposed to be one of the best locations for bluebells in the Lakes.  Onwards now and a quick 4 miler round Buttermere.  One of the most photographed locations at Buttermere is the southern shoreline/trees and whilst I could see the photographic opportunities all of the lands is private and very well protected in some cases double fenced.  I wonder why ??
 
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Well, that was my first photographic trip to the Lakes and although the weather could have been better, it is a fantastic photographic location and one I shall certainly be revisiting in the future.
 
I will now have a break from the 60th Birthday tour and plan the trip to Scotland.  Snowdonia and the Peak District are the remaining parks to be visited as part of this tour which I will visit during the remainder of the year.
 
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