Retreat in the Lakes

My longest time away this summer combined walking, photography and spiritual reflection in the Lake District. I took many pictures, experimenting with wide angle lenses and polarising filters. The set of images below are the ones that seemed right in black and white, adding to the atmosphere.

From Penrith I took a slow drive along Ullswater, stopping to take pictures and admire views. I am always amazed at the tracks off the main road that lead so quickly into the mountains. This rough lane leads to a farm near Glencoyne nestled in the foothills; beyond are the fells.

Farm lane to the mountains

Farm lane to the mountains

Driving up from Ullswater the valley fields contrast beautifully with the bare hills with low cloud around the tops.

Towards Harter Fell

Towards Harter Fell

Kirkstone Pass is one of the steeper inclines for traffic in the lakes with few passing places. Nice in the summer, harsh in the winter, this view looks down towards Ambleside and Rydal. The road and stone walls carve a way through the bleak moorland.

View from Kirkstone Pass


My big walk of the trip was up Fairfield from Rydal. The ascent was steep but the path opened up onto a wide 3000 feet common, not the peak I had expected. It was very windy at the top which created a canopy of dramatic clouds. The view of receding fell tops was spectacular.


Fairfield towards Deepdale and Hart Crag

Walking back down Tongue Gill by the small stream gave a respite from the elements. Near the bottom, old crofts and barns dotted the landscape. The sheep wandered freely and a couple of them watched me unperterbed as I grabbed this shot looking towards Seat Sandal and Great Tongue.

Hills and old barn

Hills and old croft

The sense of space and rural beauty in these areas of the Lake District is difficult to describe. Civilisation tails off and wilderness takes over in a very natural way.

The last day I went strolling around Rydal Water and Grasmere. The beach by Grasmere is an iconic viewpoint, the light was overcast but visibility great. So far from busy city life, unchanging in many ways over generations.

Grasmere landscape

Grasmere landscape

A fine mix of walking and exploring and, in all, a great couple of days away at the height of summer.

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