English Lakes – December

A few weeks ago I spent a couple of days in the English Lake District. The weather was mixed but I was prepared with a list of waterfalls to visit if there was no prospect of sunshine. An advantage for landscape photography at this time of year is that the light is potentially good all day – the sun is low and soft giving good relief to the contours of the landscape and shadows that are not excessively deep. Of course one may have to be very patient to see any of it!

Bleamoss Beck, the outflow from Blea Tarn, English Lake District

Bleamoss Beck, the outflow from Blea Tarn, English Lake District

I stayed in Ambleside at the head of Lake Windermere, arriving at lunchtime. In summer a horrendously busy place, at this time of year it was possible to explore a bit without stress. Once attending to the priority of the hour (i.e. lunch) I headed to Little Langdale and Blea Tarn on the east side of Windermere. It was gray and dull so I wandered down the main outfall stream from the tarn which was full and fast due to the recent heavy rain. Wellies were a distinct advantage as I pottered about in the stream looking for shots of the rushing water and surrounding rocks and vegetation!

After an hour or so I headed back up to Blea Tarn just in time to see some sunlight falling on the Langdale Pikes that famously appear between smaller hills across from the tarn. Handily, Blea Tarn has a few nice rocks sticking up close to its edge – something always appreciated by photographers looking for a foreground. Before long sunset arrived giving some pleasing colour to the sky and its reflection in the stiller part of the tarn. After this I went back to Ambleside and booked into the – for a Scot – appropriately named Melrose Guest House which I can thoroughly recommend. I then spent a pleasant evening in Zeffirelli’s bar and cinema before retiring early enough to consider a view of the weather before breakfast.

Stock Ghyll Force, near Ambleside, English Lake District

Stock Ghyll Force, near Ambleside, English Lake District

As it turned out, the following morning was cloudy with little prospect of sunshine breaking through. So after enjoying a leisurely breakfast I strolled up to Stock Ghyll Force – the waterfall just above the town. It is high and in a steep gorge – so I satisfied myself with shots of part of it rather than the whole, trying to contrast the fast-running water with the surrounding greens of moss and oranges of fallen leaves.

The weather didn’t improve much so a visit to Tarn Howes in the afternoon was pretty abortive other than as reconnaissance for future visits. On coming back to the other side of Windermere I did just catch some shots of the  ferry at Bowness in some brief colourful twilight. I then enjoyed some food and ale in the Ambleside Tavern before relaxing for the evening.

In contrast, the next morning, planned to be my last before heading home, looked promising through my window when I woke up – so I headed out before breakfast to the Ambleside pier in time to catch some stunning colours mirrored in the lake. The good weather continued so I decided to head back to Little Langdale and Blea Tarn before heading north via Patterdale and Ullswater.

See all my Lake District photos.


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