In recent years we have spent a week in June in the Lake District in the Northwest of England. The hills create a magical and almost mystical atmosphere present in few other places in the UK, and Keswick, our base for the trip, is a town we love for its friendliness and location in the heart of this area.
We enjoyed six days of walking, with our Ramblers group, with good friends who are lucky to live close by, and also, just the two of us enjoying the peace and quiet that walking the hills can bring.
The intention with this piece is not to describe in detail each of the walks we undertook, but to illustrate the area using the photographs I took whilst out walking.
Clockwise from top left: Derwentwater from above Keswick; DH at Castlerigg, coffee time; Us at the stones; Half of the Castlerigg Stone Circle.
Castlerigg Stone Circle sits on a plateau above Keswick with fantastic views, most notably to the South East and the Helvellyn Ranges and Blencathra to the north. It is a popular attraction with visitors and although I have visited a number of times over the years, I have never taken a picture without another human in it!
Top row: Views of the Western Fells from Tewet Tarn (Pic 3)
Bottom Row L-R: In a Lakeland country Church Yard; Meet the Locals; Thirlmere from High Rigg
One of the joys of walking with friends is the local knowledge they can bring to the walk. On one of our outings we walked up Grizedale Pike from Braithwaite, a village lying at the foot of this fell. Whilst we were out, our friend Geoff told us of the antics he and his mates used to get up to when they were lads growing up around these fells. He also spoke of the industrial past of the hills in the mines, now defunct, that are scattered cross the whole area. The mines initially produced lead, but later on zinc and Barites, which is a white crystal used to make white paint whiter and brighter. A fascinating insight into a long distant past, and what seemed a very hard life for people of those times.
L-R: Our target, Grizedale Pike; En-route to the top, Derwentwater from Grizedale Pike; View from the top of Grizedale Pike towards Causey Pike.
L-R: Made it! Us at the top; Me and Geoff; Lyn and Geoff. Yes it was June and yes it was that cold on top!
Left: The view from Coledale Hause, below Grizedale Pike; Looking back towards the mines from the mine track.
One of the saddest parts of walking in this beautiful area of the UK is coming across litter and pollution on the hills. Thankfully in this area litter is rare but on one walk the route took us past Styhead Tarn, a small area of water in the hills below the Gables. This is the most polluted lake in the Lake District. Over the years walkers, campers etc have “wild camped” on the shores of this Tarn and disposed of their human waste in the water. Thanks to this human activity people are no longer permitted to wild camp on these shores. As usual, a case of the inconsiderate few spoiling things for the many.
Clockwise from top left: Stockley Bridge with Green Gable dominating in the background; Styhead Tarn; Great Gable and Green Gable separated by Windy Gap. Looking down the valley with Ruddy Gill on the left.
One advantage of being based in Keswick is that if the weather is poor, there is always the walk around Derwentwater. Above are some shots of such a walk on such a day! Even on a rubbish day the place looks picturesque.
One of the most popular circular walks in the Northern Lakes is the Newlands Horseshoe, which starts in Little Town and circles the Newlands Valley, with stunning views in all directions once on top of the hill. Again our friends Geoff and June joined us and we had a fantastic day; the weather was improving though it was still cool on top but the views were clear and far reaching.
Clockwise from top left: Hindscarth from Little Town; Derwentwater with Keswick in the distance; Looking towards High Spy; Cairn on High Spy.
Made it! On top of High Spy: Lyn and June, me and Geoff, All of us.
Finally, I have started an informal photographic project based in the Lake District. Last Christmas Lyn gave me the complete set of books by the noted Lakeland walker AW Wainwright. His books are beautifully written and illustrated and my idea is to take one of the illustrations from the books for each of the hills or “Wainwrights” and produce photographs of it from the same location that Wainwright sketched his picture.
Our first “Wainwright” for this project was Ard Crags and on a stunning sunny day we walked up over Knott Rigg on to our target fell. This was a shorter walk than normal but delightful nonetheless.
Clockwise from top left: Knott Rigg; Towards Knott Rigg summit; Lyn in Yoga pose; On the climb to Knott Rigg
Shots of Lyn on the mountain – check out the reflections in Lyn’s glasses!
Top: Two views of Robinson; Bottom Left: View back from Ard Crags; Right: Panorama
Ard Crags – The Wainwright shot