Monday, 30 January 2012

Making hay whilst the sun shines.

Weather forecasts like today's had been very few and far between this winter so it would have been daft not to take full advantage of it. It did turn out to be a long day but who cares when you have clear blue skies and a nip in the air.

My destination was the South Lakes but started with a detour down Kingsdale to take a few photos of the mighty Ingleborough. On a fine day the road through Kingsdale is a great alternative route into the Lakes but the highest point looked to be well under the snowline. It passes between Whernside on the right and Gargareth on the left before dropping down steeply into Dentdale. The views on the descent are stunning.

I headed back to the safety of  A65  and made quick time to the ferry crossing at Bowness. A few minutes wait and I was on the Sawrey side of Lake Windermere and heading towards Hawkeshead. It was with a hint of sadness that I drove past the Old Sawrey Hotel which has now been re-branded as The Cuckoo Brow.

I've spent many a happy hour both in the Hotel and the haunted Claife Crier Bar which legend has it was named after a local ferryman heard a voice calling out one dark and stormy evening, “Boat, boat!” He  responded to the call and rowed off in the direction of Claife Heights to collect his passenger. However he returned with an empty boat. The terrified ferryman was struck dumb with fear and a few days later he died of fever. True or not it still added to the character of the place. 

I've just looked on the "new" website and the bar is now just called The Stables and has WiFi and Wii connections for children. I think that will probably sum the place up perfectly these days.

Onwards, onwards, my next stop was Tarn Hows and the weather began to spoil itself a bit. I hung around ages for a bit of sun to come and eventually was rewarded. No walking round the Tarn today as I wasn't prepared to pay the extortionate car park charges being as I only wanted a few photographs. I stayed in close range of it though just in case the NT turned up to check for tickets.

Next was just a quick stop in Coniston for some lunch and with the weather not looking too promising, I headed north through Ambleside and past Thirlmere to Castlerigg Stone Circle which surprising was tourist free. I managed a few photos before a couple of coachloads of Japanese tourists appeared over the horizon and started clicking away furiously. This caused me to beat a hasty retreat in to Keswick where I parked up and walked down to the Derwentwater Landings.

There wasn't a cloud in the sky now and the light was entering the golden hour for photography. I love Derwentwater in any conditions. Come rain and come shine I have spent many a happy hour and a few sad ones sat on it's shores. It's a place I never really want to leave; it's a place to just sit contented and think of loved ones, it's a place for thinking your problems through or simply a place to just sit and marvel at the beauty of nature.

I've lost count of the number of times I've just sat by Derwentwater until the last of the light has disappeared and then headed off to the Dog and Gun (guilt free) for a swift one! ;o) Today wasn't quite one of those days so as soon as the sun had set I headed off home reflecting on what a beautiful day I'd had.

There are a lot of photos within this blog, I hope you take the time to look through them.


Whernside in snow




Distant Ingleborough

Kentmere Fells from Windermere

Tarn Hows

Tarn Hows


Wetherlam and Yewdale

Coniston Water

Coniston Water with The Old Man behind

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Grisedale Pike from Castlerigg

Skiddaw from Castlerigg

Top of Blencathra

Derwentwater landings


Golden light


Skiddaw and the Landings.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Calderdale Sunset

This is the final blog of three,  following  on from , "Snow over Oxenhope Moors" and "A Church within a Church" of my afternoon out to Heptonstall and is really just a series of shots taken of the sunset either in Heptonstall or Oxenhope Moors where I stopped on my way back home.

I know Stoodley Pike seems to have got into just about every shot but it is the most prominent feature to the west and the sun does set in the west.......... Also it makes a grand focal point.

Oxenhope Moor was as cold as cold can be. How the hell people survive in these little homesteads which are scattered about is beyond me. There cant be much fun in it especially in weather like this but each to their own I suppose.

I was glad I had left the heating on and the return to a warm house after such a cold day was so welcoming. I was completely shattered after only having had a few hours sleep 

Sunset over Stoodley Pike

Vapour Trails

Big sky over Stoodley Pike

Sunset sky

Golden light

Sun getting lower

Stoodley Pike

Finally setting

Close up of sunset.

Sunset and moon over Oxenhope Moor

Looking west from Oxenhope Moor

Calderdale sunset from Oxenhope Moor

Last of the light.

The Church within a Church.

This is carrying on from my previous blog "Snow on Oxenhope Moor"

Built high on a hill, Heptonstall is Haworth without the crowds, without the tacky jewellery shops and suchlike. In fact there aint much there at all except a post office, a tea room, a couple of pubs, a museum and a Church within a Church!  

"The original church at Heptonstall was dedicated to St Thomas a Becket and was built between 1256 and 1260. Later two naves, two aisles and two chantry chapels were added as well as a tower. Following a storm in 1847 the west face of the tower fell away and following some measure of repair, the church was used up to 1854 when the present church, St Thomas the Apostle was completed. The new Church was struck by lightening and damaged as well, maybe someone is trying to tell the locals in this area something!
 There are three adjacent churchyards at Heptonstall. The oldest is now closed and is around the old church with the second part around the new church. The third and newer churchyard is across a little country lane and is where the American poet Sylvia Plath, the first wife of former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, is buried. "

Apparently Plath's headstone is regularly vandalised by removing Hughes's surname from the memorial  because some of her fans believe he was responsible for her death. Wikipedia has more detail of her sometimes tragic life.

When I was there the local kids were playing hide and seek in the old Church and Churchyard which in a way, was quite a refreshing thing to see in this day  and age of the Wii and the Xbox. Kids just don't seem to play out anymore, they hang around street corners but never seem to play the way we used to.

It was a bitterly cold day so Citeh scarf, woolly hat and gloves were needed even when taking photographs (hangs head in shame). The views to the south over Calderdale and west across to the Lancashire moors were very good, with all the hilltops covered in snow. Stoodley Pike really stood out across the valley.

Oh and by the way, I was hanging my head in shame at wearing gloves whilst taking photographs and not for wearing my Citeh scarf ;O)

Most of the photos I took were either of the Churches or the surrounding countryside as the town itself seemed to be a magnet for builders or utility firms. Scaffoling or roadworks signs seemed to spoil just about every shot I attempted.

I'd kept an eye on the position of the sun most of the afternoon, hoping for a decent sunset and I'm pleased to say it didn't let me down. I don't go changing sunsets anymore and I've lost count of the number of times I've been disappointed and the number of miles I have covered but if one comes my way like it did today then I'll take it thank you very much. I never did get to a supermarket!

I'll post the sunset shots in a separate blog.

Lane leading to the Church

St Thomas the Apostle

Church Lane

Graveyard of St Thomas a Becket

Ruins of St Thomas a Becket Church

Ruins of St Thomas a Becket Church

Ruins of St Thomas a Becket Church

Ruins of St Thomas a Becket Church

Ruins of St Thomas a Becket Church

Entrance to St Thomas a Becket Church

Entrance to St Thomas a Becket Church

Thomas the Apostle Church

Madonna and child, Thomas the Apostle Church

Old and new Churches

Thomas a Becket Church ruins

Thomas a Becket Church ruins

Over the rooftops, Heptonstall

Old well, Heptonstall


Looking to Stoodley Pike

A short-sighted worm's view of Stoodley Pike


It must have been over twenty years since I was last in Cartmel and as you'd expect from this sleepy corner of Cumbria, the place hadn&#...