Back in spring we promised ourselves that the summer would be filled with wild camping trips to remote, beautiful places, where long evenings would be spent exploring deserted mountain tops and photographing spectacular golden sunsets. Unfortunately, life has a habit of getting in the way of such plans, and with autumn approaching we were failing dismally. The problem is that on a Friday evening after a busy week in the studio or out shooting, its far easier to chill in front of the TV with a glass of wine than make the effort to pack a rucksack, sort through camera gear, drive for a couple of hours and walk for another few hours, before pitching a tent just in time for sunset.
But a few weeks back when faced with a perfect weather forecast and a free weekend we decided to leave the paperwork behind to get back to the mountains and doing what we really love. So on Friday afternoon we headed west to the Lake District and the shores of Ullswater. Starting from Patterdale we left the crowds of tourists behind as we climbed against the flow of walkers who were returning to the valley and the comfort of their hotels.
High above the lake we found the perfect camping spot on the grassy summit of Place Fell with fabulous views in all directions. The best thing about being in the mountains at night is the solitude and complete sense of calm; aside from a couple of evening fell runners we had the summit to ourselves.
Dusk soon approached with its warm light and lengthening shadows, and as the valley was engulfed by shade we watched lights come on in the villages far below. The mountain tops were still bathed in light though, and it was warm enough to stay outside until sunset. With mugs of hot chocolate and homemade flapjacks, we watched the sun dip behind Glenridding, bathing the mountains in a peachy, red light.
We had a reasonable night’s sleep, or as good a you can expect when two people and an excited dog share a small tent, and woke early to a chilly dawn. By 8 o’clock we were walking again, downwards along Scalehow Beck to the shores of Ullswater.
The day soon warmed up and we took our time, enjoying the peace of the early morning as we passed the first groups of walkers heading out for the day. The path wound it’s way along the lakeshore back to Patterdale past trickling streams and through lush damp woodland, giving superb views across the still water as the paddle steamer headed out for its first trip of the day.
Photographs taken from the mountain summits give a different perspective on the landscape and allow you to convey its expanse and beauty in a unique way.