I wrote recently about my travels across one of the most testing of Lakeland roads, the Hardknott Pass. I could’nt continue my blog without sharing some of the spectacular views that can be enjoyed at it’s highest point of 1289ft, views that would have been seen through the eyes of the Roman soldiers and generals that occupied the fort in the 2nd Century during Hadrians rule. There are substantial walls still remaining and the general layout can be clearly distinguished, from the grain stores that fed the garrisons, the Commanders quarters and the main gate into the Fort. Standing within these walls you feel the atmosphere that lingers, the remoteness of its location, how isolated must those soldiers have felt, far removed from their loved ones and homes far away on warmer shores. The hardship of existence over the seasons, the boredom that must have been mind numbing, military training combined with raw survival, the prospect of battles ahead and a longing for the comforts of loved ones and a Mediterranean summer. Depression and anxiety must have been rife among these men, many of whom never made it home, a road to nowhere for so many, an existence suffered, yet I took my photos, breathed in the air and saw beauty all around.
Archive for the ‘Pentax K10D’ Tag
Travelling across the Cumbrian Mountain range through the beautiful Lake District National Park from East to West I was en route to Wast Water Lake (see post 41 Day 250), nestled below Scafell Pike. There are limited routes to access Wast Water and so I took the decision to travel one of the most testing roads the Lake District has to offer – with the exception of off-roading off course – the infamous HardKnott Pass. At first you would barely know that you were about to have your driving skills tested to the max, it lulls you into a false sense of security, an quiet country B road with its hedgerows pleasantly pass you by, turning right over an old pack horse bridge and a breathtaking view toward the Langdale valley, the thought runs through your head, well this is easy! How wrong, within seconds you are driving up a very steep incline, the road narrowing to nothing more than a farm track, the walls falling away either side and the breathtaking views now replaced by heart-stopping sheer drops to both sides. The engine strains and you automatically ease off the accelerator and hover over the brakes! The twists & turns come fast and sharp, loose shingle on the road where evasive action has lead to previous vehicles leaving the road and coming to a halt at the edge of a drop, skid marks warn of the prospect of vehicles appearing from beyond the ridge ahead middle of the road and with nowhere to go other than to reverse back to a pull-in, not a good idea when the road behind is like a snake, undulating and unforgiving. After many minutes (which feels like hours) you are focused yet exhausted, adrenalin has kicked in and your grip on the steering wheel has caused your hands to turn clammy! The decent is almost as terrifying as the accent, brakes glow hot but at least you have a clear view ahead and can plot your route. Just as the road levels out, still at altitude, you are blessed with a distraction, HardKnott Roman Fort, an amazing example of a Roman encampment high in the mountains, perfectly positioned from attack, perfectly positioned for power, yet inhospitable and testing conditions for anyone to survive in, Summer here is unrelenting and brings little relief from other seasons. After a break I am refreshed and ready to tackle the remainder of the drive into the Eskdale Valley, a welcoming place of peace and tranquility after the drama of Hardknott Pass. (If you view the image full size, zoom in and follow the road from the bottom of the image right up until it ends at the top of the valley, you will see a vehicle making its decent from the ridge, this is only a small section of the pass & prior to this you have already tackled higher more frightening sections!)
If I could look upon a single scene everyday for the rest of my life I would choose this place, Wast Water, high in the fells of the Lake District. Wast water is a remote area of stunning beauty, I use the word stunning as that is the feeling you have upon first casting your eyes on this place. I remember so well driving through the lanes as they became smaller and more uneven, cattle grids interrupting the drive and the sensation that your wing mirrors were so close to the dry stone walls, that the slightest deviation from the centre of the road would lead to certain removal of said mirrrors! But, that moment when I drove over another cattle grid and passed the National Trust sign for Wast Water I took such a gasp of breath and promptly stopped the car, walked several paces and simply stood in awe at the view before me . The sheer height of the scree covered slopes rising almost vertically from the deepest darkest waters to touch the crystal skies, the contrast to the flat grassy outcrops manicured by the weather, the far shores framed by the rising majesty of Kirk fell, Red Pike, Great Gable and of course the most celebrated of Lakeland peaks Scafell Pike, Englands highest mountain. No written word could convey that feeling on that day in that place. Beauty yet a sense of foreboding combined in a single landscape, pleasure and pain await the cocky conqueror of its peaks, a place where first you loose your breath and then your heart.
Following on from my last post I wanted to continue the story from my weekend trip to Sussex. The weather was absolutely perfect when I reached the beach, the sun was shining, the sky was the palest blue reflected in the sea and there was a slight breeze that seemed to propel the waves into the shingle beach, sometimes with a gentle nudge but occasionally with some force! I have often read JDT Photography’s blog (if you haven’t Id seriously recommend it!) and wished that I had the opportunity to photograph the coastal landscape and so this was a real treat for me! I wont even begin to tell you how many shots I took at Birling Gap beach, but it was more than a few! The one thing that I learned was that you have to have bucket loads of patience as nature will deliver a photo opportunity only when she feels like it……oh and the other valuable lesson was that when you are lying down to shoot the waves, make sure you can get up super quick when that wave is a little larger than you expected!!!
Not too much going on today so visited a sculpture park for something different to do and came face to face with, well a face! This sculpture was massive in size and was made from welded metal, truly impressive. As you moved around it, it seemed to move with you, the light changing as the angles changed.
This was a lucky find, I was diverted round one of the local villages on my way home due to one of the roads being closed for repair work and so it gave me an opportunity to go a different route home. Sitting at a junction I looked across and saw these beauties, standing tall and looking almost out of place, so I turned the car round and parked on the grass verge and got out to take a closer look. Now getting close to teazels is quite difficult as they generally seem to like wet areas, and having work wear on and 2” heels it was quite a challenge to keep my feet dry especially after all the rain of late. But, I managed a couple of quick shots before the traffic started to build up and I needed to move on. I may return soon to try some more interesting angles, but this time I will take my wellies!
Today is the Autumn Equinox, Summer is fading fast and the glorious colours of Autumn are beginning to show. As I drove home tonight I followed my usual route, but just before I reached home I saw this little poppy, alone on the verge, a final flurry of colour before retreating to the soil to hibernate before breaking free again next Summer. So, I parked the car, walked back to the poppy and shot into the fading light, cars speeding past unaware, or wondering what on earth I was doing. The results were odd as Id had to shoot in relatively low daylight but had the headlights of cars to deal with as well as the poppy dancing on the breeze, but having ramped up the ISO I opened it up on my computer and actually I really like the grainy effect that the low light high ISO combo has given me with the shallow silhouette. Unusual, somewhat a final curtain call for this poppy, the red curtains of the theatrical petals closing, bowing out, lights down and the end of this years show.
The legend goes that at the end of every rainbow lies a crock of gold, now ever since I can remember I have been told this story, but I have yet to find it! The thing with rainbows is that they are transient, here one second gone the next, so how can you ever find the end and arrive there before its gone again? Maybe you have to be Usain Bolt??? Or maybe you have to be an Irish Leprachaun! Either way I still have that childish hope that there really is a crock of gold, or maybe its just a case of finding something that is just as good, a true friend, some good news, or that illusive lottery win! I think I will stick to the legend of the pot of gold, somehow I think I have more chance of finding that than winning the lottery!