Surprise! Surprise!

The morning of Monday 28th September dawned bright and clear. Even though my husband was on leave that week, we got up at the normal time and did the zoo as quickly as possible. I had packed everything for my trip the previous week and all I had to do was to put the final bits and bobs in the car. That was the difficult bit though – as much as I love the opportunity to get away with the camera for a few days, I hate leaving my family behind. For the first time in five years, I was ready on time, but in my head I was looking for an excuse to linger a while longer. No such luck! With unbelievable bad timing, the tanker delivering our oil turned into our driveway and my husband asked the driver to give me a couple of minutes to get out before my exit was completely blocked.

So that was the first surprise of my trip to the Lake District. I left on time. Protesting gently it must be said, but I put the car into reverse and set out in spite of any misgivings. We had taken two of our cats to the vet the previous Friday for short acting steroid injections, so no daily pills were required. Baldrick ferret was happy to take his medication, crushed up and in a special feed. Our diabetic cat was on one injection of insulin a day until I got home. I had left strict instructions to keep the kittens safely indoors and it looked as though the weather was going to be perfect. And it was.

I had opted for the longer drive up the A1. I get bored quickly on motorways and anyway, I have a soft spot for this old road. It was one of my Dad’s favourites, although it must have changed a bit since his time. I only stopped twice and very briefly at that, but it was still much further than I had planned. I had told the owners of the B&B to expect me around 4.00 that afternoon, but I hadn’t even reached Scotch Corner by that time. I finally pulled in to their private parking at 5.30, tired, hungry and concerned that sunset was just over an hour away. In spite of that, I smiled sweetly while I was given the guided tour and I must say, my hostess couldn’t have been any kinder. They already knew I wouldn’t be around for breakfast, so they said they would leave provisions for me in a brown paper bag. Later on I was to be grateful for these food parcels as I munched on a croissant while waiting for sunrise at Blea Tarn. That afternoon though I just wanted to dump my bags in the room and set off for Surprise View, my planned location for the first sunset of my trip and my second surprise of the day.

I had already checked out the route on YouTube and I knew it wasn’t far. I thought it might be worth stopping at Ashness Bridge on the way, but it was far too late and the area was already in total shade. In fact, the sun was on the point of dipping below Catbells as I parked the car and by the time I had set up the tripod, I had already missed the light. Never mind – I still had sunset to look forward to.

As with all the popular locations in this area, you are seldom alone at dawn or dusk and while I waited, several groups of people gathered. It wasn’t the most spectacular sunset, but after nearly eight hours of driving with nothing to eat all day, it was special enough for me. I took several other shots, but I prefer this one with a bit of human interest. Not long after, I packed up and drove back to the B&B for an early night. It was going to be another early start the next day.

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