Of course, I wish I really had been able to photograph an otter at this stunning location. The truth is that it really was there, just like the red squirrel I spotted on the shore of Buttermere the day before. The problem was that I had the camera set up on the tripod for a long exposure using a cable release. I tried with the squirrel, but all I got were a few blurred trees. This time I opted not to try and just to watch the ripples spreading out across the lake and simply wonder.
This was my last morning in the Lake District and I was thrilled to find that yet another cold, clear night had led to mist in the valleys. The Satnav played up once again, so instead of turning on to the A66 as expected, it took me via the scenic route. It didn’t matter. The sun was just starting to rise and at one point it caused me to cry out in excitement. I saw half a deep red sun hovering over a thick layer of fog behind a bare autumn tree in a misty field. I was still driving at the time and I had to make a quick decision. Did I stop to take this photograph and risk missing the best light at Ullswater? Oh, I so very nearly gave in, but the vision wasn’t as real as it seemed. What I had spotted was quite genuine, but seen in tiny flashes as I drove along a hedge. As far as I could see, there were no gaps and certainly no gate. My brain had put the tiny slivers together to make the complete image and it seemed the best option to leave it at that. The photograph I never got, but no less beautiful.
Just a couple of minutes later I arrived at my destination. As warned in the guide book, I could see there was no footpath and I would have to stand on the road. I grabbed my kit and set everything up as quickly as possible. The number of birds was amazing and for one of the first times I wished I had a lens long enough to do them justice. I wasn’t the only one watching the wildlife either, as a gentleman appeared from the boathouse, dressed only in a white dressing gown. I would have taken my hat off had I been wearing one, as the temperature in the car when I had parked only moments earlier had read three degrees. I was wearing thick socks with boots, trousers, a jumper and my winter jacket. I waved to him and he waved back. I felt this was enough of an introduction to take a photograph and the result can be seen as the featured image above.
As on previous mornings, I found the mist had a life of its own and moved quickly across the surface of the lake. The sun rises directly opposite the Duke of Portland boathouse and for a short time it turned the mist the most incredible pink. It was a shame about the otter, but I visited this stunning location for a landscape image and I think I was amply rewarded.