So… it was the last morning of my stay in the Lake District and the wheels finally seemed to be coming off my bus. I had already taken a couple of stunning images at the famous Ullswater boathouse (due entirely to the location and not my photography). I had planned to drive a bit further down the lake and park up where I could explore the shore. My book had described it as a great spot for foreground interest, with rocks and fallen trees. I imagined that I could spend an hour or two pootling around, but there were problems.
The first was that after the five and a half hour round trip to Warnscale bothy the previous day, my feet were in bad shape. As soon as I started walking on the rocky shore, I knew it was a bad idea. The second hitch was that a breeze had sprung up, making the surface of the lake distinctly choppy. Had I not spent the past two days with water like glass and stunning reflections to boot, I probably wouldn’t have minded, but after just a few minutes I found myself back in the car. I ran through a few locations in my head, but the truth was that I simply felt too tired. I decided to head back to Keswick and have a wander around Derwentwater.
It had been on my list for that afternoon, but I had rather fallen for this beautiful lake and wanted a sneak peek. I had spent the past couple of days driving up and down catching the odd glimpse between the trees. Now it was time to park up and get a closer look. The walk from the Theatre by the Lake was easy and there were so many well-known sights in a relatively short distance. I had already seen the famous gate, normally found half-submerged and with a fence leading the eye to a little island in the distance. There was Friar’s Crag too – a promontory jutting out from the shore and described by the art critic Ruskin as one of the three most beautiful scenes in Europe.
It was at this point that I hit another problem. The lake was short of water. The gate had been left high and dry and Friar’s Crag bore no relation to the photographs I had seen. In the end I sat down in the nearby park for an hour before driving to Watendlath – a small hamlet owned by the National Trust. It was a fascinating afternoon, but I had still taken no worthwhile photographs since early that morning. I was desperate to capture something of Derwentwater though, so with an hour to go until sunset, I returned and parked up for one last time.
As with every other sunset on my trip, a handful of people had gathered on the shore and I got talking to a lovely lady who had also come up for a few days, but with her dog. We chatted away while I set up the tripod and then we simply waited. The image featured above was taken on one of the jetties as the birds were coming in to roost for the night. The one below is perhaps one of my favourites, maybe because I had started to believe I wouldn’t get a successful shot from this place. I love the quality of the light, even though the sky wasn’t that dramatic.
Finally my very last photograph – taken after I had packed my stuff in the car the following morning and I was ready to leave. Poppy the cat was waiting for me again and I simply had to record the fact. We had one last cuddle and with tears in my eyes I left the Lakes for what will probably be the last time. I have a mind to visit North Wales next year…