For a year or two I’ve been finding I prefer Wales to the Lake District. This is a curious change. For a long period of time I wasn’t fond of Wales. I was in love with the Lake District which is, I maintain, far more scenic and attractive. When I walked the hills above Llyn Gwynant I compared the view to Borrowdale but found it lacking. A similar wooded valley but not quite as pretty. When I walked Cader Idris there was a section of path where I felt this, just, is as good as the Lake District but the rest of the walk isn’t.

I’ve returned from a few days in Wales. This shot, in the Lake District, is from a few years ago. Narrative isn’t logically tied to a photograph. Narrative floats separately. The relationship is unstable which in some forms of photography becomes very problematic.

I like Snowdonia because the tourist trade is very small compared to the Lake District. If you walk the Arans for example you might start near Llyn Tegid at a village called Llanywchllyn. It’s a fine area yet the village consists of little more than a backwater pub and an old shop which seems closed for half the week. I wanted the attractions of a Lake District town because they are pleasant. Yet the point of the hills is to get away from everything. Wales is better for that. It’s the same with the Rhinogs. Far less people, no tourist shops, a sense of remote escape. The word remote summarises the experience and feeling I want.

You don’t have the same feeling in the Lake District which in good weather is swarming with people. The best is when you wild camp and wake in a solitary morning. It is however – this is where I tie my thoughts to this photograph – a far prettier place. Some of the hills feel very central with well known views spread to every direction. Great Gable gives views to Wasdale, Ennerdale, the Scafells, Great End, and this view to Styhead Tarn beyond which you find Borrowdale. As I climbed the slopes the day was cloudy with intermittend sunshine. The light floated across the hills with beautiful dramatic effect. The sunlit cloud was the finishing touch.


Lake District Photography: Great Gable to Styhead Tarn

Saturday April 11, 2015