In summer months the sun sets behind Helvellyn. The Ullswater valley is covered in shade and you might find yourself at a Glenridding pub called the Traveller’s Rest. The view from there looks down here to Place Fell. Some years ago I was there, saw this sunlight, finished quickly, and drove down the hill to capture it. I didn’t get the shots I wanted.

On this occasion I was down in the valley beside the lake and had the time for several shots. Portrait to capture the golden light in the water, landscape to emphasise the dark skies and illumined fell. Wait a few minutes and do it again as the effect changed. I liked the portrait shots but decided this was my favourite.

The Ullswater valley was the first place I loved. I’d been going to other places for years and decided on a whim to explore further. I liked where I’d been going so much this never occurred to me. I will never forget driving along the motorway past Blencathra, turning right for Ullswater, passing through Dockray, and dropping down the road seeing the Ullswater valley unfold. Other people have spoken about this, how first impressions of the Lake District are like a doorway to another world. You’d never realised such beauty existed, such a place was available for you to enjoy.

For a year or two I went back to Ullswater and Glenridding, staying at a little farm house below the hill which leads to Saint Sunday Crag. She charged fourteen pounds a night and made delicious marmalade. Smooth, almost creamy, and I bought two or three jars.

On one occasion, I had to return to Manchester for a Saturday appointment. I went back to Ullswater in the afternoon, making a broken trip of several days. It was summer, idyllic, a blend of good walks and resting in the valley with a drink outside the hotel or pub.

You can walk below Place Fell beside Ullswater, combining it with a romp along the top to make a circular route. There’s a steamer which takes you down the lake so you can walk back along the path. There’s an area of flat rocks twenty minutes into the path, beside the lake, where you may want to sunbathe if perhaps you’ve walked Helvellyn, Saint Sunday Crag, Red Screes, Dovedale, Sheffield Pike, Place Fell, around and above Brotherswater, and High Street which you might reach from Hartsop.


Ullswater Light

Sunday July 5, 2015