If you’re a regular reader you’ll know by now how much my (landscape) photographic output dwindles during the summer months. Until about July anyway, when I start digging out autumnal and wintry things from the previous year that missed the final cut at the time, but look amazing after a few months of flat/grey/hazy/drizzly nonsense.
Happily for the last couple of years I have contrived to be out on the fells with the tent on the one clear day of summer to hit the Lake District. When they do occur I yearn for many more of them.
To be able to cast aside life’s commitments for an evening or several is what wild camping is all about, but it’s rare to be able to do it completely freely and comfortably without being fettered by damp, cold, or bitey things.
So when a warm dry summer evening presents itself and you find yourself lazing around outside the tent on top of a fell, life feels pretty grand.
Here is the 2012 Lake District summer (all one evening of it) from Fleetwith Pike.
It was just the one evening for me too, bombing after a day out with friends and having to be back down for a commercial shoot the next day.
The ‘express’ route up from Honister Pass really isn’t a long walk at all, though it’s further than I had in mind, and a post event scan at the map revealed it’s actually further in distance than the walk up from Gatesgarth and I’d made a silly choice.
I’d only chosen it to save on ascent (which it does) and distance (which it doesn’t). The climb up the other side from Gatesgarth up Fleetwith Edge is a sheer delight, weaving steeply and airily in and out of rocks up a predominantly grassy ridge, and I won’t shun it again.
The classic view of Fleetwith Pike from Buttermere suggests a rather narrow summit area, but it’s actually an extensive scattering of rocky outcrops and bog.
I pitched next to the summit cairn, as I am wont to do, but in the case of Fleetwith this is one of the hardest, driest, most pleasantly grassy areas, so the decision was justified from a practical viewpoint as well as a, well, view viewpoint.
The temptation was just to enjoy the evening and chill out by the tent, but I can never resist switching my photographic head on.
I wasn’t optimistic of capturing much that evening however, as the sun disappeared under an extensive sheet of high level cloud.
Peering towards the horizon though, I spied a sliver of a gap, which could result in a brief burst of light should the sun sink into it on its route to bed.
And, delightfully it did.
A star of light that twinkled for maybe 30 seconds before fading and fizzling out under the cloud once more.
A wild camp from a high level vantage point does in theory give the mountain photographer two chances to catch some of the more intense lighting conditions, but rarely are consecutive dusk and dawns cloud free.
The next morning was clearer still, but with occasional wisps of moisture brushed across the sky. I caught a few shots looking over Buttermere as the summits glowed orange, and also a captured a few panoramic images of the Great Gable to Pillar view as the morning progressed and the light changed.
These last two panoramic images were made about 2 hours apart; you can see how light can change the entire mood of a scene.
So, more of this for summer 2013 please, but for now, bring on autumn and winter 🙂
You can see more images from the area in the Buttermere gallery.