Central Lake District
15th – 17th September 2017
Having had a busy few months, and spent a lot of nights away in the mountains, it was beginning to bug me that I haven’t yet had a superbly clear night with stars. With that in mind, a good friend of mine and myself were watching the weekend weather forecasts, eventually deciding to commit to two nights away that looked to be clear.
Having left after work on Friday evening, we arrived at Blea Tarn well after dark, and headed out with our gear searching for some friends we knew who were in the area. We found them on the far bank, huddled around a fire not too far from their tents. The weather was a little temperamental overnight, with the stars showing briefly before being covered in rain clouds.
The Saturday morning was a typical moody morning in the Lakes; hill fog clung to the slopes obscuring and views of the summit and the light had a very cold and wet feel to it. After packing our camp up, we made our way back to the car and slowly down into Great Langdale, stopping to capture some of the mood and atmosphere created by the low cloud.
With the wet weather looking like it was going to hang around for the day we headed north to Keswick and onto Whinlatter Forest. The mountain woodland holds the cloud and mist very well, as I”d noted on a previous trip, so it seemed like a great opportunity to go and make the most of our limited visibility. But it was as we turned out of Keswick and began climbing up Whinlatter Pass that the clouds lifted and we suddenly found ourself in a bright summer’s day. We still went for a walk around Whinlatter, as we’d made the trip, but the light was becoming a bit too harsh for photos and most of the photos we took ended up in the trash.
That afternoon we headed down Borrowdale, climbing up and over Honister Pass and down into Buttermere. As we passed through Keswick earlier in the day we’d gotten a weather update, which indicated it was going to be a perfectly clear night. Armed with this knowledge we changed our plans and decided to head up for a night in Warnscale Bothy, where we would be completely isolated from people, roads and light pollution.
We made the 3 mile climb up the head of the valley, reaching the bothy a little before sunset. We got settled in, unpacking our camera and sleeping gear, and got cooking our evening meal. Aware that they’d still be some sunlight creeping over the horizon until 10:30PM, we got ourselves comfortable and spent the evening relaxing after our hike up.
At around 10:15 we began stoking the fire, adding on extra coals to ensure that we’d have a nice warm cabin to return to after spending time outside shooting. We were both pleasantly surprised to find the wind wasn’t quite as bitter as we thought, and we comfortably spent an over an hour taking photos; with the Milky Way out in full force, we weren’t able to say no.
After calling it a night and returning to the warmth of the cabin, we woke to a morning of cloud and rain. We decided we’d already got more than we bargained for from the weekend, and decided to head down to the car and start our journey home