Roughing it for my art

I’ve been threatening for a while to spend the night on the hills to get the late sunset and early sunrise and Joy has been sceptical at my lack of action but I finally got round to it on Monday last. I had a spot on Birker Fell in mind from a long-ago memory of a spectacular sunset there lighting up the Scafell range. I also knew there’d be no problem finding overnight parking (which is usually forbidden in most of the managed car parks).

Birker Fell is a wild, desolate and mostly deserted corner of lakeland just south of Eskdale and west of the Duddon valley. It’s mostly low rolling rough boggy pasture. At this time of year there is lots of cotton grass and other wild flowers, though it’s the cotton grass that stands out from a distance.

I arrived about six on possibly the hottest day of the year so far. I was camping in the Lakes just three weeks ago for the Rheged exhibition and the night-time temperatures were well below freezing, ice forming on the inside of the tent. That wouldn’t be a problem this time. Two other things were more immediately worrying. The first was some dramatic and very photogenic thunder clouds sitting over the nearby mountains. I really didn’t fancy an electric-fuelled drenching. The second problem was more subtle but much more insidious. The dreaded midge. In position on a small craggy hilltop I started to realise that it isn’t just Scotland that suffers from this evil. I was seriously worried by the idea of spending eight hours being eaten alive but gradually a breeze picked up and they ran scared.

My hotel room for the night
My hotel room for the night

The warm sunny weather made the bivvying easy but the sunset lacked any real drama. Some lovely colours on the foreground rocks but I would have liked some clouds to catch the fire of the sunset.

Bed at 10:30, still fairly light but I wouldn’t get any more pictures.

Here are the sunset pictures. My next post will be about the sunrise just five hours later. All pictures below taken with the Olympus OMD-EM10

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