Right place, right time, wrong weather

Yesterday I planned a trip to the hills above Kirkstone Pass in Cumbria. I’d checked the map, it looked good. High ground, extensive views, rocks and cragginess. I was worried about the even higher hills immediately across the valley blocking the sun but I reckoned the views south wouldn’t suffer.

You can drive up Kirkstone Pass and park in the car park opposite the pub at the summit. It’s then a pretty short walk up to a ridge/plateau marked on the map as St. Raven’s Edge. This turns out to be full of photographic interest – ponds, dry stone walls, rocky outcrops, and of course panoramic views.

The weather forecast was slightly mixed, which had excited me. A mix of cloud, possible showers, and sun. This can make for spectacular scenes. But when I got there it was cloudy and claggy and hazy. There wasn’t a breath of wind, hence the clagginess in the humidity. I took shots anyway, hoping the colours in the moorland grass would come out well. By about five-thirty I suddenly saw a wall of fog heading towards me, filling the valley. This was exciting. I managed to get a shot of it’s leading edge as it went past me. I was then in thick fog but every so often there would be a gap and a sudden show of mountain tops. The wind had really picked up and this had got rid of the clag. I thought at any moment the fog would blow past and I’d be left with wonderful clarity and a great sunset. I kept waiting. I got my book out. At 6:45 it suddenly went much darker. I’d had enough and this seemed like a warning. I started back to the car.

About half way down the hill I got underneath the cloud and could see what was happening. There was definitely a sunset around and I took a shot, though it was still half an hour away but the cloud above was black. About fifty yards from the car and the rain started. That was it. I started down the hill in the rain and then the sun came out and caught the tops in flaming red. It was still raining heavily though and my cameras aren’t weather proofed at all. I carried on driving. The rain from then on got heavier and lasted for the next hour, with some spectacular lightning to boot.

A good example of being in the right place, right season, right weather, right time, but it just didn’t happen the way it should have. Here the shots I managed to get. All taken with the Olympus OMD-EM10

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