Conistone Circular – monochrome dales

A circular high level route from Conistone in Wharfedale.

Wharfedale
Wharfedale

A did this walk to find overnight wild camping locations but it turned out to be a superb walk in it’s own right. The views up and down the valley are incredible and at this time of year the wild flowers are at their best in the limestone meadows. Unfortunately my camera decided to pack up as I got to the best of the flowers – c’est la vie.

Although I’m extolling the wild flowers I’ve decided to convert these shots into black and white. When shooting in mid-day mid-summer the light isn’t entirely flattering and the colours, although lovely in real life, don’t add to the drama. Converting to black and white lets me concentrate on the shapes and textures of the landscape.

Wharfedale
Wharfedale

This walk follows a fantastic high level balcony that is taken by the Dales Way, with limestone edges for company, with a higher return to the high moorland of Conistone Moor. As you climb the terrain changes and you move through geological layers to a gritstone layer. The gritstone bedrock also changes the vegetation. At the top you can look down over the head of Nidderdale.

The carpets of wild flowers get even better as you get closer to Grassington but this was where my camera stopped working, so no more shots.

I hope to return soon and try overnight wild camping to get sunset and sunrise colours.

New Pictures

New stock
New stock

I’ve been doing a mammoth restocking exercise over the last two days, cutting boards, printing pictures, making frames. I’ve also selected a few recent or recently rediscovered shots to try out at the markets. Some of them a from my recent trip to Muker in Swaledale where the meadow flowers were so beautiful. One is from an old trip but which I’ve been thinking about printing for a while. I hope people like them.

Printing and mounting really do make the best of a picture. With a nicely made mount using good materials, when you pick it up and look at it there’s tremendous satisfaction. The electronic version is no substitute.

Borrowdale overnighter – evening

From Kings How looking south
From Kings How looking south

I did my first wild camp of the year a few days ago, in the Lake District. The intention was to camp on one of the hill tops above Honister Pass, where I hoped to get a great view of both Derwentwater and Buttermere as well as a grand panorama of big hills. The weather intervened and a gale on my chosen hill meant I could barely stand up and I certainly wouldn’t be staying the night there.

I walked back to the car and down the valley towards Rosthwaite in the Borrowdale valley. I had my eye on a small hill called King’s How. This little top barely registers on the Ordnance Survey map but I reckoned it would have good views and, being lower, less wind.

At work - the camera looking towards Derwentwater and Skiddaw
At work – the camera looking towards Derwentwater and Skiddaw

I started up from the road and soon lost the path in the bracken. It was clear that it wasn’t going to be a crowded place, the path being very vague. The wind was still shaking the trees even this low down and there was plenty of cloud, not good signs. After some steep heather bashing I found the top and two miracles. First, there was a panorama view. Second, by some freak of topography, there was a little hollow just by the top that was escaping the strong wind. By this time I could also see some sun. I decided to stay. I found an even more sheltered spot a few metres down in a little gully – very calm and discreet.

My sheltered bivvy site on King's How with Skiddaw in the background
My sheltered bivvy site on King’s How with Skiddaw in the background

The bad news was a very strong haze making everything look milky. Lots of pretty clouds but as it turned out the sunset wasn’t the best and I didn’t get many shots.

The morning dawned wet and cloudy and after poking my head out at 4am, I poked it straight back in again and went back to sleep. I haven’t sorted through the morning photographs yet but I’m not expecting much.

Barmouth – rediscovered

Mawddach Estuary
Mawddach Estuary

A couple of years ago I did an overnight wild camping trip to Barmouth, southern Snowdonia. This is a truly spectacular place that so far I’ve struggled to do justice to. On this occasion I messed up by arriving late and not being ready with a good location to camp and shoot. I was disappointed with the results and never bothered to sort and process them properly.

With the current weather driving me a little nuts (too much rain!) I’m looking through the catalogue and I’ve found these shots again. Here are a few that are better than I’d realised first time round. I think they give a reasonable idea of the natural beauty of this place.

Swaledale Flower Meadows – part 2

Swaledale
Swaledale

My last post had photos from a drizzly day in Swaledale. I camped overnight (in a campsite, not my usual bivvy bag) and set my alarm optimistically for 4am, hoping for clear skies at dawn. I was surprisingly asleep when it went off and I poked my head out. Hmmm… – mixed. However, enough clear areas to make it worth getting up for. Out I went, walked up the valley to find a good viewpoint.

Not the best sunrise I’ve ever seen but worth being out for.