Friday, 16 January 2015

Wanders with the Weather Gods in Teesdale

I have not really had time to write individual blog posts for each day so its just a bit of a roundup of some of the better days out.

Obviously not a hill walk, but it was still nice to head out locally for a bit of a wander.  Living here you tend to take places such as the grounds of the Bowes Museum for granted.  

The Bowes Museum and the Armillary Sphere Memorial to HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Barnard Castle 

Severe weather warnings for snow, rain and strong winds seem to have been in place for most of the winter up here and lots of trees have been blown over, or damaged in Teesdale.

 It's sad to see this old Lime has lost one of its two main trunks.

Despite the storms the gaps between one weather front and the next allowed for some grand days on the hill.

Falcon Clints and the River Tees from Man Gate on Cronkley Fell in Upper Teesdale.

We even had some blue sky days.  Alan wouldn't ski any nearer the cornice so no avalanche shots I am afraid.

Some days the severity of the weather meant a certain amount of discretion was called for and the higher hills were left for another day.

Don't let the sunlight fool you, it was seriously cold on some days and getting photographs often resulted in the squirming pain of the hot-aches.  

As you can see it has been seriously windy at times.  Photography wise it has made getting the long exposures required to photograph in darkness a bit of a challenge - it's been an enjoyable challenge though.  Mind you wandering the banks of the Tees on your own in the dark is sometimes a tad spooky. Especially so when the river sounds like it is whispering and an over active imagination brings the local spirit Peg Powler to mind.  She is said to entice folk to the rivers edge and then drag them into the river.

It may be a bit spooky up here in the dark, but the sight of a meteorite streaming across the sky actually made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  

Yesterdays band of warmer air produced a mixture of snow, thunder and lightening, as well as the usual gale force winds.  I knew the river would be high from snow melt, but unfortunately the main flood pulse must have come through in the early hours and I missed it at its highest.  Fortunately High Force still looked spectacular in the dark and there was even some weak moonlight at times.

Again strong winds made getting long exposures sharp difficult, but patience eventually paid off
Today we are back to snow showers.

So what's next?  Well hopefully over the next couple of months or so, I hope to be getting a few nights out in the Lakes. I have some ideas for some shots in the north eastern lakes around Patterdale.  In particular the High Street and Helvellyn ranges, along with some more work on the high Pennines, particularly Cross Fell and Mickle Fell. 

 Text and images copyright David Forster

Friday, 9 January 2015

Lake District - Angle Tarn Circular

Sitting in a warm campervan with the rain running down the windows made it quite hard to get going this morning.  We did not have much of a plan other than to get out and do something and as there did not seem much point heading onto the tops if it was going to rain all day, we compromised and decided to walk up to Hayeswater via Brothers Water and Hartsop, and then head up to where the path splits below the Knott.  At the path junction we would then turn left to head across to Angle Tarn and Boredale Hause, returning back along the valley. 

From Sikeside it was a bit of a wet trudge along the shore of Brothers Water to Hartsop village.  Snow was forecast on the tops but here with just a T-shirt under the waterproofs it was still too warm. Snow it has to be said seemed highly unlikely.  

From the little car park at Hartsop we took the left hand track up towards Hayeswater tarn where we were surprised to see the dam and bridge have been removed.  A new bridge has now been erected a few hundred meters downstream and fortunately for us having come this way many times before we decided to try the new variation.  It a good job we did otherwise it would have been either a splodge across the stream, or a return back down the track to the new bridge (sorry no pics cos it was lashing down).

By the time we reached the wall where the path to the Knott and High Street splits off we noticed it had suddenly become colder and within a few minutes the rain had changed to sleet.  Despite having to put a few layers back on this was a positive sign that the front had passed and colder air was now drawing down from the north.  Perhaps we would get some better conditions after all.

Moving on towards Satura Crags a few breaks began to appear over towards Dove Crag.

 Not quite the light we needed but things were looking up photography wise.

Ten minutes later the skies began to rapidly clear and we hardly knew which way to point the camera there were so many possibilities.   

Helvellyn with a dusting of snow viewed from the tarns near Satura Crag

Hayeswater with the Knott (L) High Street (center) and Gray Crag (R) 

Cloud spilling over Helvelln and the Dodds.  
Moving on we headed across to Angle Tarn

Angle Tarn and Angle Tarn Pikes

 Then on to Boredale Hause.

Boredale Hause and the view towards Birkhouse Moor and Helvellyn. 

To return we headed back along the valley to Brothers Water.
Distance just over 13K  

Text images copyright David Forster