Looking Towards the West

Awake early to answer a call of nature I peeped through the curtains to find a deep blue sky rimmed with oranges and yellows and decided that I also needed to answer the call of nature. After a fair bit if faffing (mainly looking for my camera), by the time I got out most of the drama had gone from the sky, but there was still a low mist and a quiet, still morning punctuated by the call of an owl and the crowing a cockerel.

In the darker western sky the moon was still high and bright.

I decided to climb to the Pepper Pot to watch the sunrise.

Pepper Pot in pre-dawn light.


As soon as the climbed fully free of the horizon it became much too intense to look toward, so I turned to the west where the moon still hung out over the bay with all of its own seas clearly on display…

Whilst across the Kent Estuary, Grange-Over-Sands was bathed in golden light…

All my life I have felt a happiness when looking towards the west. It may have something to do with the fact that the light is always freshest and brightest on the western sky. The sun may rise and fill the east with reds and gold, but what loveliness there is when one looks with the light, seeing it touch the tops of sleeping trees, brightening the last clouds of night.

Fresh Woods Ian Niall*

I wasn’t always looking towards the west, but I wandered around Eaves Wood seeking out the touch of the sun.

The best images I have from that morning will have to remain mental ones: the first was a roe deer spotted in a clearing, west of me and lit-up by the low sun in a glowing golden brown like a living embodiment of the warm early light; the second was a spider’s-web seen under a low hazel thicket, the hazel leaves all glowing yellow-green and the web limned with gold. The deer was too quickly away for me to get a photograph and the spider’s web confused my camera’s autofocus and isn’t visible in any of the many shots I took…

…although this does sort of capture the effect of the light in the hazel leaves.


That evening I was out again, and the light was once again fabulous. I noticed that the starlings have started to muster again when evening approaches.

I wonder when the mass roosts at Leighton Moss begin?

Howgill Fells.

I had an idea that having started the day with a sunrise I would finish it with a sunset from Jenny Brown’s Point.

As I approached Heald Brow the sun was already low in the sky and my route soon dropped into shadow.

I encountered another roe deer. This one was not so shy and I took several photos…

…but none of them especially successful.

As I dropped down towards the salt marsh I saw the light go off Warton Crag. For a brief while the windows of the buildings across the bay in Morecambe glowed fiercely, reflecting the sunset, but then they too went dull and I knew that I had missed the sunset.

Not to worry, there were compensations. In Quicksand Pool…

…I watched an egret picking gawkily about (sadly my only photo shows a blurred white shape which could just be a white bird in flight). Two herons flew low over the mud flats in tight formation…

They separated and I was able to watch one of them fishing in the channel for a while…


* When I bought this book I hadn’t heard of Ian Niall, but having been attracted by the title and then the dark engravings by Barbara Greg I read a few pages and decided that it looked like my kind of book – one more to add to my in-tray.

I’ve done well with books from the 1950’s recently having just read ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ and before that Jacques Cousteau’s ‘The Silent World’ both of which I really enjoyed.

Looking Towards the West

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