I seem to have let things slide a bit around here once again. I’ve left several hilltop sunset moments unrecounted, for a variety of reasons, mostly related to camera muppetry.
I have no photos to offer of the first of these evenings, not because I didn’t take any, but because the light was so low it wasn’t really worth taking any, and the end results weren’t very satisfactory. Around a month ago now, when the days were as long as they come, I’d planned a late visit to Brunt Knott which sits above Staveley on the east side of the Kentmere valley. Things, however, don’t always go as planned and I had begun my walk very late, even for a long June evening. What’s more, a rather splendid day had clouded over and so, somewhere above Potter Tarn, I decided that the light was insufficient to get me to the top and back and turned tail. So – a bit of a flop in some ways, but a very pleasant walk none the less, most memorable for the very strident oystercatcher by Potter Tarn which must have had a nest nearby, judging by the belligerent attention it paid to me.
I also have no photos of the second walk, which happened a few days later. Once again my plans didn’t run smoothly. This time I’d arranged to meet my friend T again, who had accompanied me on Ingleborough not so long back. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten about a late meeting at work and left him sitting in a lay-by wondering what had happened to me. Luckily, T’s a very forgiving chap and eventually we were parked on the Littledale Road on the North –Western edge of the Forest of Bowland. It was a cracking evening and we had a fine and sunny walk – sandwiches and a cuppa on Clougha Pike then over Grit Fell to Ward’s Stone. It was a little hazy and there was a covering of cloud to the north and west. For that reason, we didn’t really see a sunset as such, but when the sun was low it was reflected, a deep red, in the waters of Morecambe Bay. Beyond the Bay, Black Combe glowed pink, presumably catching that reflected light, since we were seeing it’s eastern flank. It was a really odd phenomenon, and it would have been good to see whether a photo could do it justice. What’s more I had a new camera to try out: my Dad has down-sized to an upmarket compact and has donated his old DSLR to me. He gave me two camera bags too. And he was very specific about which one actually had the camera in it. Only an idiot would take the other bag and leave the camera behind.
I’ll let you connect the dots.
We had a proper bona fide sunset, a real beauty, looking across the bay from the top of the hill behind Lancaster in Williamson Park. We were there for the Play in the Park, an annual promenade performance, this year an unusual retelling of the Robin Hood story, set in a dystopian future (thoroughly recommended – the play that is, not the dystopian future). Because we were there for the play….I hadn’t thought to take a camera.
The photos here were all taken on an evening ascent of Scout Hill. Unless you live locally or collect HuMPs or trig pillars you probably don’t know it. It’s a modest hill, 285m, and there is no access to the top. But we can see it from our bedroom window and I’ve long wanted to investigate. As a self-confessed wuss, I’ve been deterred by the need to trespass, but after reading about Mike Knipe’s visit earlier this year, in which any mention of shotgun-toting “get-orf my land” types was notable by its absence, I decided to give it a go.
And I didn’t regret it. It has tremendous all round views.
If you can ignore the masts on the top that is.
There was a huge bull in the field which has a footpath through it, but I gave him a wide-berth and he didn’t seem too interested in me. (The one I’d encountered in the fields near Side House on Potter Fell had been, to my mind, all too interested in me and I’d resorted to trespass then too, in order to avoid him.)
The lanes around Scout Hill are decidedly minor – single track with long grass growing down the middle, but it’s possible to pull off the one on the north side directly opposite the bridleway. A well made track heads through the gate from the road there, but the right-of-way follows the wall. The flowers on display – lousewort, bog asphodel, ragged robin – all love wet ground and I imagine that during a wetter spell of weather you might want something more robust than the sandals I was walking in.
It was a beautiful evening and I was snapping away with gay abandon – the only draw-back being the hordes of clegs in attendance, seemingly waiting whilst I was distracted by my camera before they took lumps out of me.
Sadly, I’d also temporarily forgotten the very careful instructions my Dad had given me about the camera’s autofocus. So I have a lot of blurred photos.
These are the best of a very poor lot. Better than no photos at all I suppose.
Now, can a bear of very little brain adjust to a camera which needs to have a little think before you can take a photo? We shall see.
Whilst this sweltering weather continues, I think I shall be more inclined to go swimming than walking anyway. We all swam in the Kent again recently and the water was, if not actually warm, a good deal warmer than it was last year.