Back to the Peninsulas
Sunday brought along another trip to the lovely Lake District Peninsulas and a visit to Haverigg for a catch up with my parents. In light of the recent cold weather and the knowledge that the mountains were still covered in a layer of snow this proved to be quite interesting from a photographers perspective. Leaving Winterbourne Towers at 8:00 am we headed north-west towards Skipton and Settle and the dreaded A59.
The two and a quarter-hour journey was flawless and the sight that greeted us as we hit the A590 at Milton just by the M6 was picture-book perfect. I could have spent my whole day in central Cumbria, the Lake District mountains looked sublime; every fell or mountain above 2000 feet was covered with a dusting of snow. It was quite unfortunate that places to stop on the A590 are few and far between and where lay-bys do exist the views were somewhat limited or restricted much to my frustration. I did however find a quick stop possible as we drove over the fells towards Grizebeck on the A5092. Between Lowick Green and Gawthwaite as the road climbs towards the summit of the pass there was a lay-by with a very limited view over the central Lakes. As always, the view from a parking spot is never the same as what you observed a few minutes before and not been keen on blocking the road I decided to give that one a miss. I did however manage a couple of shots, above is a two image stitch of the view from a few miles down the road at Wreaks Causeway End Bridge on the A595. The snow on this image doesn’t look as intense as it did on the more central fells but I am sure you get the idea. The journey from Leeds can be split in to two sections; the first being the trip from Yeadon to Sedgwick on the A590 & A591 and followed by the trip west to the coast on the A595. Both segments have their own particular appeal, the journey to Sedgwick is mainly countryside with few towns and villages in comparison to the second which is beautiful landscapes with the odd glimpse of the seaside flavouring the journey with a sweet topping.
We arrived in Haverigg at 10:30 am and ready for a customary morning coffee. It’s always a lovely feeling coming here, its difficult to explain but it always feels like coming home despite the fact that I wasnt born here. There is a family connection that stems back many years but that’s another story. Haverigg is a village on the south-west coast of Cumbria, it is historically part of the original county of Cumberland. It has an extensive blue flag beach, a restored lighthouse and close the RSPB Nature Reserve at Hobbarrow. It is at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary, a protected are important for birds and other wildlife. The village is also very close to Haverigg Prison, a low security prison for males from all over the North of England. Below is a photograph taken on Sunday of the harbour at Haverigg, it almost felt like Spring. I am sure you will agree, the landscape on a beautiful day is stunning.
When the weather is good I will always put a camera in the car. Well, nearly always… there have been instances when I have totally lost the plot and left it behind. It’s on those occasions that something worth photographing appears in front of me and laughs at me uncontrollably. Haverigg is very picturesque as I am sure you can tell from the photograph above, if you would like to see some more images of this beautiful part of the world then take a look at the set I put together on my Flickr pages here . Mum and Dad live very close the beach but a long way from the sea. There is no chance of hearing waves crashing on to rocks here. Haverigg is in the mouth of the Duddon Estuary so the sea very rarely comes up so high. In a total contrast to this, just 2 miles up the coast the sea comes in very close making great photographic opportunities.
I made a mistake on Sunday. A huge one. One I regret, and will regret for a long time. I left my whole camera kit in the boot of the car which is something I never do. Before you start expecting me to say it was stolen, no it wasnt. But what happened next was just typical. The car was parked at the back of my parents home and the only entrance and exit from their house is at the side. We were sat having coffee when my dad informed me there was a bird of prey sat on the hedge just outside of the window. Not wanting pass off an opportunity for a photo I stood up and glanced out of the window. Stood on a perch no further than 10 feet away was a Peregrine Falcon. Yes, you read it right. I can honestly say I have never seen one before in the wild. But now I was in a pickle. Camera with 100-400 lens attached was in the car, the only way to the car was via the door. The minute I would open the door, said bird would be halfway to Windermere. I headed off to the back bedroom to get a closer look armed with my dads point and shoot digital camera. The curtains were closed in the bedroom which enabled a stealth approach… I slowly peeled back the corner of the curtain and could see the bird in front of me no further than six feet away. It looked fantastic, I could clearly see the yellow beak and its beady eyes, its yellow claws looked huge. There were small feathers stuck in its claws, obviously a remnant of an earlier kill All that went through my mind was I can’t believe I havent got my own camera in my hand. I got a little daring and slightly moved the curtain to unveil a better view. As I peered through the gap the Falcon sharply moved its head making eye contact with me and before I had chance to draw breath it was airborne and heading for pastures new. When I look back now, had there been an opportunity to grab the Canon it would have been no use. The minimum focussing distance on the 100-400 lens is 1.8 metres. This would have been no good to me as I was a lot closer with no ability to adjust my position. Despite all this, it was awesome to see one so close. It made me think how easily it saw me, all I did was move the curtain a couple of centimetres and its head moved like lightning. You can read more about the UK Peregrine Falcon here
Over the last few years the economic climate has had its effect on all of us, no more than this part of the country. South West Cumbria is very remote and the main employers in the area have either closed or had their work force cut. Cumbria is one of the most sparsely populated counties in the United Kingdom, with 73.4 people per km2 (190/sq mi). As a result, the restaurants and public houses are very quiet and as a consequence some have even closed their doors for good. A notable example in the locality is the Commodore, a great place on the sea-wall offering superb food and awesome views. My parents suggested we try somewhere different a little further out-of-town, so we set off to a very small village called Waberthwaite about 10 miles north of Haverigg. The destination was a local Inn called The Brown Cow. From the roadside, the car park looked full giving the impression that we may have a problem getting a seat let alone something to eat. We parked up and took a peek inside. I asked the barman if they could squeeze four of us in to which he politely informed us that the full car park didn’t reflect the number of seats in the restaurant as most of the vehicles had been left over from a heavy session the previous night. We had a great meal, I just looked on Trip Advisor for a review of the Brown Cow but it seems to have avoided either compliments or criticism.
On the return journey from our visit to the Brown Cow we took a small diversion to a little shoreline location called Silecroft. With the sun out and it being quite low in the winter sky the lighting was superb. I took a slow walk on to the beach to grab a few shots. More of these will appear on my Flickr stream within the next few days. Meanwhile. here is one to keep you going.
I am sure you will agree with me when I say it was an opportunity not to be missed. As you will already know, I have no fear of shooting direct in to the sun. The results can be a little hit and miss but quite often you can come out with something really striking. I love lens flare…it adds another dimension to an image, of course that is just my opinion and like anything, it’s not to everyone’s taste. I managed to tap off about 65 images from the shoreline and returned back to the car quite happy. The short five-minute trip from Silecroft back to Haverigg culminated in me jumping out of the car in the harbour area to grab a few more frames. Once again, the lighting towards the end of the day was just spectacular. It’s always difficult to come up with something fresh when you revisit a location. This is made even harder when you have similar images from the same time of year and under the same lighting conditions. Despite this, I managed to get a few more shots in before we said our good byes and head for home. We were a little pushed for time as we had to be home before 7pm as our beautiful grandchildren were coming to stay for the evening. This meant leaving Haverigg at the very latest 4:30pm.
Sunset was due at 17:21 and given the choice I am sure you know what my option would have been. But which ever way you cut it that’s much too late to be leaving when you have a journey time of 2 hours 20 minutes. So then sunset would have to wait for another time. I had totally misjudged the timings for the afterglow as I had estimated that we would get somewhere near the view over the Duddon Estuary which would have been ideal. Instead, we got much further on. Beyond Kirkby Lonsdale in fact. Because the road is quite undulating and as you are heading away from the North-West it’s quite difficult to keep an eye on the setting sun once you get past Lowick as it disappears behind the mountains. It was just by chance that I took a glance over my right shoulder whilst Elaine was driving to see a wonderful glow. We pulled over on the A59 just past Kirkby Lonsdale. I wanted to capture something with a little bit of foreground without it detracting from the glow of the sky.
The sunset brought a perfect end to a perfect day out. Hope you enjoyed the photographs (more on Flickr later) and thank you for reading (if you got this far).
Posted on February 19, 2013, in Days Out & Nights Away, Family, Landscape, Photography (General), Sunrise & Sunset and tagged cumbria, family, haverigg, lake district, photostitch, silecroft, sunset. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.