The Lake District – World Heritage Site

The one about a big walk around Fairfield Horseshoe.



As the summer drew to a close, we enjoyed a few days’ family break based in Windermere, The Lake District. We enjoyed some great activities on and around the lake but one of my indulgences was a fell-walking day to myself, on a break from Daddy duty. Given that I learned the very same week of The Lake District’s new status as a World Heritage Site it seemed fitting to dedicate a blog to my fell-walk adventure, even though it is now some weeks ago… life gets in the way you know.

My choice of route was the classic ridge walk known as Fairfield Horseshoe. I took rather a lot of pictures, trying to enjoy both the lofty scenic views and the smaller close-up details of rocks and plants of the fell. In a previous post, called Textures, details and street greens I confessed my recent penchant for Instagram galleries with close up shots of patterns, rust, plants growing precariously from grates and such like. Take a look at my efforts if you choose among my own Instagram gallery and read the blog post for further insight in my photographic motivations.

Fairfield is a summit of decent proportions, not quite 3000ft but the circuit of the adjacent summits neatly brought the total ascent to that round figure. The most popular and I suppose easiest approach is from the head of Lake Windermere, usually Rydal (where I jumped off the 555 bus) or Ambleside from where two parallel ridges strike northwards. About half a dozen smaller peaks are taken in during the Horseshoe with names like Heron Pike, Great Rigg, Dove Crag and High Pike…I followed this clockwise circuit, the first pull up the fell was perspiration-inducing but not difficult and views backward over Windermere Lake became ever broader.

After a stop on the first summit to pull out my flask of coffee and remnants of the previous day’s ‘afternoon tea’ cake selection- I even attempted to jam a scone from my lofty repose -I made it up the steady pull towards Fairfield, after which exertions I donned my extra layers. The views were great, a full 360 panorama and a handy rock seat, made comfortable by a sit mat and my rucksack for a backrest proved a fitting perch to refuel and drink in the landscape.

I should say at this point that I am not a stranger to mountain walking, having clocked up a fair few Munros (the Scottish peaks over 3000ft) although it tends to be an annual binge over a long weekend in early spring each year with a regular posse of friends. We have for some years based ourselves at Killin, Perthshire, with access to many such mountains either east or west, whichever offers the better weather prospects. You may like to hear more about this another time, which I must keep in mind.

On leaving the summit plateau of Fairfield, striking SSE to follow the switchback ridge descending back to Ambleside I turned my attention more to photographic inspiration (the hard work of climbing largely behind me). So it was that my return route was punctuated by many stops and minor detours off the path to snap interesting rocks, plants and textures. I have included some of my favourites here for your interest. Take note if you will of the amazing dry stone wall leading all the way down the ridge crest, and dating, we are told to the 18th century enclosures as the boundary of Rydal Hall, of Wordsworth fame. I am not a great literary scholar, but I do appreciate a beautifully made drystone wall.

Textures, details and street greens

The one about my latest photographic proclivities

#30DaysWild day 14

Now, confession time. I have developed a little obsession. It’s been coming on for a few months, but grown noticeably in the last week. Some of you may already be aware, you may even have whetted your own appetite.

What I’m talking about is Instagram. No, that’s not the obsession; specifically that niche group of photographers who hunt out close-up details of mundane everyday things around them, especially if they involve rust, peeling paint or tenacious plants growing in unlikely urban settings.

Have a glance at my Instagram feed linked with this blog and you will get a taste. If you have an Instagram account of your own then try searching tags like #rustlord, #primepeel, #street_greens or the one that started me on my quest, #plantsofbabylon. If you get hooked too, just don’t come to me for your money back.

If you like what you see then please by all means follow my modest contributions to the genre on Instagram. I’m @timburkinshaw on Instagram.



Things are looking up

The one with the funky camera angles at Newby Hall…

30DaysWild #Day4

A day out at Newby Hall, North Yorkshire began with a picnic beneath a huge spreading walnut tree. Looking up into the canopy inspired me to look for some striking and unusual camera angles around the woodland gardens.

Naturally first port of call was the adventure play garden (our party today including three boys from six to nine years). So after a sufficient spell of play in the fountains, paddleboats and pirate fort etc. we set of for the woodland and rock garden. I found lots of tempting photographic subjects simply by getting down low and looking up at leaves backlit by the bright sunshine.

Some of my favourite results came from the interplay of shadows and light and the variety of leaf shapes and veination. I particularly liked the reddish Ligularia leaves with silhouettes cast by shrivelled blossom collected within their concave form.

Do have a go at getting down low with your camera for an ant’s eye view. As these pictures, grabbed hurriedly amid the woodland hide and seek games attest, it’s not always best to shoot with the sun behind you!