Over the last few weeks and months I’ve been putting in the miles in the Great British Northern countryside, in preparation for next month’s Everest Base Camp trek, accompanied by Polly, my kids Sam & Harry, my old friend Brad, and of course Morgan the dog.
Though the primary purpose was fitness and weight loss, I couldn’t resist taking the camera. The following images range across Cumbria’s Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors, and Yorkshire’s East Coast on the Cleveland Way.
I can’t say I’ve shed many pounds, but I’ve enjoyed every moment, except perhaps the popping the massive blister at the end of the three peaks 🙂
Hole of Horcum, North York Moors
Simon’s Seat From Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales
Great End from Seathwaite, Lake District
Ingleborough and Whernside on the 3 Peaks Walk, Yorkshire Dales
I hate camping! In fact I detest it! Why anyone would want to camp in the UK is absolutely beyond me. When I was young and naive, I may have been duped by the adventure of it all, but I’m older now, and wiser, the victim of multiple, miserable, camping trips that have invariability involved: rain, midges, mud, showers with only two settings – scold or freeze – and zero sleep. Sod adventure, what’s wrong with civilisation!
So heaven only knows why I was stood in the middle of a sodden field, rain bouncing off my sodden hat, under attack from waves of sodden kamikaze midges, staring down at my sorry, sodden, excuse of a tent, which had disintegrated the instant it was pulled from its bag.
… And that would have been the end of the matter had not – at my moment of total abject despair – my co-campers Lynne and Brad turned up, bringing not one spare tent, but two! No chance now to duck and run. No way of escaping the misery of it all.
The reason I was stood, bedraggled, in a field, surrounded by crazy campers, was a late decision to walk up Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak, in preparation for higher and longer walks to come, and a desperate, last minute, search for accommodation that had proved fruitless. It was camp or nothing and I should have chosen nothing, but I didn’t. Idiot!
Wind the clock on 18 hours and at 1pm the next day we were stood on the summit of Scafell Pike, the air as still as I’ve known it, the sun breaking through, the horrors of camping a dull and distant memory. And with the majesty of the Lake District spread below us a quick change of plan was agreed and we descended down a different route to discover Piers Gill.
These moments of discovery, even within a familiar landscape, are the reason I head to the hills; a view I never realised existed revealing itself for the first time, for a moment it almost made camping seem worthwhile … but only for a moment!
Having a a camera at hand at those moments brings me neatly on to the Sony RX1 rII. Tiny, light, solid as a rock, fantastic IQ, low noise, huge dynamic range; I’d carried it around all day without noticing; no need for a tripod, no need for multiple, heavy lenses, no need for a bag full of grad filters, no need for a carbon fibre camera strap.
They say the best camera is the one you have with you and I can’t disagree!
Today’s view from the path to Catbells down into the Newlands Valley. The wind was gusting and the path icy; without crampons we turned back and headed to the warmth of the pub.
The trip was part of our testing the winter gear for our up an coming adventure to the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway, just inside the arctic circle. Polly is modelling her cold weather get up below, with Derwent Water, Skidaw & Keswick in the background.
The clothing held up. It may not have been -10c but it was a solid test. My main worry now is whether the cameras will be able to handle the cold!
Striding Edge, perhaps not the worlds most perilous knife edge ridge, but I really don’t like the exposure of ridges, and with an attempt on Crib Goch muted, I had to get my head straight.
The first time I walked it I was in my teens on a busy summer day. Even then, as I watched kids and dogs run amok with gay abandon, I wasn’t so certain. For me there was an ever present sense of danger.
The last time I bottled it, taking the lower path. Perhaps it was too windy, or too misty; whatever the reason it was just an excuse to get me the hell off the ridge.
This time there was no wind, there was no mist, there was no excuses. I dallied for a while taking photos then …
Stepping onto the ridge it’s hard to describe the feeling; not vertigo, not dizziness, instead a lack of confidence in my balance, my sure footedness deserting me, my legs and brain disconnecting.
So I take my time. I stand on exposed ridge stones to let others pass. I stop to take photos. I let the wind blow around me. As my confidence improves my legs and brain reconnect, my feet go where I want them to go.
And with a last scramble to the top I’m done! And it’s my first time on Helvellyn in the sunshine, not the mist.
To bag some more Wainwrights I took the long way home, via Nethermost and Dollywagon Pike. Behind me the Edge seemed ever present.
As I headed down Grisedale the Edge was stuck in my head as well. I’d met my goal, but did I endure it or enjoy it? More to the point Crib Goch is a hell of a lot longer and more exposed!
And on that note I read this fantastic post today from 2010, https://nicklivesey.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/alpine-wales/
All taken with the Sigma DP1 and DP3 Merrill, hand held at ISO100. I was focussed so much on the ridge the tripod stayed firmly in the bag!
Different camera’s, different looks. The images below of the waterfall at Boot in Eskdale are captured by the Merrill DP3, DP1 and Sony RX1 respectively. The difference of look of the Foveon sensor, compared to the Bayer sensor of the Sony, is pretty clear. In a world of Bayer sensors the Foveon offers something unique; IMHO capturing a little bit of magic each time the shutter is pressed. For landscapes it’s now first out of the camera bag!
The shot above is hand held at 1/30 showing slight camera shake … but ok for the comparison. The Sigma should come paired with a tripod!
And the shot above and below just wouldn’t be possible with the Sigma Merrills! High ISO, handheld.