I've been asked a few times what is my favourite Lake District landscape photography location?? This is a really difficult question to answer and I usually proceed to rattle off around 20+ locations to the poor individual who has asked me the question, I can see their eyes glazing over and mind wandering. There is an abundance of beautiful and diverse locations all within a relatively compact area and it can be very much be like a 'kid in a sweetshop' at times but I guess thats what makes the Lake District such a fantastic place to visit for photography. I have many locations I enjoy to visit and all for very different reasons, some I find are better at certain times of the year, others are suited to specific weather conditions, some I have a personal fondness for and then we have just the jaw droppingly beautiful ones. As you can see, its not an easy question to answer. But I've kind of commintted now so I've been wracking my brains trying to narrow the many locations I love down to five. It's taken a little time but I've finally picked my five, a lot of great locations haven't made the cut, but thats not to say they aren't great locations. So in no particular order my top 5 locations are;
KELLY HALL TARN:
Kelly Hall Tarn is a small tarn which sits on the side of Torver Common and just out side of the small village of Torver and is about 3 miles South West of Coniston. The view over the tarn towards The Old Man of Coniston and Dow Crag is absolutely gorgeous and because of its location and size you almost always get a good reflection of the mountains in the tarn. Even thought it is rather small, it has an abundance of photographic opportunities with plenty of trees and a lovely boulder in the water to add interest into your shot. It is perfect for both sunrise and sunset and it's only a 5 minute walk from a large parking area. Kelly Hall Tarn was the first place I ever visited for a sunrise shoot, It is now my go to location with it only being 25 minutes drive from my house, I've visited countless times over the years and it's a place I love to visit to escape the stresses of the world. Your also guaranteed to bump into another photographers and its a great place for a good gossip with other like minded folk while taking in this super views.
This relatively small fell packs a real punch and not many plces can command the same views as Loughrigg Fell. It has a magnificent 360° vista from the summit with awesome views of Grasmere, Rydal Water, Skelwith Bridge, Elterwater, Loughrigg Tarn, Great Langdale and Windermere. You can walk up to the summit in around 45 minutes and there are routes up from Grasmere, Skelwith Bridge, Rydal Water and Clappersgate near Ambleside. A popular spot with photographers for good reason, with potentially endless photographic opportunities with towering mountains, beautiful valleys and gorgeous lakes. For me Loughrigg comes alive on a misty morning, when you can reach for the long lens and pick out trees in the misty valleys below. For me it's definitely a sunrise location to catch those mist mornings and the first of the morning light washing through the valley. I usually visit Loughrigg Fell on a number of occasion throughout the year and I can honestly say I never get tired of this highly versatile location. Its definitely a must for any photographer and a worthy entry into my top five.
Deepdale beck is a hidden gem in my opinion and as wild and rugged a location as you will find in the Lakes. It has often been refered to as the Lake District's answer to the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye with its series of small waterfalls and mountainous backdrop. It is set in a long valley which is just outside of Patterdale near Ullswater. The valley is very secluded and it's a good 45 minute walk up to the best of the waterfalls. Its a great walk and on some days you won't see a soul. The head of the valley is dominanted by the impressive Greenhow End, which is a large crag on the side of Fairfield. The location comes into its own on moody days and with a splattering of snow on the fells. You can catch some really dramatic images here in those conditions and it really reflects the mood of the place. I could easily spend hours in this location taking images, it never fails to take my breath away. Really worth a vist if you can handle the hiking time.
LINGMOOR FELL, LANGDALE:
Langdale is as stunning a location as you will find in the Lake District. For me the best area and the one I visit most regularly is Lingmoor Fell, which is nicely positioned between Little and Great Langdale. Again this isn't the largest fell but affords magnificent views towards the Langdale Pikes and the head of Great Langdale, down to Blea Tarn and also towards Wetherlam and the Coniston Fells. I have too locations I like to visit, one is Birk Knott, which is a small hill on the backside of Lingmoor Fell, which has tremendous views over Blea Tarn and towards Great Langdale. The other is from the front end of Lingmoor Fell, which has views down towards Side Pike and the Langdale Pikes. It has a gorgeous old stone wall, which runs all the way down to Side Pike and really works a great lead in to the awesome view (pictured below). Langdale is around 30 mintues drive from both Coniston and Ambleside and if in the area its is really worth visiting. A place that never fails to inspire me and many other photographers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
The smaller neighbour of Ullswater, Brothers Water is a delightful little body of water. It is sadly often bypassed on route to Ullswater but it's been a favourite of mine for a number of years. It is easily accessible and it's only a short 5 minutes walk up to the Water. The dominating fell from the Western shore is Hartsop Dodd and on a calm day can be beautifully reflected in the water, there is also a delightful copse of trees, which I also enjoy shooting. The eastern shore line is also lovely and I particularly like an old fence which slopes into the water with the fantastic view towards Middle Dodd, High Hartsop Dodd and Dove Crag. You can walk around Brothers Water and its a pleasant couple of miles walking. For me it is a perfect sunrise location and one I always stop at when I'm in the Ullswater area and it a good spot to just chill out and enjoy the views with a brew.
So there you have it, my favourite locations in the Lake District. Do you agree with my choices? Probably not, and over time these will probably change myself. Like I mentioned before, I believe this is what makes the Lake District such a highly regarded place having some many wonderful things to see and do in such a small area, not only for photography but for fell walkers, day trippers, holiday makers etc. It really has got something for everybody.