Next on the list in my guide to Lake District photography locations is potentially one of the most beautiful Rivers within the Lake District National Park, the River Brathay. The River runs from Wrynose Pass, at the head of Little Langdale, all the way to Windermere. For me the stretch of river between Elterwater and Skelwith Bridge is the highlight and is a popular location amongst photographers. There is around a one mile stretch of river to explore, which winds its way through some absolutely gorgeous scenery and presents amble photographic opportunities for very little effort.
One of the lovely groups of Trees which lines the river banks. Taken on a beautifully calm winters morning:
Elterwater and Skelwith Bridge are both set between Ambleside and Coniston Village on the A593 in the South of the National Park. There are a couple of different places to park, at the National Trust carpark at Elterwater (Grid ref: NY 327 047), Silverthwaite Car Park (NY 340 037) and with is inbetween Elterwater and Skelwith Bridge and it's only a short walk down to the river through the trees. I, however always park at Skelwith Bridge on the side of the road as if your heading towards Elterwater and just up from the Skelwith Bridge Hotel (NY 343 034). I then take the woodland path up past Skelwith Force and towards Elterwater. Its about an 15 - 20 minute walk to the best of the River. Once you are through the woods the area opens up and you will have the river on your left, you will see a group of trees in the distance and you also get your first sighter of the Langdale Pikes.
The path which runs from Elterwater towards Skelwith Bridge can also provide photographic opportunities:
There are a number of areas I like to shoot and your not short of photographic opportunities for such a small area. There are numerous groups of trees which line the banks of the river and you can also get lots of grasses and reeds to use as foreground in your shots. The river is perfect for getting those reflection shots on a calm day and as well as the trees you have the surrounding fells like Wetherlam and the Langdale Pikes. The area is also a hot bed for mist and you can get some stunning conditions on these types of mornings. Typically this is a sunrise location and it's superb on frosty winter mornings and in Autumn when the trees are full of those lovely golden tones.
Misty Morning on the River Brathay looking towards the Old Oak Tree:
As well as the river an the abundance of trees, there is also a rather stunning view over Elterwater towards the Langdale Pikes where the river joins Elterwater, this is all within a 5 minute walk of the stretch of river. There is a little foreground interest in the shape of a collection of rocks, and there is also a bench which makes for a nice bit of interest in your shot. Towards the Skelwith Bridge end of the River you have yet more photographic opportunities, the pathway is a good lead in and can add interest to your shots and also Skelwith Force is also worth a visit, if you like your waterfalls. You can easily move between a few different locations as they are all condensed into a small area, which means you can come away with a number of nice shots if your lucky.
The View over Elterwater looking towards the snow capped Langdale Pikes.
Its certainly a location which I seem to gravitate towards time and time again and I always come away with a different image and I don't believe I've come away will a bad shot yet. It's probably the first place I will head to if I'm looking for a mist and also in the Autumn months when those colours are at there best. It is a popular spot so you probably won't be alone but this is because it is such a beautiful place to visit and is so photogenic. I would definitely recommend you visit this location with your camera, in my opinion it is one of the highlights of the southern Lake District.