winter sunrise over kendal

An early morning walk onto Scout Scar to photograph the winter sunrise over the Lake District turned out to be something I hadn’t expected.

It seemed a little incongruous, ethereal even, to be walking out of Kendal early in the morning – my path illuminated only by the dim light from a head torch. Dreamily, I wandered back some years. To the times when I used to set out on alpine climbs at ungodly hours. Feeling slightly groggy at the early morning rise and shivering in negative temperatures. Listening to the sounds of rasping coughs and squeaking, frozen snow, underneath cold, steel crampon blades.
The only vague comparison today, on this early, dark Cumbrian morning, was the sound of frozen snow crunching underneath my boots. Semi-dawn light surrounded me, breaking into the shadows. I had left Fellside and now began to climb along the side of Serpentine Woods, heading for Kettlewell Crag and Cunswick Scar.

You might well ask – and you probably should – why on earth was I climbing out of Kendal on such a secretive mission. Not many folks had yet risen, it was 6.30 and still dark, although a few lights had come on in the houses that I had passed. The reason I was now breaking through black, skeletal trees below the crag, was because I intended to take a photograph of the winter sunrise over the Lake District.

I was certain that the sun’s rays would paint the mountains with a rosy-pink paintbrush, and it would make a great picture. That was why I had got out of bed on this freezing morning at 5am.

This slightly enthusiastic labour of love had been born the previous day, during my first excursion onto Scout Scar. We had only just moved to Kendal from Windermere, and, with my daughter, after someone’s passionate advice, we decided to explore the area.

What I found, amazed me. It was a glorious day. A fantastic panorama opened up before our eyes as we reached the summit of Cunswick Fell: the whole of the central Lake District fells were before us, in a continuous line along the horizon. My eyes slowly moved along Coniston Old Man, Bowfell, Scafell, The Langdale Pikes, past Ambleside, over Fairfield, the Kentmere Fells, Longsleddale and finally the Howgill Fells, to name but a few.

I recollect Alfred Wainwright commenting, that it was the view from Orrest Head in Windermere that had given him his love for the Lakeland hills. I wonder how that could have been. As he lived in Kendal, he must have come to this very spot and seen this amazing view.

So today, I was emerging from the woodland below Kettlewell Crag. Faint paths, painted by Stygian gloom, led out of the trees. I must admit, that, in the dark, the place is a little intimidating.

I felt like Bilbo entering the poisoned woods of Middle Earth. Not sure whether something or someone was suddenly going to jump out of the darkness. Something rustled; I swung my head. The torch picked out a shadow in the undergrowth; then it was gone.

Reluctant Writer

It's interesting: life - how careers begin, how they evolve, how they change with time. Read a little about me. Read more about my writing and photography. Please take a look at my page: 'The Reluctant Writer'

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Wainwrights for Tearfund

Wainwrights for Tearfund My website with articles about our walks over the 214 Wainwrights in The Lake District, for Tearfund's 'No Child Taken' campaign in 2015.

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