A crook knee and a bad back didn’t stop photographer Andrew Clayborough from venturing out to the Lake District to capture a treasure trove of springtime scenery.
Even though I have struggled to get out this month due to a persistent knee injury (and now my back is playing up), I have a few favourite spots that don't take too much effort to reach from the car park but are as beautiful as you can get anywhere in the Lakes. So in March, needing my fix of England’s finest landscape, I planned a road trip that would take in Windermere (passed on my way in to the Lakes from the A65), Grasmere, Blea Tarn in Langdale, Hardknott Pass and the Hardknott Fort, Eskdale and Wasdale. All before lunch! Possible? With planning and practice it is!
From Grasmere I headed for Blea Tarn in Langdale. You won't always get reflections here but you can never be disappointed by this view. I think I have been 10 times now and today I was spoilt by long shadows, as the sun was not high given the time of year. Then it was on to Hardknott Pass – but only because it had been dry that night; if it was wet and as cold as it was overnight (freezing and below zero) you would be foolish to try take this road on as it is a 1:3 incline in places and not for the faint hearted. They have even put a phone box at the bottom in Eskdale so if you’re not sure whether to take the journey you can phone a friend for advice (although the phone was out of action on my visit). On the way down the other side is a view of the Roman Fort and a parking spot big enough for half a dozen cars. If you take a bearing and head almost straight out of the back of the car park there is a view from Upper Eskdale where you can see Scafell, Scafell Pike and Bowfell. Today, they wore the last of the winter’s snow.
This is one of the finest views of England’s highest mountains, achievable without too much effort.
The ground can be wet so sensible footwear is essential even over this short distance (no more than half a mile each way).
Then it was down the rest of Hardknott and on to Wasdale. Every time I take the turning at the Old Post Office in Nether Wasdale the same thing happens to me: my heart jumps at the sight of Yewbarrow and Great Gable as they appear on the horizon.
Again this is a drive I have done half a dozen times now yet it never fails to impress and fill your heart with wonder – there is simply astonishing beauty as far as the eye can see.
I then headed down to the shore of Wastwater for some low level images. The water was crystal clear and very beautiful, with the lake bed clearly visible. I sat and had lunch on the water’s edge then decided to drive a bit further down to Wasdale Head some three miles away. I stopped about half way down as there are some Scotch pines at the base of Yewbarrow that make for a nice view, with Great Gable – a fell steeped in history and tradition – watching from the distance. What more could you take in on an early spring morning? It was a brilliant sensory overload!