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The Lazy Photographer's Guide 01 - The Lake District

by Chris Maddock

 

This article is intended to be the first of a series of articles covering much of the UK. It is basically a list of locations I have programmed into my GPS Satellite Navigator - most of which I have visited, the rest being places I intend to get to some day. It is not a comprehensive guide to the Lakes, only the parts I have been to and photographed - or intend to.

It will not contain any photographs, the intention being simply to provide information about location, access and likely subjects. I have photographs of many of the locations in my Lake District gallery at www.f22.org.uk if you want to see what you could see before setting out. Michael Sayles website, lakelandlandscape.co.uk is also well worth a look.

I've called it The Lazy Photographer's Guide since most of the locations are less than half a mile from road access.


Ashness Bridge
Aira Force
Bassenthwaithe Lake
Blea Tarn
Brothers Water
Buttermere
Castlerigg Stone Circle
Coniston Water
Crummock Water
Deepdale
Derwent Water
Devoke Water
Elter Water
Ennerdale Water
Esthwaite Water
Gatesgarthdale
Grasmere

Great Langdale
Haweswater
Kirkstone Pass
Little Langdale, & Lingmoor Fell
Loughrigg Tarn
Loweswater
River Brathay at Clappersgate Bridge
Rydal Water
Stockghyll Force
Tewet Tarn
Thirlmere
Ullswater
Wastwater & Wasdale
Watendlath
Waterhead
Wrynose Bottom

 


Ashness Bridge
GR NY 270 196
Possibly the most photographed bridge in Britain, outside London, Ashness Bridge is an old packhorse bridge on the fells above Derwent Water. Anyone who has a copy of the Ordnance Survey 1:50000 map of the Lake District will recognise it immediately as it is the cover photo.

Access - From the B5289 Keswick-Borrowdale road turn up the Watendlath road, when you cross the river that is Ashness Bridge. There is a small National Trust car park 100 yards further on on the right.

What to see - the bridge itself, the river both above and below the bridge, views out over Derwent Water, spring & autumn foliage. For more Derwent Water views, take the footpath just down the road from the bridge and head out across the fell towards Falcon Crag. It can sometimes be difficult to get a clear view of the bridge as it does tend to attract large numbers of photographers and grockles.
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Aira Force
GR NY 399 205
One of the popular waterfalls in the Lakes, this is also one of the more difficult to photograph because it lies in a deep cleft which receives little direct light other than at mid-day. Best visited on an overcast day to reduce contrast. There is an old packhorse bridge crossing the top of the fall.

Access -there is a large car park signposted off the A592 Pooley Bridge-Glenridding road and a smaller one off the A5091 Dockray road (GR NY 397 205). The fall itself is only a couple of hundred yards downhill from this latter car park, ¼ mile uphill from the former. Guess which one I prefer?

What to see - the waterfall itself, obviously, spring & autumn foliage. The more adventurous can locate the footpath that crosses the bridge and head out across the fell towards Yew Crag for views over and along Ullswater

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Bassenthwaithe Lake
The northernmost of the main Lakes and the only one that is a lake - all the rest are waters, meres or tarns - there are two main locations I have used;

GR NY 221 272 -a layby at the side of the A66(T) with access to the lake shore on Blackstock Point. Gives good views up the lake and across Keswick to Helvellyn, across the lake towards Skiddaw and down the lake towards the low ground and the sea. During the summer it may be possible to see the ospreys which have successfully nested in the woods to the west for the last few years.

GR NY 201 319 - laybys off the B5291 Kilnhill road with a footpath that skirts the lake shore. Although the trees line the shore very closely there are some good views up the lake and Skiddaw from between them

Further from the lake there is an excellent viewpoint from a layby on the B5292 Whinlatter Pass road at GR NY 223 244. this gives a wide vista down the lake and across to Skiddaw with the lakehead marshlands lining the bottom of the valley.

If you're in need of sustenance, the Royal Oak at Braithwaite does good food.

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Blea Tarn
GR NY 295 043 - one of several Blea Tarns in the Lakes, this is the one between the Great and Little Langdale valleys.

Access - Best accessed from Little Langdale, especially if the roads may be icy making the Great Langdale direction a very interesting drive. If coming from the Wrynose Pass direction, be warned that the turning off to the Blea Tarn road is extremely tight - I think even a London taxi might have difficulty getting round in one go. There is a National Trust pay & display car park at the given grid reference, the footpath to the lake is across the road from the car park entrance.

What to see - the lake itself, with a wide choice of backgrounds including the Langdale Pikes, Lingmoor Fell and Wrynose Fell. By the lake outfall there are a couple of stiles giving access to views to the south down into Little Langdale. On the north-west corner there is a fine pine tree standing slightly out from the rest which can give a good silhouette against the Langdale Pikes In the summer it should be possible to get sunset behind the Pikes, but take plenty of midge repellant.

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Brothers Water
Between Patterdale and Kirkstone Pass this is a nice little lake, well worth a visit either directly or if passing through. There are two viewpoints that I use;

GR NY 402 133 - small car parks either side of the river at Cow Bridge. The bridge and river could be worth a try but as the view faces south the contrast between the shady side of the trees/bridge and the sky can be challenging. Also it is not always possible to get down to the water level with a tripod. A footpath leads along the west side of the river to the lake itself, where there is a decent gravel shore. the angle of view takes in Kirkstone Pass to the south, round past Hartsop Dodd and the valley leading to Hayeswater to Brock Crags to the east. There is a white cottage across the valley which can be very photogenic, especially if the buttercups are out in the field in front.

NY 405 125 - a small layby on the left (if heading towards Kirkstone Pass) with rough steps on the other side of the road and a path down to the lake shore. This is a small gravel beach with good views down towards Patterdale, across the lake and up the valley between High Hartsop Dodd and Hartsop Above How. There is a reasonable growth of water lilies on this side of the lake, at the right time of year one or two on bloom can make a welcome bonus.

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Buttermere
One of the prettiest lakes in my opinion and, judging by the number of people who go there I'm not the only one who holds this view. There is only really one Lazy Photographer's location here, and you can't guarantee to get it anyway.

Coming from Honister Pass down through Gatesgarthdale, drive past the car park at Gatesgarth Farm and once you reach the lake shore at GR NY 191 153 there are three or four pulloffs (some of which are on double yellow lines, so make it quick) within a couple of hundred yards. If it's busy, it's probably not worth trying, so park at Gatesgarth Farm (pay & display) and walk down to the lake.

What to see - views down and across the lake and "the" tree on the promontory on the north shore of the lake.

If you feel like a nice afternoon's walk, then it's well worth walking around the lake. Park in Buttermere village, National Park pay & display car park at GR NY 174 169, behind the Bridge Hotel, and take the footpath down to and around the lake. On the way round there are smashing views from the lake outfall across to Robinson, from halfway along the south shore across to Grasmoor, from near the head of the lake across to Gatesgarthdale and Fleetwith Pike, from Peggy's Bridge above the head of the lake (you can't get onto the lakehead shore, it's private land) looking down the lake, and (of course) the promontory and "the" tree again from the north shore. There are a couple of good views towards Fleetwith Pike, High Crag and Haystacks from the north shore.

The more adventurous photographer might like to get a bit more elevation so here's a suggestion. Park at Gatesgarth Farm and walk up the road (towards Honister pass) for a couple of hundred yards before taking a footpath on the right (GR NY 196 148) that leads up the flank of Fleetwith Pike. Once you get above Low Raven Crag (only a few hundred yards up) you have enough elevation for a good view of Buttermere with Crummock Water starting to become visible beyond and Mellbreak reflected in the water (if it's a calm day)

The Bridge Inn in Buttermere village does good grub, by the way. One of their beers is brewed exclusively for them by the Coniston brewery and is well worth a sup.

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Castlerigg Stone Circle
GR NY 291 237 - a fine example of an ancient stone circle, up on the hillside above Keswick.

Access - the easiest way is from Keswick, coming out on the A591 turn left towards the A66T then after 100 yards turn right up a little side road. The parking (a layby) is opposite the field containing the circle at the top of the hill. Coming from Penrith down the A66T, turn left just after Threlkeld and follow the Ancient Monument signs.

What to see - stones laid out in a circle, what did you expect? Depending on the light and time of day the background options are varied, with Skiddaw and Blencathra to the north, Great Dodd, St John's in the Vale and Helvellyn to the south-east, High Rigg and High Seat to the south and the Derwent Fells to the west. The site is popular so you may have difficulty keeping grockles out of view - why do grockles insist on being photographed sitting on stones? Also the field is usually grazed by sheep so they can also be difficult to avoid - and lying down is not advised ;-)
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Coniston Water
One of the largest lakes, I've only found a couple of viewpoints that I like so far;

GR SD 290 911 - the Browne Howe National Park car park, pay & display with toilets, on the western bank. For foreground interest there are some nice bits of rock sticking out into the lake or, when the water level is low, some interesting exposed tree roots. Nice views across and up the lake, especially with nice late afternoon light.

GR SD 299 927 - car park on the eastern bank, with rough steps down to the lake shore. Nice views across the lake towards Torver Back Common.

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Crummock Water
Originally part of the same lake as Buttermere, until alluvial deposits separated the two, Crummock Water can be rather picturesque. Accessed by continuing along the road through Buttermere village, there are two points along the road where I find it's definitely worth taking some photos;

The first is as soon as you get close to the lake, with a layby located at GR NY 167 177 on the left-hand side. Walking a few paces down to the lake you get to choose what you want to do. There is a gate in the wall on your left, giving access to a grassy lake shore with a couple of trees to give foreground interest, whilst the background is taken up with Blea Crag and Mellbreak on the other side of the lake. Staying on the same side of the wall takes you to a small gravel beach with a shallow gradient under the water so submerged stones can give a good foreground. Again, the skyline is dominated by Blea Crag and Mellbreak. There is a fence leading out into the water on the left for a lead line, However, when I visited in March 2005 the fence had been destroyed by winter storms. By October it had been replaced but looked too "new", I reckon it needs a year or so to weather before it's as good photographically as it was.

The next location is just beyond Hause Point. There is a small layby at GR NY 162 182, by a small rock promontory. Failing this there is another parking spot on the outside of the next LH bend. The only drawback to this is that if you shoot from the promontory you need to get reasonably low down to lose any cars in the second parking spot. If you shoot across the lake then Mellbreak is again the main background, whilst if you shoot across the little bay from the promontory you get Grasmoor in the background on the right and reflected in the lake if it's calm. Near to the second parking spot you can also access the lake on a small gravel beach with a rather nice stone wall leading out into the water on the right.

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Deepdale
GR NY 399 145 - a shot by John Swannell I saw in the first issue of Outdoor Photography inspired me to try and find this one. The grid ref is for a small pulloff on the A592 between Patterdale and Brothers Water.

What to see - on the other side of the road is a gate, over which one can shoot up Deepdale valley with the various farm buildings on the right. Best in morning light, undoubtedly good with the right light - which I haven't had yet. On the same side of the road as the pulloff is another gate across which one can shoot towards Dubhow Crag, when the buttercups are out there can be a nice yellow carpet on the valley floor.

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Derwent Water
Known as the Queen of the Lakes, Derwent Water is particularly photogenic. This is undoubtedly why I have several favourite viewpoints;

Crow Park, Keswick - park at the pay & display car park by the Theatre at GR NY 265 229. Walk south down the road towards the steamer jetties and opposite the theatre you will see a gate in the iron fence. Go through the gate and follow the path across the field to the lake shore. This is a nice little bay with a great view up the lake with Derwent Isle in the middle and Cat Bells on the right. There is a nice fence on the right hand side of the bay for a lead line and the steamer jetties in the middle-foreground on the left.

Steamer Jetties - park at the same place and walk down to the jetties. The view is more across the lake from here, with steamers and rowing boats in the foreground - and scrounging ducks ;-)

Friar's Crag - again, park at the theatre and walk down the road past the steamer jetties. If the water level is low enough, walk along the foreshore until you reach a low rocky outcrop jutting out into the lake. Good views from here up, across and down the lake.

Surprise View, GR NY 258 189 - take the road for Ashness Bridge and keep going for about another ½ mile. Just around a sharp LH bend there is a small car park on the left. Surprise View is the cliff top on the other side of the road and offers a great view across and down the lake. The drop is sheer and goes down a long way so take care, especially if the rocks are wet. If you're using a wide-angle lens remember that things seem further way than they really are so keep one eye on how close you are to the edge.

The car park on the lake shore at GR NY 267 195 offers good views across the top of the lake

On the western side, there is an old mine working where there is room for two or three cars at GR NY 249 197, where the Allerdale Ramble footpath meets the road. Take the footpath under Cat Bells heading south for ¼ mile or so (it's an excellent path, suitable for wheelchairs in fact) and you will be rewarded with fine views across the lake to Bleaberry Fell, down the lake towards Keswick, Skiddaw and Blencathra or up the lake towards the Jaws of Borrowdale. Down below is Brandelhow Point with some photogenic boathouses.

If you're feeling a bit more energetic, there is a nice short walk down around the southern end of the lake. Park at the small mine above, and head down hill towards Brandelhow Point. After you've exhausted the opportunities of Brandelhow Bay and the boathouses, take the footpath south, through the woods and behind the Point itself rejoining the lake shore at Abbot's Bay. This offers nice views down the lake with Otter Island in the middle-foreground. Follow the path on round to Myrtle Bay for similar views. The path then leads on across the marshland at the lake head (some stretches are on short boardwalks) and eventually rejoins the road a little way outside Grange. Don't be tempted to try and cut the corner on a path that leads off to the right, that goes to the caravan park which does not welcome non-residents strolling through. Turn right up the road for a few hundred yards and take the path that rises quite steeply up to the left, this path climbs up behind the woods and rejoins the path under Cat Bells which leads you back to the car.

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Devoke Water
One of the western lakes, Devoke Water is one that doesn't seem to get visited very much, probably because it cannot be see from any road. However, it does look to have potential in my opinion.

Take the road between Eskdale Green and Dunnerdale and park at the crossroads on Birker Fell, GR SD 170 976. Walk along the track to the west for about ½ mile and you will reach the lake. It has a fishing lodge and boathouse at the end of the track, on the eastern shore of the lake, which can add foreground interest. Although I haven't had the right condition yet, I think that Devoke could be quite good for a reflected sunset - with or without the boathouse silhouetted.

While on the Birker Fell road, if the light is right there are several places you can pull off for views across to Sca Fell and Eskdale.

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Elter Water
Not a lake I've exploited yet, but I'm including it for completeness as I have recce'd some shots for when the light is right. I have two locations in mind when that happens;

GR NY 341 037 is a National Trust car park just outside Skelwith Bridge. On the other side of the road is a path leading down to the River Brathay. Upon reaching the river, one can turn left to Skelwith Force waterfall or right to Elterwater lake.

On the road from Skelwith Bridge to Elterwater, just past the first turning to Elterwater village (GR NY 331 048) there are a couple of angles worth a look. The first is looking along the road (or just above) to the Langdale Pikes, the second is a row of cottages downhill to the left. If you can get them when someone is in residence and has lit a fire all the better.

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Ennerdale Water
Another I have looked at but not exploited yet. There are two points of access, a car park at GR NY 109 154 giving access to the north shore and another at GR NY 085 153 giving access to the western end and south shore.

Personally I think the latter gives the best potential. After a short (couple of hundred yards) walk you reach the outfall of the lake, which is a weir. Although manmade I think it has potential - if you crop out the relatively new sluice structures. The path continues along the south shore and I think it's worth a look along there when the conditions look promising.
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Esthwaite Water
Nestling between Windermere and Coniston Water, Esthwaite Water has a couple of locations worth a look.

The first is a very small (one car only) pulloff on the B5285 roughly at GR SD 359 976. It offers a view across the field to the lake, with a stone barn and boathouse for the foreground (very Swaledaleish) and the tip of The Nab for the middleground.

The other is a small car park on the other side of the lake (and the other end) at GR SD 362 953, right in the lake shore. The only potential snag with this one is the number of fishery pens in the lake, I haven't decided yet whether they will be too much of an annoyance.

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Gatesgarthdale
The valley running down from Honister Pass to Buttermere, there are several places you can pull off the road in the vicinity of GR NY 222 138. The valley floor hosts Gatesgarthdale Beck, a nice stony bedded stream, and a good collection of alluvial boulders for foreground interest, with the valley sides rising up to frame the scene. If you are lucky enough to get a broken sky the shadows and light playing on the north side of the valley can be very picturesque.

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Grasmere
A pretty little lake in the middle of the Lake District, I've only found two locations with which I have been happy so far;

The first is a real Lazy Photographer's one as you can't leave the car for long. Take the Elterwater road out of Grasmere village and climb the hill. At GR NY 334 063 there is a sharp RH bend with a farm gate on the left where the public footpath around the lake leaves the road. There is room to pull off the road but don't leave the car as it will be blocking the gate. This offers a good view down over the lake, although the island in the lake is partly obscured by trees at the bottom of the hill.

The other location involves a short walk. Park in the National Trust White Moss Common car park (pay & display) at GR NY 349 065, on the left of the A593 just after the lake if travelling from Rydal village. Follow the footpath, from the back of the car park, towards Grasmere until you reach the river. You can either cross the footbridge and follow the river upstream or follow the path on the right of the river to another footbridge by the Grasmere outflow. Both are good paths although the latter involves a bit more of a climb and descent. Once at the lake, you have a nice long stretch of beach with a great view across the lake towards Grasmere village. The light can catch the reeds on the far side beautifully for most of the day, especially in autumn. The footpath continues along the bank before climbing up to the road at the previous location.

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Great Langdale
A wide glaciated valley, overshadowed by the Langdale Pikes, the best Lazy Photographer's location I have found is at GR NY 311 062. There is room to pull off the road on the left (if approaching from Elterwater) and a "green lane" leads down to the left and along the valley floor. Anywhere along this lane gives good views of the Pikes although the best I've found is only about 100 yards down, before the lane turns right. Here there is a rowan (I think) tree by the wall which can give excellent foreground interest and form a good block for the sky, especially in late autumn or early winter when the berries are out.

Another location worth a look, especially if you're heading round to Blea Tarn, is at the crest of the pass between Great Langdale and the Blea Tarn valley. At GR NY 289 051 there is a cattle grid with enough room to pull off the road on the north side. From here you can get a good view west to the Mickleden and Oxendale valleys with Bow Fell rising up between and behind them.

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Haweswater
One of the less accessible of the large lakes, because it's a long way round from anywhere else, it still has plenty of potential. The dam is at the northern end, as is the access. On the road down the eastern shore there are several spots where a stop is worthwhile, especially towards the head of the lake.

When you get to the head, there is a small car park at Mardale head (GR NY 469 107) with a footpath which leads across Mardale Beck (good views up and down the beck here), up the western shore of the lake and around the back of The Rigg (a conifer-clad promontory). Once over The Rigg you are in Riggindale. This offers good views down Haweswater. If you carry on up the path up Riggindale you will come to an RSPB viewing station - this is because Riggindale is the home of the only permanently resident Golden Eagle in Cumbria. Unfortunately he lost his mate some years ago and hasn't yet managed to attract another - it might help if he were to make a bit more effort looking, of course. Last time I went, there had been reports of a female in the next valley, but matey was confining himself to his own valley and wouldn't even fly up above the ridges.

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Kirkstone Pass
Not so much a place to photograph in itself, the pass and approach road offers some great views down the valleys. I have found three locations worth a look so far;

GR NY 403 092 - an approximate location only I'm afraid, this is a layby on the lefthand side of the A592 heading south up towards the pass. It offers a good view back towards Patterdale with Brothers Water nestling in the bottom of the valley. Using a longish lens it's easy to crop out the road and any cars close to you - although not further down at the bottom.

GR NY 402 089 - a small car park on the right (if heading south) with another good view to Patterdale and Brothers Water. If you want some foreground detail there is a stile over the fence with a small stream just beyond.

GR NY 401 080 - the main car park at the summit, this is on the right (if heading south) just before the turning to Ambleside via The Struggle. This offers a good view to the south-west and Windermere. Might be good for winter sunsets nut otherwise best in the morning before the sun has got around too far.

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Little Langdale, & Lingmoor Fell
A couple of locations I've found along the Wrynose Pass road out of Little Langdale are worth a look;

GR NY 293 032 (approx) has a couple of places you can pull off the road before the climb to Wrynose really starts, giving good views up the valley with the Langdale Pikes just peeking over the skyline, across the valley to Lingmoor Fell and down the valley towards Little Langdale.

For a better view of Little Langdale, continue up the road towards Wrynose Pass where you will find a pulloff on the right at GR NY 283 032. A short step across the fell will offer you a fine view of the valley with Little Langdale Tarn clearly visible.

One more location I like isn't really Little Langdale but I'm including it here because it is on the way out of the valley is Park Farm. If you like white houses with dramatic hillsides behind, it's worth a look. Take the road out of Little Langdale to the A593 and turn left towards Skelwith Bridge. After a few hundred yards there is a layby and farm access on the left, GR NY 333 029. This offers the view of the white house with Rydal Fell rising up behind. Panning left gives a good view of Low Hackett and the end of Lingmoor Fell.

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Loughrigg Tarn
Near Skelwith Bridge, this is rather a pretty little tarn - especially when the autumn colours are out. The only location I have tried so far is from the Skelwith Bridge to Grasmere road where there is enough room to pull off the road at about GR NY 343 041. There is a gate in the wall there, through which there is a good view of the tarn with some white cottages on the other side and Loughrigg Fell rising up behind.

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Loweswater
Not an easy one to photograph this one, as the road side of the lake is lined with trees right down to the water. There are a couple of laybys with access down to the lake, best when the trees are bare otherwise you will hardly be able to see along the lake. There is also a layby near Loweswater Hall (GR NY 121 223) which gives an elevated view of the lake.

I wouldn't have included Loweswater if it wasn't for the Kirkstyle Inn in Loweswater village itself (GR NY 141 209), which is an excellent place for lunch. They brew their own beers on the premises, named after the two mountains above Loweswater, Mellbreak and Grasmoor, and after the valley, Rannerdale. All three are excellent beers, and the food is also very good. I can thoroughly recommend their steak & ale pie - the ale used is Mellbreak.

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River Brathay at Clappersgate Bridge
GR NY 308 033 - when the weather is less clement, if you fancy a bit of river bank or foliage photography then this location is ideal.

Access - follow the A593 from Waterhead. Just after the B5286 turning on the left in Clappersgate, look out for the old bridge on your left, with a layby just by the bridge.

What to see - rocks, mosses, flowing river, the old bridge, spring or autumn foliage.

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Rydal Water
One of the central lakes this is another for which I have a couple of good viewpoints, although there are undoubtedly more.

The first is from the south-east of the lake. Park in the National Trust White Moss Common car park (pay & display) at GR NY 349 065, on the left of the A593 just after the lake if travelling from Rydal village. Follow the footpath, from the back of the car park, towards Grasmere until you reach the river. Cross the footbridge and continue uphill away from the river until you reach the end of the woods at a gap in the stone wall. Go through the gap and take the path heading slightly left up onto the fell. On the right you will see a bench, from where a good view of Rydal Water may be had. The path continues around the lake back to Rydal village, or you can return the same way as you came - looking out for woodland photographic opportunities on the way.

The second is from up on White Moss Common itself. Coming along the A591 from Rydal village, pass the White Moss Common car park on the left and take the next turning on the right. A few hundred yards up the hill there are some disused quarries on the left, in which you can park, GR NY 345 063. From these, there is a good elevated view of Rydal Water.

Additionally to these, there is a boathouse at the eastern end of the lake (GR NY 360 062) Unfortunately all the lake shore on this side is private so access is not possible, but I think that it may be suitable to photograph in spring or late autumn, when the foliage and reeds have died back enough to give a clear view.

If you're in the Rydal Water in the spring then you really ought to pay a visit to Dora's Field, a patch of land bought by William Wordsworth when he lived at Rydal Mount. He planned to build a house there but never did as his daughter, Dora for whom it was intended, died. Instead he planted hundreds of daffodils on the plot, which in a good year are a real picture, as are the bluebells which follow them. Access is through the churchyard, parking in the road to Rydal Hall & Rydal Mount, GR NY 364 061.

If, while in the area, you are feeling peckish or in need of refreshment, the Badger Bar of the Glen Rothay Hotel does good food and beer.

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Stockghyll Force
A rather picturesque waterfall just outside Ambleside, this one can be tricky to find by car as the road isn't very well (if at all) signposted. While on the one-way system in Ambleside the main road turns sharply right at GR NY 377 044, with a narrow turning on the left beside a bank. Take this turning and bear left before climbing the hill to find a suitable pulloff at or near GR NY 381 045.
The fall is down a path to the left. It is fenced off to prevent accidents as the gorge is deep and steep-sided but it is not a problem to find a spot without any fence in shot. It looks nice in autumn colours and is probably best on an overcast day - as are many waterfall shots.

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Tewet Tarn
GR NY 304 235 - not a very well known tarn, this one is worth a visit if you don't mind a short walk. Take the A66 east from Keswick and a few hundred yards after the A66/A591 junction turn right. Take the third right after about a mile, then after a few hundred yards you will see the footpath sign on the right, with enough room to pull off, at NY 307 238. Take the footpath for a few hundred yards and you will see the tarn on your right.

You can only get to the eastern and southern banks of the tarn but these give good views across the tarn towards Blencathra, Skiddaw and the fells west of Keswick.

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Thirlmere
One of the lakes that has been made into a reservoir, this offers several good viewpoints for the Lazy Photographer;

The first is a layby on the lake side of the A591 at GR NY 315 170, which offers a good view across the lake to High Seat beyond. Great with autumn colours in the opposite woodlands.

Next is a car park at Dobgill Bridge on the eastern side of the lake, GR NY 316 140. Across the road is a footpath down to the lake shore offering a small bay and promontory with Helvellyn rising up on the far side.

My favourite is further up the eastern side, near the dam. You can either head north up the eastern side to the top or up the A591 to ¼ mile after the St John's in the Vale turning, where there is a left turn past a caravan site and over the dam. Once over the dam there is a sharp LH bend with a triangular junction and a small car par in the triangle, GR NY 360 189. A small gate on the lakeside of the road gives access to a lovely little shingle bay, from which there is a good view of the lake, shore woodland on both sides and Helvellyn rising up beyond.

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Ullswater
I have a few particular favourite locations for photographing Ullswater, but there are plenty more if you are prepared to explore;

The first of my favourites is from Glencoyne Bridge, GR NY 386 188, where there is a small National Trust pay & display car park on the land side of the road. The lakeside has some gravel beaches, overhanging trees which can give good framing opportunities and grassy banks, all giving a good view down the lake to the north-east.

The second is "the" boathouse, near Pooley Bridge. Located on the A592 at GR NY 461 242, there is a layby behind the boathouse. Crossing the road, you can access (provided the water level isn't unusually high) a narrow strip of shingle and reedbed between the road and the lake. The reeds can give good foreground, whilst the boathouse itself fits in nicely on the right and the view up the lake occupying the left and middle of the scene. Best, I've found, is in the morning with early sunlight striking the boathouse - although I have seen a good shot of it in the evening with the boathouse in shadow, I think that needs a good sky to work.

Next is the steamer jetty at Pooley Bridge. You'll need to park in the public car park by the bridge itself at NY 469 244 and walk down to the jetty, about 300 yards or so. this offers views up the lake, with the jetty and steamers in the foreground.

If you do the boathouse in the morning, I can recommend popping up into Pooley Bridge for breakfast - the Treetops gift shop and cafe opposite the information centre and toilets does very good Cumberland sausage baps, just right for a late breakfast.

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Wastwater & Wasdale
Wastwater is the deepest of the lakes, the bottom actually being below sea level. It is flanked by The Screes on the eastern shore, a multicoloured scree slope rising some 1500 feet to Illgill Head above. The head of the valley is crowned with the three peaks Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Lingmell which form the lake District National Park logo and for a week or so either side on Mid-Summer's Day the sun rises in the V between Great Gable and Lingmell. However, that requires a very early start since it's at the unGodly time of around 04:40! There are several good viewpoints that I use for Wastwater, as well as the hamlet at Wasdale Head;

Starting near the foot of the lake there are a couple of pulloffs on the road from Nether Wasdale at GR NY 148 048. Just after a cattle grid, one is in the right and the other on the left just around the next LH bend. You can shoot from here but if you look down below the pulloffs you will see a stile. Crossing this leads to a short footpath through a rhododendron grove to a shingle beach at GR NY 147 046. This gives stunning views of The Screes and right up the lake to the three peaks at the end. There is a small island partway up the lake, which gulls use for nesting in the spring and summer.

Continuing up the road beside the lake there are several car parks which offer good views although I haven't tried them yet. The next one I have used is Overbeck Bridge (GR NY 167 068), there being a car park on the left just after the bridge. Crossing the road leads to a shingle beach, split by Over Beck and headed by the bridge itself. Although I haven't tried it yet, I imagine that morning light would catch the bridge nicely with Yewbarrow up behind. The beach gives good views down the lake to The Screes, up the lake to the three peaks at the end and across the head of the lake to Scafell Pike.

Further on up the road is the hamlet of Wasdale Head. You can park in the hamlet or just before it at GR NY 186 084. From this car park the path north-east towards Great Gable lead you to the tiny but picturesque church of St Olaf, claimed to be the smallest church in England - which I can believe.
Back in Wasdale Head, there is a photogenic packhorse bridge behind the Wasdale Head Inn which can be photographed with Kirk Fell rising behind it.

Whilst there, the Wasdale Head Inn itself is worth a visit with its excellent range of on-the-premises brewed beers.

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Watendlath
GR NY 276 163 - A small hamlet and tarn to the south of Derwent Water

Access - take the road to Ashness Bridge and Surprise View and just keep going as far as you can. The car park is at the end, in between a couple of farms, with public toilets and a tearoom in the hamlet.

What to see - the hamlet, the tarn and a restored packhorse bridge. In the pavement on the western side is the plaque that tells us that Prince Charles opened it. There is a small rise above the western side of the bridge which gives a good elevated view of the tarn, hamlet and the valley to the north. Footpaths lead out of the valley to the east & south-east towards Thirlmere, and to the west towards Borrowdale

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Waterhead
GR NY 376 032 - unfortunately somewhat over-run with grockles at times, this can offer good sunset shots over Windermere.

Access - approaching Waterhead on the A591 from the south, take the left fork onto the A5075. After a couple of hundred yards is a pay & display car park on the right.

What to see - Windermere, boats and jetties, swans & ducks, sunsets.

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Wrynose Bottom
Between Wrynose Pass (GR NY 277 027) and Cockley Beck (GR NY 246 016) the road runs through Wrynose Bottom, an alluvial valley with several spots where you can pull off to photograph the stony stream bed and surrounding fells.

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All text and photos are copyright © Chris Maddock, 2007