In 2015, I decided to pop my solo wild camping cherry and headed up to the Lake District with a tent and sleeping bag. Admittedly November was probably not the best month to give it a whirl. The conditions were wild to say the least, but at least it wasn’t snowing! I had quite an experience on the way up bent double in the wind for hours with a 30kg backpack and on reaching the summit I could barely stand never mind pitch a tent. I headed back down for about half a mile and found a spot that was slightly more sheltered than up on the top and took the decision to pitch my tent on the only flat area I could find overlooking a rather scary precipice. Suffice to say that the sunset was totally worth it, the night’s sleep was tense and fraught and the climb back down in the morning nothing like the ordeal I’d though it was going to be despite taking a bit of an un-calculated detour.
"Such as spend their lives in cities, and their time in crouds will here meet with objects that will enlarge the mind, by contemplation, and raise it from nature to nature's first cause. Whoever takes a walk into these scenes must return penetrated with a sense of the creator's power in heaping mountains upon mountains, and enthroning rocks upon rocks. And such exhibitions of sublime and beautiful objects cannot but excite at once both rapture and reverence."
Thomas West, 1778.
Running between Lochs Lomond, Long & Fyne, the highest point on the A83 is 800ft above sea level. From the viewpoint of this famous beauty spot you can see the old valley road (at right angles to this photograph’s viewpoint), engineered by General Wade during the subjection of Scotland following the Jacobite rebellion. A stone was erected to commemorate the completion of this military road in 1750 by the soldiers with the inscription “Rest and be thankful”.
After a trip up North in 1803, with his sister, William Wordsworth later wrote in a sonnet titled “Rest And Be Thankful” (At the head of Glen Croe):
"Doubling and doubling with laborious walk
Who, that has gained at length
The wished for Height
This brief simple wayside. Call on slight,
And rest not thankful?"
Cottage in Glen Coe.
Egol, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK.
Gesto Bay, Loch Harport.
This was literally a snap and run photograph, though in fact even though it was midday, the road was so quiet that I could easily have managed a snap and crawl without having to worry about my safety. Shot on the main A road towards Sligachan on Skye shortly after an emergency garage trip to get stones removed from inside my car’s brakes. Always a tad worrying when you’re over 400 miles from home, literally in the middle of nowhere, and your car starts to develop horrible grinding noises.
Higger Tor in the High Peaks at dawn.
Whilst in Iceland with Patrick di Fruscia and Elia Locardi, we almost stumbled across this insanely large valley by accident. I’d been shooting on the road to Landmannalaugar back near where the bus had parked unwilling to venture too far for fear of getting hopelessly lost, only to see one of the group running around trying to round everyone up and shepherd them over to “this spot we’ve found”. I was truly gobsmacked. It’s really hard to gauge just how impressive the place was from this photograph but the valley just seemed to go on and on into the distance. I’ve never seen so many waterfalls in one place and the water was such a beautiful turquoise green. It would have been nice to have had something other than overcast skies, but seriously, you couldn’t fail to make a great photograph here!
I want to tell you a story. The only way that I can. I am just replacing a man that came before me. One day the world is going to see another man replacing me. Thats just the way its got to be.
Loch Katrine from Ben A'an, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Scotland, UK.
Misty dawn over a dam in the Peak District.
On the road to Landmannalaugar, Western Iceland.
I made this image only yards from where the bus had parked keen not to get lost in this vast lunar-esque landscape. In fact were it not for the pylons, and the road, sorry gravel track, I’d have half been expecting moomins to pop out of the ground. It really was a surreal place and eerily quiet.
Not the easiest place to make a photograph, this spot is right next to a busy junction where the A87 meets the A887 and the river passes directly underneath the road just yards from the intersection. With nowhere nearby to park, very little footpath to speak of, huge lumber trucks hurtling along inches from any lunatic pedestrians, and only what looked like a one way trip down to the river’s edge, I had to plant my tripod overhanging the edge of the bridge, shoot very quickly and pray that the high-vis vest I had donned was sufficient to prevent me from getting turned into jam. It was grey and overcast (no surprise there then) but I like this in black and white.
Road up to Kirkstone Pass, also known as the struggle, Lake District, Cumbria, England.
Shining Tor, Peak District, Derbyshire, England, UK.
Snowy Glen Shiel.
The bridge at Sligachan, Skye.
The climb to Ben A'an, Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Callander, Scotland.
The Quiraing just after dawn.
One almost cloudless September morning up in the Peak District. 90% of the sky was completely cloud free but right on the horizon just where the sun was due to rise, there was a strip of dense cloud that just wouldn’t let the sun shine through. It meant for an unremarkable sunrise and the drinking of lots of coffee whilst I speculated over the movements of the barrier to my photography. Even at 6am, I wasn’t alone up there and eventually the hallowed sphere eventually broke through and cast its rays over the misty inversion down in the valley below.