- Jamie Dean
The Lakes: Eskdale and Boot
Peering out the window of our room, at the Woolpack Inn, earlier this morning the weather was looking very gloomy. A heavy mist obscured the view that we would normally look out towards. The forecast wasn't looking that great either, stating that the mist would be hanging around awhile and then there would be a 50% chance of precipitation. This could be either rain, sleet or hailstones. The forecast didn't mention which it would be, but later in the day we come to release it would be all three. After a rather leisurely preparation to leave the Inn we set off on foot to take a local footpath to explore the hillside behind, our destination was to take a look at Eel Tarn on the Eskdale Fell. I had my D800 with the 24-70mm attached safely stowed in the Lowepro Toploader, and the 70-200mm in a Lowepro lens case stuffed into my North Face backpack. The backpack also contained the pouch containing my Lee filters, a power bank, the GoPro and other bits and pieces. It wasn't long into the walk that the rain stated, not heavy rain but a consistent drizzle that made everything soaking wet. The mud from my walking boots had already begun to cover the bottom of my over trousers.
Once we saw the tarn from a distance, due to the persisting rain the path to it was more like a quagmire than a footpath. We decided to head back down from the Fell. Returning to the road we spotted a rather nice waterfall by the Eskdale Mill. I made my way precariously down the slippery rocks to try and find a better viewpoint and composition without ending up slipping and landing on my backside, or worse ending up in the stream. Due to the large boulders in the foreground it was difficult to compose a shot without them "blocking" the waterfall. I set up the Gitzo on relatively safe ground, attached the D800 carefully, twisting the strap around my wrist for added security. I framed a couple of shots and fired the shutter. I had the polariser screwed onto the front of the lens to cut out the water reflecting on the dark rocks, and slowed the shutter speed down to a couple of seconds to blur the flow of the moving water. The vibrant moss on the rocks gave a splash of colour. As it started to rain again, we took shelter in the near by Brook House Inn for refreshments and a bit of lunch. We took a seat next to the fire in the hope that in the time we spent there the warmth from the fire would dry our soaking wet jackets.
After leaving the Inn suitably fed, refreshed and dried, we followed the road for a short way and then along the footpath following along the bank of the the River Esk. After James played a joke on me which ended up with me stumbling off a stepping stone and being up to my knees in the cold clear waters of the river, we continued to Doctor Bridge. An awesome stone arched bridge and a safer way to cross the river. Our route then took us back to the Woolpack Inn. Not a lot of photography achieved today due to the foul weather but was great to be walking in the countryside and in the elements.