Bowfell in Winter, The Lake District

I love walking in the Lake District in Winter. When covered with snow and ice, being on top of the fells in winter is such a different experience from climbing the same mountain in summer. It’s like you’re experiencing nature in the raw – those biting cold winds, icy slopes and knee deep drifts so different from walking merrily along bouncy turf in the summer. But the extra effort is more than worth it. The views and the light are often stunning, with unexpected cloud breaks adding to the drama.

On this day I’d decided to go up Bowfell in Langdale via the Band. The conditions, and the fact that I walking on my own, meant that my pack was fairly heavy before any camera gear – food, drink, spare warm layers, hats, gloves, crampons and ice axes all add to the weight, so I was pleased to be carrying my lightweight Fuji X100T, with the Wide Angle Adaptor and a few filters.

As I made my way up and out of the valley the views were OK, but not really that spectacular. Fairly even cloud cover rendered everything a monotonous tone of grey, and as I got to the top of the Band things didn’t really look much more promising. The top of Bowfell looked covered in cloud, and another lone walker headed off the main path and off into the cloud.

Lone Walker, Bowfell

Lone Walker, Bowfell

 

Reaching the col between Bowfell and Crinkle Crags I was actually in two minds as to weather to bother heading into the cloud and to the summit. It looked for all the world that it would simply be a dreary walk to the top, lunch in the mist, and then back down again. How wrong I was…

Not far before the summit everything began to change, and I entered what could have been a different world. The previously solid cloud began to break and let some sunshine through, and a temperature drop of a few degree meant that the surrounding rocks were suddenly plastered in beautiful rime ice. Opting for a simple composition I looked to capture my new world and its stunning beauty.

The World of Winter, Bowfell

The World of Winter, Bowfell

 

Reaching the summit itself I found myself above the cloud, with beautiful winter views stretching out to the west and the south. A solitary Raven joined me for my lunch as I sat contemplating my surroundings.

Solitary Raven, Bowfell

Solitary Raven, Bowfell

 

The body heat I generated from the ascent was wearing off by now, so donning a few extra layers I began to explore the summit for some more photos. The photos below are a selection of my favourite images, and I hope they go some way to conveying the dramatic and beautiful scenery around me.

Scafell and Scafell Pike, From Bowfell

Scafell and Scafell Pike, From Bowfell

 

Rime Ice on Bowfell

Rime Ice on Bowfell

 

Looking South From Bowfell

Looking South From Bowfell

From a technical perspective the XTrans sensor on the X100T continues to impress me. It packs a fantastic punch of image quality in a small package and provides raw files that are really malleable in tricky light conditions. These images were all processed in Capture One, which I’ve recently moved to from Lightroom. So far I’m loving the control it provides over both colour and image quality.

Eventually it was time to make my way back down into the cloud and through the monotonous grey, before a well earned cup of tea and cake in the pub. A day well spent, and proof that fortune favours the brave.

If you’re someone who has so far restricted your walking to the summer months, then you owe it to yourself to get the right kit and skills and venture out in winter. It such a different experience and one that all keen walkers should take on.

Thanks for looking,

Andrew.

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