After volunteering for 18 months I got the opportunity to move to the heart of the Lake District National Park. This would be the point where it would say in the movies "and he lives happily ever after" however no movie mentions what happens next. Now I was living in the Lake District I couldn't relax, this was the time to push myself more than I had ever imagined.
Fell 9 | Black Fell
I previsioned myself exploring the many lakes to capture reflections, pier vistas and misty mornings however when I arrived I did none of these things and instead began hiking up the mountains. I found the OS Maps App to be invaluable as it was so easily accessible, making it easy to quickly check my position and avoid backtracking. Carrying it around all day on my phone allowed me to check out recommended viewpoints instantly.
Fell 2 | Side Pike
I moved from Cornwall in the hope of snow and the first few climbs I was not disappointed. I was able to begin the hike straight from my house and this meant particularly in winter not having to battle with skidding on black ice. These peaks were so close to home so I was able to head out before work, this became a theme for my time in the Lakes as I would wake several hours before sunrise, check the weather, make my assessment and either head back to bed or plan my walk.
Fell 48 | Low Rigg
As the mountains began to look lush and green I started noticing the Herdwick Sheep as they would climb over walls, stand in the centre of the road and generally not behave like Sheep I was more familiar with. This coincided with me taking on my toughest challenges of the year including 4 peaks on 4 consecutive morning. Then 4 peaks in 2 days at either end of the day. The peaks came with a certain risk that I hadn't noticed on my previous walks. I climbed up the sheer scree face of Mellbreak (Crummock Water) the steepness of the gradient coupled with the loose scree made this a real challenge. I also received my first injury, as I jumped over a river I caught my finger nail on a rock and subsequently falling into the river, causing myself immense pain.
Fell 24 | The How
As the bluebells arrived I left the Lake District in order to find that elusive snow in the dramatic landscape of Northern Norway. Previously I had been to Iceland and wanted to push myself more than I had done before so I decided to tackle two peaks in Norway. My first on the island of Senja was the well know Segla, however the thick snow and high winds made this more challenging that I expected and I was forced to wait out a blizzard. My second peak was much further south on the Lofoten Islands, Ryten. This well walked peak was much easier to climb and much more rewarding as the cloud lifted to reveal the full moon and a mist inversion in the valley.
Fell 33 | Ryten
The A591 reopened in May after the damage from Storm Desmond. This cut journeys to the North greatly and I was able to access a whole new section of the Lake District. This became a really busy period as my job hit its peak as well as an exhibition to raise money for repairs to Kurt Schwitters (Dada Artist) Merz Barn and I was also exploring all over the Lake District.
Fell 66 | Dowbank
The climax of my time in the Lakes was the transition to Autumn so I was waiting with much anticipation for the golden colours. This year the colours were at their true best for just one week right at the start of November. The colours can only be described as awe inspiring during their fleeting moment. I had always wanted to emulate dramatic views of autumnal colours coupled with mist inversions however this brief window didn't yield any mist. I have found that mist is caused by still wind coupled with a temperature inversion however this doesn't guarantee the mist, I find the Lake District excels in this respect because the best mist forms above the Lakes themselves.
Fell 2 | Side Pike
As Donald Trump became president of the USA I began to grasp the challenge in front of me and try to complete 100 peaks before the end of the year. This was not going to be easy as I set myself some rules. The first was one peak per walk, this relates to the landscape of the Lake District as it is possible once you've climbed one to reach several peaks easily without gaining elevation. The next was reaching each peak for sunrise or sunset, this relates to the first rule as I was not doing this challenge for pure self indulgence but the photos instead. The final rule was that each peak must be unique, this then made the challenge harder and pushed me to find new viewpoints and explore the outlying parts of the Lakes.
Fell 98 | Low Water
These rules may of sounded like constrictions on my photography however I saw them as a the exact opposite. By visiting unique peaks I was exploring popular locations as well as fells in which I could stamp my own mark. The best example came when I climbed Loft Crag in the Langdales. The Langdales were the most easily accessible, so I had climbed the tallest peak Harrison Stickle on several occasions. That final push to climb 100 peaks forced me to climb Loft Crag and once on the summit I realised how it differed so much from it nearest neighbour.
Fell 90 | Loft Crag
The final peak was the only one to break the rules. A good rule when doing a project or challenge is to set yourself an end goal, this helps to focus the mind and drive you to succeed. My final peak was Great Cockup, an amusing name which provided me with the impetus to complete the challenge and climb this peak. It was a great relief to complete the challenge on the 30th of December however this challenge does not signify the end of my walks up mountains and since the New Year I have continued where 2016 ended.
Fell 53 | Hell Gill Pike