Tag: blea tarn

Lake District Stargazing

Lake District Stargazing

It’s just over a month until the Cumbria Dark Skies Festival, a celebration of the fantastic Lake District stargazing opportunities.

National Parks remain some of the most unspoilt, darkest places in Great Britain, providing us with the perfect opportunity to really explore our star-studded skies throughout Autumn and Winter. From first-time stargazers to astrophotography experts, the wonder of the night skies will never cease to amaze.

Where to stargaze

Our Matson Ground cottages offer some excellent stargazing opportunities thanks to the dark skies overhead. Whether you’re staying in one of our Windermere cottages, or one of our Ullswater cottages, if the skies are clear the sight is simply spellbinding.

Alternatively, you could venture out. Ennerdale, Wasdale and the Borrowdale valley are some of the best places in the Lake District to really soak up the night skies. But closer to home, Grizedale Forest is pretty easy to get to and has a number of car parks. There are also a number of stargazing events at Grizedale, including star gazing if the skies are clear.

Alternatively, head up to the Langdale Valley, where the steep-sided valley shelters the Langdales from any town lights, meaning minimal light pollution. The ideal place to really connect with the night sky.

Lake District Stargazing Tips

There are a number of things you can do to really enhance your stargazing experience. We’ve highlighted a few below:

Adjust your eyes. It can take up to 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, so factor in enough time ahead of your stargazing.

Use red light to maintain your night vision – for instance, paint the end of your torch with red nail varnish, or cover with a red sock or simply use a back light from your bike – anything to avoid bright lights.

Wrap up – at this time of year it can get cold, so make sure you’ve got some warm and cosy clothing with you. And take something you can put on the ground so that you can stretch out.

Binoculars / telescope – both will help you see far more than just with the naked eye. Even a pair of binoculars will increase what you see by a factor of up to 50.

Stargazing apps – there are plenty of apps for your phone which will give you the names of the stars and constellations overhead.

Check the moon calendar – the last thing you want is to be stargazing when there’s a wonderful full moon!

The Importance of Dark Skies

We’re not the only ones who love dark skies. Lack of light pollution is a welcome sight for so many animals. After all, about 60& of animals are nocturnal, following the light of the moon and the stars. If you’re out and about stargazing there’s a chance you might also see bats, foxes, deer, badgers, owls, hedgehogs… the list goes on. However, light pollution can disrupt their sleeping, feeding and breeding behaviour.

They are also critical for our own wellbeing. For thousands of years we’ve looked up at the night sky and seen the Milky Way, wondered at shooting stars and pointed out the constellations. Nowadays, it’s estimated that over 80% of the UK population has never seen the Milky Way, due to the increase in light pollution.

In short, dark skies are critical to wildlife and to our own sense of wellbeing. A star lit night is a truly uplifting sight, and one that we tend to remember. So let’s hope that this sense of wonder continues for generations to come.

Photo credit: Paul Mitchell

Our Favourite Lake District Photography Spots

Lake District Photography Spots

On August 19th, we’ll be celebrating World Photography Day and it got us thinking – where are our favourite Lake District photography spots? Where would we go to get that stunning shot?

A lot of visitors to the Lakes are keen amateur photographers. Others simply use their phones to capture the moment. The results from both can be amazing. But if you really want to capture the perfect shot, a lifelong memory of your stay in the Lake District, here are a few locations where the natural surroundings, the light and the colours lend a helping hand.

Brant Fell

We’ll start close to home, on the doorstep of our Windermere cottages. You are guaranteed some spectacular views of Lake Windermere and the Lakeland fells from Brant Fell, no two days are the same. Come sun, rain, wind or snow, the photo opportunities are endless. The sunsets are particularly impressive.

Ullswater and Aira Force

For those staying in our Ullswater cottages, you will not be disappointed. Widely considered the most beautiful of the Lake District lakes, Ullswater throws up photo opportunities galore. Climbing the likes of Hallinn Fell, Gowbarrow Fell or Silver Crag will give you great views of the area, but with rocky outcrops, trees and stumps on the lake shore, there are some fantastic compositions to be found at the water’s edge.

Alternatively, you could venture to one of the best known waterfalls in the Lake District, Aira Force, where the waterfall cascades twenty metres through a narrow gorge below a stone arch bridge. And unlike so many walks, the more rain, the better the results. Catch it when the sun is shining and at its highest and you may even be lucky enough to capture an Aira Force rainbow!

Tarn Hows

Located between Coniston and Hawkshead, Tarn Hows is a firm favourite for visitors to the Lake District. Not only is it a relatively easy walk for all ages – it takes about an hour to walk around the tarns – it also offers stunning views. Arguably, the best view is from the east side (near the Scott memorial), where the tarns are laid out before you with the Lake District mountains providing a stunning backdrop.

Coniston Water

Take a drive along the eastern shore of Coniston Water, through Nibthwaite, and you’ll come across several spots where you can get out of the car and explore. There are a couple of classic jetty shots and the view across the water towards Coniston Old Man can provide some excellent opportunities.

Elterwater and Blea Tarn

The path from Elterwater to Skelwith Force is another relatively easy walk and one packed with photo opportunities along the river. The view towards the Langdale Pikes is nothing short of spectacular.

A little further on from Elterwater is Blea Tarn, in the heart of the Langdales, which has become an iconic viewpoint. We can’t guarantee calm, still water, but if you’re lucky enough to visit when there is very little breeze, the reflected views towards the Langdale Pikes are breathtaking.

Wastwater

The view down Wastwater has been voted the UK’s best view several times and it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re looking up towards Great Gable and Scafell Pike, or down the lake from the lower slopes of the aforementioned, the views are as dramatic as they are stunning.

Buttermere

If you were to google ‘iconic Lake District images’ the row of shoreline pines reflected in the tranquil waters of Buttermere would be right up there, as would the lone, spindly tree at the village end of the lake.

Whatever the weather, if you’re heading to Buttermere for the day, take your camera.

Derwentwater

We’ll finish the roundup of our favourite Lake District photography spots with Derwentwater. Located close to Keswick, Derwentwater is one of the most popular lakes in the Lake District. And another one with photo opportunities aplenty. Visit on a still, cool, misty morning, find a jetty (for example Ashness Launch) and the results can be breathtaking.