Quarries, Bridges and Blackberries

It was an early start this morning as I set off to capture the sunrise in the Lake District. But, as is often the way in landscape photography, the weather was not going to be kind.

So, as I made my way towards the Lake District with the rain pounding on the windscreen, I needed a plan B.

Fortunately, not far from where I had planned my shot was a location that I’ve wanted to shoot for absolutely ages and, even better for me, it was inside (well sort of)!

So I made a slight de-tour and headed towards a small village called Little Langdale, deep in the heart of the Lake District.

Parking wasn’t a problem as there were very few people out for a walk in the rain at ‘silly o’clock in the morning’, so when I’d parked up, I wandered down to the quarry entrance and switched my head torch on.

It was a short walk (with the only light coming from my head torch) through a small tunnel to get to Cathedral Cavern. The tunnel itself is quite impressive, with all the chisel markings from the quarrymen clearly visible from when they cut the caverns into the side of this mountain.

If the tunnel was slightly impressive, it was nothing to the site of the cavern beyond. Entering through the small tunnel, the first thing that hit me was the immense size of the main chamber, with its distinctive supporting central column, window cut into the side of the cave and water pool (which is a flooded mine shaft).

Cathedral Selfie
“Selfie” next to the central supporting column

It was still fairly dark when I arrived and, standing alone in the cavern with my head torch on, the only sound coming from the drip of water falling from the ceiling and the echo of my foot steps, it must confess to being a little nervous. But I pulled my self together, ignored the feeling that I was being watched from the dark silhouette of the tunnel I’d come in through and got on with looking for possible compositions.

After exploring the cavern for some time, I kept finding myself drawn to a pile of boulders that appeared to have fallen from the “window” above. I loved the way that the light from the only source of illumination in the cave fell on the rocks and provided sunlight to the few plants scattered in between the rocks below

Cathedral Rocks
Embracing the Darkness

I spent at least an hour and a half in the cavern, exploring different compositions and even found a second tunnel which led out to a small scramble – however, with the rain it had turned into a small waterfall which I didn’t fancy scaling with my camera gear!

So that was it, jobs a good-un, time to go home……………..

Or so I thought!

When I exited the cave through the little tunnel, I was greeted by sunshine. So I headed off and ended up doing an 8-10 mile hike and have scouting several spots for future photographs (including an area only accessible through a much longer tunnel).

I really don’t know the Langdales area of the Lake District very well at all, as I’ve only recently started to explore this area, but am slowly becoming more and more familiar with this beautiful part of the UK.

Having got my image, it was really nice to just walk and explore the area without any pressure of taking photographs. I kept my phone handy and took some quick pictures of possible compositions that might be good at different times of the year, or different times of the day – so I’ll definitely be back!

Towards the end of the day, I took a slight de-tour on my way back to the car and found a small 17th Century bridge called Slater’s Bridge (presumably this was the route the Slater’s took when going to-and-from Little Langdale and the nearby quarries where they would’ve worked).

Slaters Bridge.jpg
Slater’s Bridge

I wasn’t going to take a picture of the bridge, as I was just enjoying being out in the fresh air, but I really liked the way that the light fell through the trees onto the reddening ferns on the side of the bridge. After I took this shot, I rewarded myself by eating the blackberries I’d picked earlier, lying on the grass and just enjoyed listening to the sound of the water and feeling the sun on my skin – true happiness!

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