As a little girl our family holidays were always in the UK and one in particular that always stood out in my mind was our trip to Windermere, mostly because we’re big fans of Beatrix Potter, but also because of how peaceful it was, spending the whole week playing games outside and eating ice-cream. So when it came to me deciding where our next holiday was to be in 2015, the landscape photographer in me yearned to return to the Lake District to capture the stunning scenes, forever in photo form. I wasn’t disappointed, the entire trip was breath taking and there was something to photograph at every corner. I was also very fortunate that during our 4 days there we experienced every kind of weather which allowed me to capture different sides to the Lake District. The whole place is truly magical and there are so many lakes and mountains and valleys to see, but for me there a three parts to the lake district that stand out and need to be experienced.
Number 1: Beatrix Potter and Hilltop House, Ambleside
If you appreciate the Lake District’s ability to transport you back to simpler times, with acres and acres of rural land and rustic buildings then the person you need to thank is Beatrix Potter. If you’ve seen the film ‘Miss. Potter’ starring Renée Zellweger, then you’ll already have a vague understanding of what influence Beatrix Potter had on the Lake District’s landscape, and what influence it had on her work (if you’ve not seen it yet then you need to, it’s a great film), but it was only when I visited her house Hilltop, in Ambleside, that I began to see just how much she loved and preserved the area. As a child, Beatrix Potter’s family would stay in the Lake District for month long holidays, sometimes even three months, but it wasn’t until Beatrix Potter made her fortune from her stories and illustrations that she decided to move permanently to the area. She ended up living out the rest of her life there until she died in 1943. During her time living in the Lake District, Beatrix Potter had set herself the task of acquiring as much land as possible to preserve the Lake District’s natural landscape, and when she dies she left it all to the National Trust, who she had been collaborating with whilst alive. This allowed the fourteen farms and 4000 acres of land she owned to be kept from development, and because of this when you visit the Lake District you are seeing it exactly like it was all those years ago, just as stunning and filled with history, a small area of the UK that has been left untouched to show us all the beauty of nature.
Number 2: Tarn Hows, Coniston
When I arrived at Tarn Hows there was a low fog rolling in and it made it spectacularly eerie, and just as beautiful as a sunny day. It was late October and the trees were all a gorgeous orange, and I fell in love with the place as soon as I saw it. During the summer Tarn Hows is known to be filled with people, however, the day I visited it was raining and only a few people walked past. The Tarn is partially artificial in that it was originally 3 tarns that were joined together in the 19th century, but it is still one of the most visited spots in the Lake District. When it went up for sale in 1929, it was Beatrix potter that bought the land immediately selling Tarn Hows to the National Trust and donating the surrounding land in her will. When I stood at the top of the hill looking down at the tarn, I honestly felt in awe of it, it looked so magical shrouded in fog with bright orange leaves shining through, and so silent, there wasn’t a single sound to be heard. If you are ever in the area you 100% need to visit Tarn Hows, you will not regret it and you are guaranteed to leave with great landscape shots.
Number 3: Lake Windermere
Windermere is perhaps one of the more well known areas in the Lake District, and has a quaint town that is a tourist hotspot, but the popularity of the area is only testimony to what a lovely place it is. Windermere town has always stuck in my mind and the layout is imprinted in my mind, including where to find the pub with the massive portions and scrumptious burger and onion rings, but undoubtedly the most special part of this rural town in Lake Windermere. Our trip around the lake on a lake cruiser was a landscape photographers dream and the pictures I took that day are still some of my all time favourites. Our last day in the Lake District brought clear skies and sunshine, and every ounce of the lake looked remarkably beautiful, I loved every single second with my camera in hand. At this point I had only just bought my Sony DSCHX300 Bridge Camera and it was the first time I’d really got to test it out and what a splendid subject to start with. I think if you’re going to photograph the lake it’s best done from a boat because it gives you a 360 degree view and perspectives you might not get from land, plus there’s also the cute ducks and swans floating along beside you that make rather adorable subjects.
All this and more is why as a photographer I’m just a little bit in love with the Lake District, and being such a large place I know there’s so many hidden photographic treasures that I’ve not even come near to on my trip, so get out there, in the countryside, and capture some amazing landscape and nature shots!
Amy Williams-Weeks (AWW)