The Scafells and Eskdale
The Scafells in seen in winter raiment rising above lonely Eskdale from Esk Pike.
Image Size : 840 x 280 mm
Print Size : 960 x 406 mm
Scafell Pike, the highest of the Lakeland Fells and of the mountains of England, is not the easiest of subjects for the photographer. The actual summit of Scafell Pike is one of several prominences on a great mountain mass rather than a single, individual and well defined peak. With this in mind, therefore, the objective of the photographer turns more to capturing the essence of the mountain in relation to the fells and valleys which it neighbours.
Whilst Scafell Pike is most popularly ascended from the north and west via Wasdale or Borrowdale, I have always felt that its grandest aspect is that from the remote and less visited Eskdale. From here, perhaps, the true height of the mountain is fully revealed as it towers above the valley and its many and interesting attendant summits.
During two preliminary reconnaisance visits I identified an excellent viewpoint beside two small pools on the south ridge of Esk Pike. Several attempts to capture the shot during autumn 2002 were thwarted by stubborn cloud which refused to lift from Scafell Pike, so my first real opportunity did not come along until winter had arrived.
The enforced winter shot induced a change of plan. The pools I had intended to use as foreground would be frozen, and so I set off well before dawn with the revised objective of capturing the colourful spectacle of first light on the snow covered summits. However as I walked in from Borrowdale, burdened by a heavy rucksack containing all my equipment, I found myself floundering in fresh deep powder snow and falling well behind my schedule.
Dawn was quite superb - one of the finest I have seen anywehere in Britain - but disappointingly by that time I had only managed to reach Esk Hause. The plan to traverse across to the south ridge of Esk Pike was a 'non-starter' and I elected to climb up and over the summit instead. It was 10am by the time I had reached a viewpoint on Esk Pike with which I was satisfied.
Of the ten rolls of film that I exposed, this image portrays the true nature and height of Scafell Pike in relation to the deep and expansive valley of Eskdale.