2013 KitKat trip to the Lake District

Friday 6th September – Tuesday 10th September 2013

The KitKat Diaries

A brief account of our latest escapde…………………….

I think I can speak for most seasoned KK’ers that the 2012 trip to Morecambe was in the main a disappointment, the company was good, the Hotel was good, the location was, to be honest a little bit wanting for more to do. We had a good run up and got a few at Twistleton, and likewise tended to go into the Lake District for inspiration. On the back of these trips it was decided that we go to the Lake District (proper) in 2013.

A few of us (the hardcore) set off on Thursday evening after tea, with a view to get some starry shots at Castlerigg, followed by a dawn shoot (after maybe a couple of hours kip!)

Scott (Wilson) and myself (Ian Pinn) got to the car park at Castlerigg Stone Circle (near Keswick) at midnight and waited for the other car load comprising of Chris (Newham), Sue (Jackson), and Ben (Rawson), they arrived about 30 mins later. A quick Beer followed and a plan was decided upon.

Cloud cover was quite heavy so shooting the night sky was not going to happen, we nevertheless went up to the circle and proceeded to do some light painting of the stones, at first it was a disaster, 5 of us with wide angle views trying to paint our own stones without interfering with the others was not happening, we had to sort ourselves out. Sue decided to take charge and be the ‘painter’ whilst we tried to direct her with the torch. I think the only company we had (a flock of Sheep) were wandering what the heck we were up to, spoiling their sleep! We had a couple of hours and I think one or two of us got some semi-reasonable images, I know I didn’t!

We decided to abandon Castlerigg for dawn and head off to Derwent Water which was only just down the road near Keswick, we arrived and tried to have an hour or two’s kip in the cars, not easy unless your names Scott! (About 45 seconds from head down to snoring-I do have the evidence).

The other car was no better off, Ben and Sue were both sick, and again I think Chris has some evidence! Not sure I want to see that. We awoke (?) and kitted up ready for a beautiful sunrise, no such luck I’m afraid, it was a very grey dawn and we ended up looking for detail shots etc, not very productive. All this time Sue (Hartley) a KK ‘newbie’, had already been in our hotel from the night before, deciding to go up a day early and meet us for the dawn shoot, sadly Sue’s mother was poorly so she had to go home before we even met up, let’s hope for better fortunes next year?

After an hour or two we decided on finding breakfast, surprisingly it was still too early for most places and our regular cafe in Keswick was closed, we asked a passer-by and she informed us of the local Youth Hostel who serve breakfast, so we headed there. Not the best breakfast in the world but it filled a needy hole, Ben was still feeling unwell and only managed about a third of a slice of toast, and Sue seemed mainly recovered so at least things were looking up.


Due to the weather (it was now drizzling), we decided on some indoor ‘Urbex’ shooting, a location I had previously researched was an old WW2 RAF Airbase at Silloth, further up the coast from Maryport, after a bit of fumbling and fudging we found it, access was fairly easy and we had a good hour messing about shooting the decay and abandonment, very enjoyable it was too. Here are a few images;

Entrance to the Officers Mess (and it was a mess too!)                                      © Ian Pinn

Thanks to Scott for ferreting out this old Cooker Extractor Hood                                                   © Ian Pin

From here we headed south, back down the coast to Maryport and our Hotel the ‘Golden Lion’ for check-in and a wash and brush up before a few Beers. We had a wander around Maryport harbour

Maryport Harbour                                                                                         © Ian Pinn

Maryport Harbour                                                                                                                             © Ian Pinn

and then went into the Pub for a meal and a Beer or two, met up with the rest of the party and had a good night. Retired early at 10:30 as we had to be up at 04:30 for a dawn shoot at Buttermere.

Saturday 6th September

Saturday dawned grey and misty with the threat of rain, we still made the 20 minute trip over to Buttermere, so much better than the 1 ½ hour trip we did last year from Morecambe! Buttermere dawn was disappointing; I have a special affection for this place so I wandered off and found a bit of solitude for some deep thinking and remembrance.

Packed up fairly early and headed up the Honister pass over towards Derwentwater, visited Ashness Bridge-complete with scaffolding!….great! Continued along into the valley and lake beyond Ashness, got a few shots but the light was against us.

Oars-Watendlath                                                                                       © Ian Pinn

Beyond Ashness bridge (Watendlath) lies an old Fergusson Tractor                                          © Ian Pinn

 Chris and the others set up the GoPro and did some action shots, they went to Ambleside for breakfast, Scott and I needed fuel so we went to Keswick and found a market stall selling breakfast cobs, nice! So we fuelled the beast and ourselves ready for the next location.

Made our way up to Blea Tarn, this is set high up off the Hardknott Pass close to Ambleside, Chris, Ben and Sue set off up the slopes to do some elevation shots of the Tarn, Scott and I wandered around the shores waiting for some half decent light. The light was fleeting but not great, we had a couple of hours and I know I have very little to show for it excepting a few record shots, I wait with interest to see Chris’s groups elevation images.

From here we went over the Hardknott Pass towards the coast, this pass is amazing, incredible views and death defying drops all the way, Chris set up his GoPro on the roof and I am sure will have some exciting footage to show us when he produces the lecture. We headed into Ravenglass, the tide was well in so no beach and boats were available to us, had a Beer in the local Hotel and a rethink on what to do next. We drove to Ennerdale but the weather was against us, we had some stunning light as we were driving but as is the case we parked up and the light was gone! Ennerdale was quite difficult as there was some construction work going on which restricted shooting options somewhat. I went in the opposite direction to the others but the rain really started so I sheltered under a tree for about 20 minutes waiting for the worst to pass, I set up and did a few shots but nothing noteworthy. Packed up and headed back to base camp for food and beer-those life-giving essentials (especially the Beer). Did a few evening shots around the harbour, nice light but quite cold.

Sunday 8th September

Decided to try Coniston Water for sunrise, location not brilliant (at least not what we could find) there are lots of Trees around the edge of the lake and it is difficult to get clear shots, I got one or two that I am happy with. Went for a drive around the lake looking for the famous Jetties, found a private one but moved on and found the famous one, at this point most of our party were queuing up for shots down the jetty, Scott went under the jetty in his waders, possibly forgetting the leak around the crutch area! I think one or two of us got some decent images from this location, especially early on when the reflections were not so disturbed. We all went to Ambleside for breakfast, great cafe and great food.

Set off after breakfast looking for Skelter Bridge, where there is a nice waterfall, couldn’t find it so gave up. Did the traditional Scott/Chris/Ian group shot and Scott then headed off home as he was away on business on Monday, such a shame really to miss the last day.

We (Chris, Ian & Sue) then drove up past Ullswater and didn’t stop as it was not very promising, decided on a stop at Aira Force, an impressive waterfall near to Pooley Bridge, we did the top car park as I feel it offers more opportunities than the middle or bottom (paying) car parks. I’m sure Sue regrets us going there but more on that later.

Light Painting and ND filters provided hours of entertainment!                                                          © Ian Pinn

Had a good hour or two messing about with the GoPro, long exposures, light painting etc etc, we were all having fun until we heard a loud plop followed by a stream of cursing from Sue who’s camera had decided to take the plunge into the icy depths. It took her a good 20-30 seconds to retrieve it, things not looking good, lens half full of water, camera body also had serious ingress of the clear mountain stream, battery and card removed quickly and after about half a dozen MicroFibre cloths were used it was as dry as we could get it, it now needed a period of convalescence in the airing cupboard to see what would happen, plus a call to the insurance company as well. Chris got it all on camera, whilst we were busying worrying! I was sure that Chris having experienced it himself would have had more sympathy…….think again! I lent Sue my old Canon EOS40D, at least she could carry on shooting.

Whilst at the Waterfall Chris ventured further up and was asked by an old lady as to what we were doing? Pretty obvious really but Chris decided to invent a story, he said we were on release from prison for the day to try and get us back into society, and he said to watch out for the guy in the bright green jacket (me) as I was a murderer!……..you’ve never seen someone finish their lunch so quickly and disappear..hehe, I am sure he only did it to get them out of his composition, funnily enough we came across this lady again later in the weekend, she didn’t hang about then either. All I had to do was put the Green coat on!

Headed back to base camp and Sue decided to pay the local shop a visit and stocked up on crisps and chocolate, comfort food was needed for her to be able to grieve for her loss.

Decided to go to Workington for sunset, quite an industrial coastal location, nice to have something different to shoot as well, met up with some of the group and had a couple of hours, light not good but I am fairly sure I have some strong images from this location.

Packed up and headed back to base for a few Beers.

Looking back towards Workington from the jetty, lots of lovely industry                                      © Ian Pinn

The view out towards the sea from the same viewpoint as above.                                                © Ian Pinn

Monday 9th September (our last day 🙁)

Another early start, the sleep deprivation is really telling now, we decided for a dawn shoot in the south of the Lake District, after all we would be heading home today so we would be on our way. After reviewing the guidebook we decided on Wastwater, this is a quite small lake as south as we could get. Arrival in the dark looked promising, very little tree cover on the shores and lots of interesting rocks for foreground interest, it was indeed a very pretty lake with some large mountains rising at its eastern end, just where we needed them with the rising sun behind. We fought our way through endless Sheep and found a place to park, the shore here looked good so that was a bonus, the far shore was rock scree that had cascaded into the lake over the millennia. There was considerable cloud cover but it was broken here and there and some promise of warm dawn light could be seen now and then. We continued for a while, not convinced we were getting stunners but it was enjoyable all the same. After a while we fancied a breakfast so packed up and headed into Gosforth, found the ‘Hungry Parrot Cafe’ so Chris was decided that we were going there (he also owns an African Grey Parrot), the cafe was situated above a Post Office/General Store and they did actually have a real life African Grey called Arthur! We had a great breakfast and then headed back to Wastwater to do some Waterfall/Stream shots at a location we had seen earlier, found it hard to get into the zone, the light was now quite harsh and not really suiting the subject so I headed back to the Lake to look for alternatives, Chris did the same and when he left the river Sue was nowhere to be seen. I found a cracking little waterfall at the side of the road and by now it was so warm we were down to shirtsleeves, had to use a 10 stop ND filter plus polariser to slow it down enough.

Found this at the side of the road around the lake.                                                                           © Ian Pinn

Chris set up his GoPro on the egg timer base with Gaffer Tape, not very pretty but it did the job, he then did a time lapse of the sun playing on the mountains, it worked very well indeed.

We thought we had better go back and find Sue. She was not where we parked originally so we carried on down the road, after half a mile or so we spotted her trudging towards us, what was said next cannot be repeated in the public domain! I was shocked, but maybe we did deserve it?

So, that was it, another KK trip comes to an end, roll on 2014 as we are going to Dorset’s Jurassic coast, that promises to be good.

A great trip this year, good locations, light could have been better but if it was easy everybody would do it. Great company as usual, thanks to Chris and Scott for the driving, I’m really looking forward to Chris’s production next year, lots of Behind the Scenes stuff, plus lots of GoPro footage, promises to be very funny.

Ian Pinn NOPS Chairman 2013

© All images are the copyright of the photographer and may not be used in any form without their express permission