A Favourite Place. Where is yours?

Favourite places. A location connection. We all have and enjoy them.

The ‘somewhere’ that makes you want to return, no matter what the weather, the season or time of day. We just have to go back and look at ‘that view’ or be in ‘that place.’

Now I could say I love all the Lakes and Snowdonia but I personally have several that I love. Wastwater is a ‘gimme’ but the one that has captivated me just as much is the Esk Valley.

It doesn’t possess a large body of water, (well not one that hasn’t dripped in from the sky…) but it has a fabulous river that has carved out this valley. The magnificent Bow Fell towers imperiously above the rivers source, watching as it flows towards the sea near Ravenglass with the Scafells and Hard Knott adding their own dimension to the view.

Whether I walk its length or observe from one of the surrounding fells it never fails to lift my spirits.

Favourite Places - Bowfell from The River Esk On A Spring Afternoon

Bowfell from The River Esk On A Spring Afternoon – Mark Gilligan

Our favourite landscapes are worthy of our time.

There have been occasions when I have looked over from Birker Fell towards the Upper Esk where you can see ‘chunks of three valleys: The Esk, Mitredale and Wasdale.

Heavy rain clouds will be unloading over Wasdale rendering Great Gable into a faint shadow whilst bright sunshine has been punching through the clouds illuminating Slight Side and the Esk These fabulous valleys or ‘neighbours’ provide you and me with great contrasts. Just like people, they affect us with their moods.

I love it when the light decides to come out and play this way naming it the ‘celestial torch’ or the ‘god light’. The winds move the clouds across the fells and when the sunlight locates those gaps, rays of light kiss the landscape then disappear as quickly as they came.

I can stand there mesmerised just watching and then the ‘Pro’ in me kicks in and its time to capture what I see before me.

I find it all uplifting as I connect with the mountains and am immersed in the surroundings. The emotional connection I feel when out in the wilds is extremely cathartic. It is ‘me’ time and although I may be there taking photographs for a commission, I feel a sense of well-being. The natural show that plays out before us is my therapy and helps with switching off from the rigours that can and do surround us.

It doesn’t matter whether it is a high mountain top, a river valley or a forest, the peace that comes with observing the landscape is worthy of our time.

I like showing clients, (hate that word) and friends my favourite places, ensuring that we always try and visit the Esk valley on my workshops.

In the lowlands, the river valley wends its way towards Ravenglass providing fabulous, easy walking but if you want drama and majesty, a trundle over to Lingcove Bridge will put you deep into ‘proper’ mountain country.

Several visits I have made there over the years either on workshops or just for myself.

Favourite Places - Upper Esk Gold

Upper Esk Gold – Mark GIlligan

‘Me time’.

I think it is important that I find ‘me time’ because honestly it is hard to come by.

Not that I am complaining as it is great to be in demand but in 2018, I managed only a handful of days just so I could go out and take what I wanted to.

One of the best vantage points to watch the drama is from on high on any of the crags accessed via the fort at Hard Knott. As you stand on the side of and look down and across? WOW!!

Even on a blue sky day it is impressive but arrive on an ‘iffy’ day as the rain is still falling with breaks appearing in the clouds and you will witness the best light show in a glorious part of the world.

I have been fortunate to have witnessed such weather variations taking place before me and been lucky enough to photograph them.

Capturing moments. The essence of photography.

Mark Gilligan

Mark is an award winning landscape photographer, author and writer. Whilst Mark specialises in the outstanding landscape of the Lake District, he also enjoy working throughout the North of England. You can find out more about Mark and browse some of his fantastic work here.