(Words from Ryan Lomas)
Being freelance has its perks, especially when it comes to flexibility. Myself and Amelia planned a spontaneous trip out exploring the Peak District only hours before actually grabbing the car keys and setting off to meet each other.
Personally I hadn’t explored much of the peaks and with it being so close to home (only 2 hours) I couldn’t say no when Amelia suggested we meet there for some mid week adventures. She is pretty clued up with the best spots for the most wild view and untouched wilderness so I knew I was in good hands for an epic 24 hour adventure.
We got some gorgeous light during the afternoon which made the woodlands become even more magical. There is a certain sense of being transported to somewhere in the pacific north west when out exploring the woodlands of the Peak District, and for that reason alone I will be returning as soon as possible.
Being a local to the Lake District is probably the main reason I’ve never felt the rush to get down the country and explore the Peak District, but from Amelia’s expertise tour guide, she showed me the best places for the heroic views and vast wilderness, from Rocky summits to forests that felt like a fairy tail, with miles of picturesque footpaths to explore. Walking along these paths there was so much to take in, we were mesmerised by vast array of fungi growing from the ground, branches dressed in dewy moss, the last pieces of autumn sweeping through the woodlands with coppery and golden pine needles covering the paths.
We headed out to Winnats Pass to witness the sunrise, early starts are paramount when it comes to chasing the light. Although in winter, light can be an enigma, and striking gold seems like a lottery win. Amelia packed her two dogs in the car, (Nancy and pip) and we headed out, driving through thick fog over the mountainous passes, we had almost secured the perfect sunrise conditions with low mist in the valley if we could just get above the clouds. Obviously this is easier said than done and from experience 9/10 times you just don’t get anywhere near about the layer of inverted fog.
We parked up and took the short hike to the top of winnats pass to enjoy the view and kept our fingers crossed for a good sunrise. From what we could see the conditions were looking less and less promising, the wind was picking up and the mist was moving fast. Of course we weren’t going to let this ruin our 24 hour micro adventure. What ever happened with the light, the doggos were happy and we were stoked to be out hiking, taking photos with the thought that there was always a warm coffee back at the car to fall back on as a plan B.
Unfortunately we never actually got anywhere near the fog, and the sunrise was slightly underwhelming, but as previously mentioned this was absolutely not ruining our trip, so, after a few pictures we just pushed on to the next location.
We chose to hike up to Mam Tor; we could see all 517 meters of it, the morning light mingling with the left over fog made it look far too tempting. Our favourite thing about hiking in winter is the ever changing conditions, it’s the small moments of imperfection, the fleeting light in the clouds that always create the most special moments. This soon became a very optimistic thought as we were approaching the summit and still hiking through the fog.
As we are both primarily outdoor lifestyle and adventure photographers, the aim is always to try and best capture raw authentic moments where as humans we are challenged by some of nature’s wildest and most stunning conditions, and it’s mornings like the one we got on the summit of Mam Tor that really challenge that feeling and make us push harder as creatives. The light is rarely perfect and often the weather and terrain can be harsh, but chasing these rare moments is exactly what keeps us driven.
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