Special places: Coniston

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By Chris Hughes:

The English Lake District is well known to contain some of the most popular and celebrated landscapes in the UK. There will be as many people who disagree with that statement as do actually agree and no doubt arguments and debates have ranged for many hours over the remains of meals and empty beer glasses as to which landscape is the finest – the Snowdon Horseshoe, The Cuillin Ridge, the Cornish coastline, The Sussex Downs. The choice of the finest landscape is both personal and frequently changes dependent on mood, company and even the weather! But no doubt favourites are places that people will return to time and time again, will enjoy over and over without tiring of seeing and will rejoice in whatever the weather, time of day or company.

I have already written about several places for Under A Grey Sky that are special to me and my family and the photograph above represents yet another of these places, one that we have recently revisited and enjoyed all over again.

This is Lake End, High Nibthwaite, Coniston. As the name suggests it it the end, or foot, of the lake and just to the left of the photograph is the river that drains the water from Coniston out into Morecambe Bay. The view is of Dow Crag and Coniston Old Man. Not the most exciting or dramatic mountains in the Lake District but beautiful in shape and high in interesting places and certainly very accessible judging by the numbers of people making their various ways to the summit. Certainly on the day this photograph was taken there were undoubtedly many hundreds of walkers arriving at the summit of the Old Man during the day, as it was Bank Holiday Monday and the weather was stunningly beautiful. On this day last year the weather was just the opposite, absolutely foul with high winds and torrential rain. The lake level was very high, the feeder streams in full flood with huge stopper waves and every mountainside was streaked with waterfalls where none normally flowed. Not a day for photography.

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Not a Spot the Differences competition, but check out the similarities and differences in these photographs taken 12 months apart.

The sculptor Anthony Gormley had had one of his figures placed here, the head slightly turned to look directly towards the Old Man. I don’t know what Anthony Gormley’s intentions and thoughts were on placing this figure here but I can certainly see it as a statement of the enduring  pleasure that can be had from seeing  a favourite view over and over again, at all times of day or night and in whatever weather comes that way.

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But this place is full of other, smaller views on a much smaller scale. Every place has small scale views like these, most often they are passed by, every now and then one shines out and gets noticed and sometimes a nosey photographer comes along and gives them pride of place for a few minutes.

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So I have many favourite places, Rhoscolyn, Snowdonia, Buttermere and here in Coniston ….and then there’s Wasdale and.. well lots more.  Under a Grey Sky has clearly shown me that’s there many people like me who have favourite places and that there are  many places I haven’t visited yet any one of which could be my next favourite place. I hope you all keep writing and photographing these special places.

Words & Pictures: Chris Hughes

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One thought on “Special places: Coniston

  1. Phil Scraton

    Brilliant post, Chris, great photos. Sitting here in Belfast on a chilly, damp September morning I’m visualising myself in Coniston – one of my favourite places also. Thanks for taking us there today – we must meet there sometime soon! Phil

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