I swear the internet weather sites had our study bugged prior to our jaunt up country last weekend. We weren't going, then we were, then we weren't. In the end, we committed and told the owner of the guesthouse to expect us. The weather finally looked promising and I started to pack in a hurry as I'd left it so late. But, as with all things UK weather related - and judging by my luck (all bad) this year in getting the sun to follow me around - the predicted weather did a 180 on us and we were facing cloudy, rainy, miserable days. And to make matters worse, it was going to be the hottest week of the year down south. In fact, everywhere but where we were headed was going to be sunning it up. We looked set to get stuck under a weather front that really wouldn't give us a break all week. Still, the rare butterflies we were after were said to be better photographed in overcast conditions, so maybe we would get lucky. One always hopes!
Starting optimistically I packed for all conditions much like I did for Cornwall last month. We got a few hours up Arnside Knott Sunday afternoon and found one of the three rare species - High Brown Frit. The wind was howling but the sun was shining so that took the edge off a little. Monday was much the same although more overcast. We managed to find one Northern Brown Argus who was so cold, I could pick him up and watch him visibly shiver in my hands. Tuesday it drizzled and rained and drizzled a bit more all day long. By the end of the day I was totally fed up and ready to throw the towel in. Watching the weather back home was not helping my mood. Macro photography, well any type of photography is nigh on impossible in the rain and when that's pretty much the sole purpose of your visit, it gets depressing when you can't do it. But then an amazing thing happened - the sky parted - and we went to bed that night thinking Wednesday might just be our lucky day. And it was! I wouldn't call it a sunny day, more part cloudy with bursts of sunshine tempered with a light breeze rather than gale force winds. Perfect weather for macro photography - and my landscapes. Newly emerged Scotch Argus stole the show today and we got pic upon pic of all three species except a decent side profile of the High Brown rather disappointingly, but still, a good day all round. Our high spirits restored, that evening we ate delicious fish and chips on the pier to celebrate and dried out our soaking wet feet (poor shoe choice!). Thursday was wind down day. It rained in the morning (there's a surprise) and we ventured out briefly during a short spell of sunshine in the afternoon. However, the finale of our trip was the best and I guess it's true when they say good things come to those who wait. Matthew Oates (one of the top butterfly and habitat conservationists in the country, who also works for the National Trust and is a poet on the side) joined us for dinner at the pub next door and then we finally got to see an Arnside sunset. They say the sunsets here are some of the best in the country.
How would I sum up this trip? Despite plucking numerous ticks and harvest mites out of our bodies, enduring not the best weather conditions for photographing macro, putting up with sopping wet feet everyday and trying to avoid chips with everything, I'd say we pulled it off quite nicely - but I am glad to be back home. Home sweet dear home where at least the sun shines more often!
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.