5 Reasons Why I Love Photography

Hiking Experiences

This is my story about how I got into photography. My passion started about 3 years ago when I became an avid hiker. Having moved to a new area where I hardly knew anyone, I needed a new hobby to keep me busy, maybe even meeting new people on my adventures. Photography gave me a way to capture the amazing moments from my hikes and encouraged me to visit more places I hadn’t been to before.

Fast forward three years and I’ve captured lots of amazing images from stunning places such as Snowdonia, The Lake District, and Peak District, just to mention a few. I take my camera on almost every walk, hoping to capture the perfect shot. My favourite time to take photos is at ‘Blue Hour’ because you get a nice blue, cool tone throughout the landscape and for cityscapes it creates a great balanced exposure.

When I’m not taking photos, I enjoy watching interesting and useful photography tutorials to help me improve my skills. I feel this is important as I always strive to improve my photography skills and capture even better photos. As this is a hobby for me, I thoroughly enjoy learning new techniques and picking up new tips from other experienced photographers.

Peel Tower Snowy
Let it snow

So why do I love photography?

  1. Photography allows me to express my creative side. This is very different to my job as an Electrical Engineer. With photography, I am able to take my camera to new places and capture unique shots which gives me a ‘buzz’. Also, I’m able to experiment with new techniques.
  2. Secondly, it’s good for my mental health and wellbeing. As we all know, exercise is important for all of us and this is my way of getting out of the house. Photography gives me something else to focus on and is my way of relaxing after a long week. It may not be for everyone, but this works for me.
  3. I become more appreciative of the moment. By this I mean I’m able to look back on the photos I’ve taken and appreciate the places I’ve been to and the views I’ve been lucky eneough to experience. Photography really allows you to immerse yourself in the moment and mood at the time.
  4. Photography allows me to tell stories through photos. I am able to show people the places I have been to. A well taken photo can describe the exact moment without having to with words.
  5. Lastly, photography allows me to document my life and some of the best moments in it. If people appreciate my photos and hard work, of course that is a bonus, but I primarily do this for myself.

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My Five Favourite Local Walks

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During the current unprecedented times, with little else to do, it seems many individuals have taken up walking or hiking as a hobby. This is a fantastic way for people to keep healthy, as well as get outdoors and visit new places. As an avid hiker myself, I’m fully aware of the positive impact this can have on your mental health and wellbeing. I use walking and hiking as a way to clear my head and unwind after a busy week.

That said, over recent years I have visited many locations around Lancashire and surrounding areas. I’d love to share some of these favourite spots with you as recommendations for local walks.

Peel Tower Cloud Inversion

Blackstone Edge

Blackstone Edge is a gritstone escarpment which lies on the Greater Manchester/Yorkshire border. The rock formations are truly spectacular to witness. This can be made an easier or harder walk depending on which route you wish to take. A common starting point at the White House pub, which reduces a lot of the ascent. If you are feeling extra energetic, then you can tackle the Roman Road, which starts out much lower down. Whichever route you decide to take, you will not be disappointed with the end reward. A favourite section of the walk is one you approach first with a huge rock face, which juts out from the landscape, which can’t be missed. This is worth the stop off for the first photo opportunity. After visiting this spectacular rock formation, you weave your way through the boulder field all the way up to the summit trig pillar. From here you are rewarded with views right across Manchester, Hollingworth Lake, Winter Hill and if you visit on a clear day, you will be surprised to see the mountains of Snowdonia National Park catching your gaze.

Holcombe Hill

Holcombe Hill overlooks the lovely village of Holcombe and the centre of Ramsbottom. Standing 128 feet high on this hill is one of Bury’s well-known landmarks, Peel Tower. This popular landmark was built in 1852 and is dedicated to one of Bury’s most famous sons, Sir Robert Peel. Walkers can enjoy a pleasant walk up to the tower and then across the wonderful Holcombe Moorland, with spectacular views across Manchester and surrounding areas. This is an easy walk for most people and can be completed in a circular route starting out at Moorbottom Road. I have loved Holcombe Hill ever since I first noticed it when I moved to Manchester.

Peel Tower, Ramsbottom.
Peel Tower at sunrise
Peel Tower Cloud Inversion
Peel Tower Cloud Inversion

Wayoh Reservoir

Wayoh Reservoir is located in the beautiful town of Edgworth. This reservoir, along with the Turton & Entwistle Reservoir, supply 50% of Bolton’s drinking water. Wayoh Reservoir was enlarged to its current capacity, which holds 501 million imperial gallons. One of the highlights of the walk is visiting the viaduct, where you can witness its impressive construction. Occasionally, you will see the train passing via the Manchester to Clitheroe line. If you get your timing right, you might be able to photograph the train on the viaduct. For most people, this should be an easy walk on 90% flat terrain, perfect for a stroll to walk off your Sunday dinner. This is a location I have visited many times and particularly enjoy walking here in the evening.

Scout Moor Wind Farm

Scout Moor combines a scenic walk with modern day engineering. With its road network solely for the wind farm, it makes it fairly easy to navigate and good under foot. You don’t truly realise how big the wind turbines are until you’re up close to them. During the walk, you can always venture off piste and visit Knowl Hill, which is a prominent hill on Scout Moor itself, offering extensive views and almost an aerial view of the wind farm itself, which I highly recommend. If you’ve got plenty of energy left in the legs, you can venture towards the back end of the wind farm which takes you to Whittle Hill, which is marked with a 6 foot cross. I’d say this is a medium difficulty walk, especially when combining Knowl Hill, which due to its prominence requires a steep ascent. If setting off from The Owd Betts Pub, once returning back to the car, you can watch the sun go down from Ashworth Moor Reservoir.

Dovestone Reservoir & Surrounding Hills

Lastly but by no means my least favourite, is Dovestone Reservoir. If you fancy a nice stroll, you can do a circular walk of the reservoir itself, even combining Yeoman Hey Reservoir. This offers beautiful views despite being surrounded and enclosed by the surrounding hills. Dovestone Reservoir is also surrounded by beautiful woodland and pine trees. I’d say this is an easy walk, starting out from either Binn Green car park or the main car park itself. If you feel up for a challenge, there is a selection of unique rock formations and craggs to visit, some to note are Aldermans Hill, Wimberry Rocks, also known as Indians Head and one of my personal favourites, The Trinnacle. Aldermans Hill offers great views of the three reservoirs and Dovestone Rocks but requires a steep climb. Wimberry Rocks is a favourite amongst most people and draws people in due to its resemblance of a native Indian’s headdress. I especially like The Trinnacle, this involves a steep climb initially followed by a ridge walk where you will then reach The Trinnacle Rock itself, but the question is will you make the leap from one stone to the other?.

Dovestone Reservoir
Me at Dovestone Reservoir
Dovestone Reservoir
Dovestone Reservoir

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Catching Cloud Inversions

Useful Information

Believe it or not, under specific weather conditions you can actually walk above the clouds. This is known as a ‘cloud inversion’ and can mainly be spotted during Autumn and Winter. I saw my first ever cloud inversion from Helvellyn in the Lake District, and I felt on cloud nine – pardon the pun. It was truly phenomenal! From that day, I became hooked and began studying these as I was determined to spot more in the future.

So you may be wondering, how does a cloud inversion form? Well, these occur when colder air gets trapped below a shield of warmer air. This creates a magical effect of fog sweeping over the area. Under usual conditions, the general rule is that the temperature drops as you gain height. However, on occasions, this general rule is reversed and a cloud inversion is formed.

Mam Tor, Peak District.
Cloud inversion viewed from Mam Tor, Peak District.

In the UK, there are two main types of cloud inversions, the most common being nocturnal inversions. Nocturnal inversions occur mainly under high pressure and settled conditions, which usually go hand in hand. They mainly occur in the winter half of the year due to the long nights. The conditions to look out for are high pressure, little to no wind, clear skies over night and more likely to occur in hilly mountainous terrain. The cooler air from up on the hills sinks into the valleys due to its density which then allows the less dense warmer air to be on top of the cooler air, creating a cap. As the air temperature quickly drops due to the clear skies and then reaches its dew point, the cooler air then condenses and this fog/cloud is then trapped under the warmer air creating a flat top.

The other main type of cloud inversion is called a Subsidence Inversion. It is called a Subsidence Inversion due to high pressure system having descending air which warms as it does so. These inversions occur when high pressure moves across Britain mainly from West to East. When the high pressure centre is centred just to the West of Britain, cooler air is drawn from the polar region to Britain. Due to the nature of the settled conditions which accompany high pressure systems, the layers of air from the atmosphere are less likely to be mixed. As the high pressure centre slowly moves across Britain, the descending air is at its strongest. If the high pressure centre remains in place for a few days or more, the layer of warmer air gets lower and lower, and sometimes descends to the height of the highest mountains in Britain. This means when climbing your favourite peak, you are likely to ascend into warmer air and if enough moisture is present in the lower cooler layer, cloud may be present. The moisture mainly occurs and gets added to the mix as the high pressure moves East across Britain which creates a change in wind direction, bringing more humid air from mainland Europe. Similar to the first type, the warmer air creates a capping layer which limits the height of the cloud top enabling you to be above the cloud. There are other types of cloud inversions but these are the main two.

Peel Tower cloud inversion

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When Patience Pays Off

Hiking Experiences

During the summer months, I was eager to get out in the mountains between lockdown restrictions and poor weather. After reading between the lines with the mountain weather forecast, it looked like there would be a small window of opportunity in the early hours of this particular morning which offered clear skies.

Starting out at Beddgelert and ascending the Watkin path, my destination was the amazing viewpoint between Snowdon and Y Lliwedd, which offers perhaps the best view in Wales, which looks out across the beautiful Llyn Llydaw. During the ascent I was greeted by numerous shooting stars that ripped through the dark skies of Snowdonia putting on such a spectacular show in the clear skies that were indeed forecast.

Halfway up the Watkin path and the intended ridge I was aiming for in sight, I caught a glimpse of 4 headtorches making their way across the ridge towards Snowdon summit. Despite being in the middle of nowhere and halfway up a mountain, I found it highly amusing that all I could hear was “watermelon sugar” being played loudly from a portable stereo. As I made my final push for the ridgeline, I was swamped by a bank of low cloud and the landscape quickly disappeared before me.

Watkin Path Route
Sun rising above Llyn Llydaw

After reaching my destination I sat for nearly an hour in low cloud with no view and contemplating calling it a day. There were signs the cloud was trying to break, teasing as I got glimpses of what I had come to see. I had been in this situation many times before and still never got the view, but for some reason on this morning I was convinced I would. At this point sunrise had passed and still nothing.

Just as I was starting to get my stuff together and packing my bag, the ground right before me lit up in a soft golden glow. As I stood there, the clouds began to part and I was eventually greeted with the view that can be seen in the image. When you have made the midnight drive and the climb by headtorch, it really is worth sticking it out because you just never know what might happen. One thing was for certain, nothing was wiping the smile off my face on the drive back home.


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