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Speaker – Edward Bunting ‘Lake District Contrasts’

The Chairman reminded those without long memories that Edward had spoken to the Group on 20th July 1998 on Australia. Edward worked as a solicitor in Hartlepool before retiring twenty years ago. He is a keen golfer and walker.

His talk was mainly about the Northern Lakes, based on a stunning collection of slides which he has taken over many years. The ‘Contrasts’ in the title of his talk were illustrated by many views taken several times at different times of year and under different lighting conditions.

He followed two shots of the Blencathra with three views of the pier at Pooley Bridge showing how different it looked as the seasons and light changed. He showed more aspects of Ullswater including the steamer which sails from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge. This calls at a number of stopping points including Howtown, from where there is a beautiful walk along the side of the lake to Glenridding. Aira Force is a well known waterfall which drains into Ullswater, best seen in winter when its beauty is not hidden by leaves on the trees.

One of the most fascinating series of photos was of Haweswater. When this became a reservoir for the city of Manchester about 80 years ago, the village of Mardale became submerged. In the early part of 1985, following a long dry spell the water level dropped far enough for the remains of the demolished buildings to be seen.

Near Keswick and close to the road is the Castlerigg Stone Circle, which Edward had photographed in snow and in summer.

One of several highlights were photographs of Derwentwater. This beautiful lake also has a good steamer service. There are easy walks back to Keswick from the stopping points. Edward used one photograph to show five industries of the area: Skiddaw where there are still one or two slate quarries in operation, forestry on the mountain side, water for Manchester, sheep farming and tourism.

The National Trust started with the purchase of Brandlehow Woods on Derwentwater and now owns about 25% of the Lake District, including the whole of Buttermere. From the end of Derwentwater there is a beautiful walk through Borrowdale, from Lodore to Seatoller. In this area there are many small hotels and the standards of accommodation are high.

Alfred Wainwright wrote a series of books which still sell well 30 years after his death. His ashes were scattered on Fleetwith, the subject of several photographs.

One of the remarkable contrasts was the phenomenon of cloud inversion, which Edward had captured brilliantly in a number of photographs. When this happens, it is possible to climb above the cloud into sunshine and clear skies. These are not particularly rare, and can be found above 2000 – 2500 feet. He showed us a photo of his own shadow reflected off the top of the cloud layer with a rainbow around it. This is known as a Brocken spectre.

His talk concluded with more stunning photos of Helvellyn, Striding Edge and Great Gable. These included favourites of rock climbers such as Nape’s Needle and Sphinx Rock.

Further south is the beautiful Tarn Hows, also owned by the National Trust. Apparently the NT has a campaign to get rid of rhododendrons, because they are not indigenous.