From Patterdale to a wild camp at Boredale Hause
The April Lyrid Meteor shower is visible every year in mid to late April in the area of the sky near the Lyrid constellation, hence the name. Personally I had never heard of it before but a friend mentioned it. Apparently 2013’s shower was to be one of the best in years and was due to peak in the early hours of April 22nd.
And so it was that a small group of us were found in The White Lion in the Lake District village of Patterdale on April 21st, eating our evening meal with our camping kits at the ready. In fact we got so distracted that the walk up to Boredale Hause turned out to be more of a dash as we lost track of time. We had chosen the Hause as it was easy for everyone to get to, large enough to accommodate a lot of tents and as far away form any villages to minimise light pollution.
By the time we got to there the last of the day’s light was disappearing fast so there was no time to seek out the best area to pitch our tents. We used the first site we found. Luckily the location turned out to be fine.
And then the drinking could continue, thanks to one friend bringing a bottle of some alcoholic beverage, as we discussed the following morning’s promised display while looking upwards at the starry sky, keeping our fingers crossed that it would stay clear.
The Lyrid Meteor Shower
After a brief sleep it was 4am and time for the fireworks! I’m not sure how to sum up the Lyrid Meteor Shower. On the plus side the skies had remained mostly clear so what meteors there were would be visible. Unfortunately there were no meteors! I thought I saw one at one point but it was so quick I couldn’t be sure it wasn’t my eyes playing tricks on me. ‘Disappointing’ doesn’t sum it up.
Eventually with people getting cold and necks aching from constantly looking skywards a decision was made to give up and head back home. Determined not to waste a night out however, I decided to take the motorway of a path from Boredale Hause up to the summit of Place Fell to watch dawn, a decision I was to be eternally thankful for.
From Boredale Hause to Place Fell for dawn
Leaving my tent where it was, I grabbed my photography kit and quickly climbed up to Place Fell’s summit plateau. Well before reaching the trig point at the summit I knew I had made the right decision.
The light levels was simply superb and I paused for the above photograph, not sure how long it was going to last.
Fortunately they did last a bit longer, long enough for me to get to the summit. It was blowing a gale on the tops though so when trying to use my rucksack to weigh my tripod down but it seemed to act as a sail. In the end there wasn’t much I could do except take as many pictures as possible and hope enough came out sharp so I just snapped away. I would have stayed up there longer and tried to get even more shots but cloud started billowing out of Patterdale and after a few minutes it had totally obscured the view.
And that was that. Time to head back down to pack up my camping kit and return home. Later on I did tell my friends what they had missed out on but it wasn’t until they saw the photograph below that they believed me.
I don’t think I’ll ever bother going out to try to catch the Lyrid Meteor Shower again but am eternally grateful I went on this camping trip and tried to see them. They might have been disappointing but I don’t care as I saw one of the best Lake District dawns I have ever seen.
Finally, as an additional bonus, the above photo won the Lakeland Photography Prize in 2013!
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