The Lyrid Meteor Shower from Boredale Hause

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A very unsuccessful night out to watch meteors at Boredale Hause that turned into a very successful dawn shoot on Place Fell in the English Lake District

Wild camping at Boredale Hause

The 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. 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.

In all honesty, I had never heard of it before but a friend mentioned it and a plan to watch it was formed. Boredale Hause, the high pass linking the valleys of Boredale and Patterdale in the Lake District, was chosen as the location as it wasn’t too far to walk to and is a large enough area for a number of tents.

And so it was that a small group of us were in The White Lion in the village of Patterdale on April 21st, eating our evening meal with our camping kits at the ready. Much merriment was had, almost too much as we lost track of time and set off walking much later than planned.

By the time we arrived at Coledale Hause the last of the day’s light was disappearing fast. There was no time to seek out the best area to pitch our tents so we used the first site we found. Luckily the location turned out to be fine.

After a discussion about the following morning’s astral display and a nightcap it was time for bed. We were going to have to get up very early. The sky was clear. All that was needed was for it to stay that way.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower was ‘a 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 any meteors 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’ didn’t quite sum the experience up.

As people got cold and necks ached from constantly looking skywards a decision was made to head back home.

As everyone else packed up their tents and headed back down to Patterdale, I was determined not to give up so decided to stay for long enough to watch dawn. But where from? Coledale Hause wasn’t a very good vantage point as Beda Fell obstructed the view of the eastern horizon. I’d be better off climbing 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 was simply superb and I paused for the above photograph as I crossed the fell’s summit plateau. The light could have disappeared at any moment so I was keen to get at least one photo.

Fortunately the conditions did last a bit longer, long enough for me to get to the summit. It was blowing a gale on the tops though so trying to use my rucksack to weigh my tripod down made it act like a sail. In the end there wasn’t much I could do. I just had to take as many pictures as possible and hope enough came out sharp. Eventually cloud started billowing out of Boredale that obscured the entire view.

And that put an end to the photography. Time to head back down, pack up my camping kit and return home.

Later on I did tell my friends what they had missed. However it wasn’t until they saw the photograph below that they believed me. Am I so untrustworthy?

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 to try to see them. They might have been disappointing but I don’t care. The night out with friends was good fun. And 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!

To view more Lake District photographs from this area please visit my Patterdale and Hartsop photo collection.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower from Boredale Hause was last modified: January 10th, 2022 by Gavin Dronfield

Further reading:

  • Warnscale Head Bothy visit
    August 2016 : A climb from Gatesgarth Farm in the Buttermere Valley up to the MBA-maintained and well-camouflaged Warnscale Head Bothy for a look inside

  • Stanley Ghyll Force walk
    October 2022 : A short walk from Trough House Bridge through autumnal Eskdale woodland to the stunning waterfall of Stanley Ghyll Force

  • Lake District Wild Camping
    July 2023 : A list of wild camping locations in the Lake District National Park tried and tested out by yours truly, including tips and advice

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