Being based just outside Cockermouth, the village of Gilcrux provides the best of both worlds for the holidaymaker, fell walker or photographer. Since choosing this area as my base I've discovered that many other photographers who shoot the Lake District live nearby - so I got something right! NW Cumbria offers the benefit of quiet rural retreats but with Lakeland and the Solway AONB just a short drive away. But the hustle and bustle of towns and tourist hotspots is still within easy reach.
From GIlcrux, the coast is just 5 minutes drive away. Crummock Water, Buttermere, Loweswater, Ullswater and Derwentwater/Keswick can be reached in under half an hour, and the majority of the other major Lakes and popular fells are within an hour. For the adventurous cyclist, Whinlatter is 15 minutes away while the thrill seeker can head to Honister pass and the via ferrata in half an hour. Scotland is also reachable within the hour for those wishing to make a longer excursion. Locally, a half hour walk will take you up Tallentire Hill with it's stunning panoramic view from the Northern Fells to Scotland, with the Isle of Man often visible offshore.
Gilcrux itself is rural and quiet, but has a busy pub with a superb reputation for food and the locals are always welcoming. Spring into Summer is a fantastic time of year, the birdsong is unbelievable, the colours of the flora glorious and there is little man-made noise besides the occasional passing tractor and the babbling of the 7 springs in the village (two of which we have routed through our garden - no water shortages here!). And while we get nearly 18 hours of daylight in mid-summer we have few streetlights, so in Autumn and Winter the night sky can be seen in all its stunning glory and so astrophotography is unavoidable!
When I moved to the Lake District my aim was to make the most of the area photographically, and share that knowledge with others with a similar passion for the area and/or photography. I had been coming to Lakeland for over 20 years prior to moving, but you can only truly explore a place when you've time on your hands.
Two years on, and I have been lucky to experience some of the best the Lakes and Solway Coast can offer, and had a chance to go off the beaten track and find some special places.
If you would also like to make the most of the Lakes and develop your photography in the process, I am now offering 1-2-1 tuition sessions. There are a number of photographers who offer tuition - all have their own styles and different areas which they know well - so be sure to check your options out to make the most of your time and investment. In my case, I specialise in photography at dawn and dusk, in mist and fog, where there is emotive light. I am also an unusual animal in that I often use telephoto lenses for my landscape work, picking out details rather than the whole.
Inevitably my style leads to me often get up when I really don't want to, drive through the night, often then walk up a fell in the light of a headtorch (sometimes in sub-zero temperatures!)... all to be ready for the changing dawn light. But it is worth the hardship and effort - experiencing a cloud inversion, particularly if you have climbed and found yourself breaking through it and viewing it from above as dawn breaks, is life affirming. Having a chance to photograph it is even more so! I saw my first inversion from Catbells in May 2019 and it was an emotional experience - photographs cannot do it justice, so give it a go if you can!
But there are also many subjects which can be creatively shot during the day, so if early starts are not your preference you can still have an enjoyable days tuition.
We can get as technical as you wish - looking at composition, exposure, depth of field and how pre-visualisation and editing techniques can affect what you shoot. I welcome all abilities but particularly want to focus on beginners to the hobby, so they can gain an understanding of how to make the best of opportunities.
Editing tuition can also be provided on a 1-2-1 basis for those who have attended a session of tuition in the field, either on the day or later on in your stay.
The costs for a session are as follows, and the duration can be tailored to your requirements :
One-to-one tuition/guidance : £20 per hour
Group tuition/guidance (currently a maximum of 2 persons) : £15.00 per hour, per person.
I would recommend you plan for a 3-4 hour session to get the most from a sunrise or sunset shoot (and possibly benefit from a pre-session meeting*)
Additional charges may apply if you wish me to drive you to/from locations.
Additional charges (at the relevant hourly rate) would also apply if you choose to extend your session when in the field.
Discounts are available for those wishing to book full day, multiple sessions and post-session editing tuition (in Gilcrux).
Please drop me an email with your thoughts and I can put together a provisional itinerary with costings.
*Ideally you would be based local to Gilcrux - a few suggstions for accommodation are listed below (solo travellers or couples may be able to stay with us from 2021, if wished - details can be provided) - and this would allow us to meet the evening before to review your kit, set a plan for the session and talk through you expectations. I can also provide a presentation of images to help guide us on the sort of images you aspire to shoot, again helping to tailor the session to suit your preferences. This service is available to anyone booking 4 or more hours of tuition and staying near Gilcrux.
The Lake District is known for its ever changing weather and I am happy to reschedule at short notice - subject to my availability - in the event that conditions are looking poor for the booked tuition session. The simple aim is for you to have an enjoyable session and come away with some great images.
The following accommodation options are available in the Gilcrux / Tallentire area :
Holiday cottages for 2 or 5 persons in an amazing manor house, based around a 13th century tower and 16th century buildings, with stunning grounds overlooking the Solway Firth. Speak to Ann.
A 3-room suite cosy B&B for two in the centre of Gilcrux, just over the road from my home studio and stumbling distance from the pub. A caravan option is also available. Speak to Charlotte.
About 10 minutes walk from Gilcrux, a cosy 18th century cottage for 2. Speak to Chris.
Another traditional Cumbrian cosy cottage set in the centre of Gilcrux. Speak to Susan.
For those looking for something a little different, nearby Greengill Farm offer a traditional Shepherds caravan.
Low Green Farm (from winter 2020/spring 2021)
From this coming winter we hope to be able to offer accommodation for 1, 2 or 3 people in one double and one single room. Both rooms will have their own bathroom facilities. Get in touch for more details.