Photographing  A Brocken Spectre

Dow Crag. Lake District Landscape Photography

This was a last minute decision walk so I wasn’t too sure where to go. I flipped a coin between Coniston old man and Dow Crag. The coin chose Dow crag so I made my way up Walna Scar road and up towards Dow Crag.

The main reason I wanted to do a walk is that I got a new bag which is way heavier than my old bag. Last week I went up Coniston old man with my mates and I was consistently the runt of the group which isn’t ok, so there’s going to be more fell walks to get my legs into gear. We got up to the top of the old man in about an hour so I gave myself 1 1/2 hours for Dow crag to walk up, find a composition and be ready for the light changing.

I’d like to say I walked to fast and got up on to the tops with plenty of time to spare but I think it’s more down to giving myself more time on a smaller hill. I didn’t get the camera out of the bag until after the crossroads of paths when you get a view down towards the isle of man. I got a quick photo of the valley with the sun starting to go down. Not my favourite photo but it’s a spot to keep an eye on in the future.


I kept climbing from here as these views weren’t as good as they were in my head. It looked like the top with views over to either a) the Isle of man or b) Scafell and Scafell pike would be the best for photos, the view is usually best from the top so it didn’t make sense to wait around lower down longer than was needed.

Herdwick sheep walking up Dow Crag, Lake District Print
Herdwick sheep walking up Dow Crag

Behind the stone wall near the top was a group of Herdwick sheep, they ran down the hill a little bit when they saw me so I put down the video camera and got out my still’s camera and followed them for a little bit. I caught these 3 walking up towards the top of Dow Crag. It looks like it may be a mother with last years lambs. When they’re born they have black wool and it changes colour as they get older.

Brocken spectre on down crag
Brocken spectre on down crag

I reached the top and the clouds surrounded me. It seems to be a common theme for me when going up Dow Crag. It’s either really windy which makes talking in the vlog difficult or you can’t see anything, which is annoying as that’s the one reason I’m up there, to see the views.

The clouds kept on clearing in small patches and the sun was trying to make another appearance and then it appeared. The Brocken spectre. A silhouette of me in the clouds in front of me. This is the first time I’ve seen one and it was awesome. I didn’t have the words to describe it but it was pretty cool. Flipping the coin at the start of the walk paid off.

The photo below with the Brocken Spectre of me above Goats water is available as a print

Brocken Spectre over Goats water. The Lake District
Brocken Spectre over Goats water. The Lake District

After the clouds left I decided to quit whilst I was ahead and ran down before the sun went down. The clouds over Scafell and Scafell Pike were coming and going as well so I got a panorama over the top of those with the glow from the sunset coming into the frame. You can see how big the landscape is by seeing how small the sheep are in the bottom.

Sunset panorama from the top of Dow Crag blog
Sunset panorama from the top of Dow Crag blog

Watch the behind the scenes video:


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