Spring sunshine and limestone pavements

The unexpectedly early arrival of our first grandchild has meant that the last two weeks has been a blur of driving up and down the A90, hospital visits, homecoming and helping the new parents adjust to sleep deprivation. Writing deadlines have been missed; social media skimmed at best and email ignored. Thankfully, Mum and baby are both fine and the baby, at least, is thriving.

I’ve had no time for outdoor wandering or photography, apart of course from baby photography. However, we did manage to get away for a long-planned weekend to visit friends who live near Kirby Lonsdale in Cumbria.

It wasn’t planned as a hill-walking weekend but I did manage to get out for a while to the low limestone hills – Hutton Roof and Farleton Fell – near KL. These are not dramatic hills but they have fabulous limestone pavements and a maze of tracks that you can wander around for hours. The weather was wonderful – warm with wall-to-wall sunshine.

For a Scot, this is an alien but fascinating landscape - the limestone erosion creates other-worldly shapes that look as if they were created in a special-effects department for a science-fiction film. Long shadows on the limestone pavement looking over to the distant Lake District hills. Still a touch of snow on these hills but I guess most of it will have melted away in the strong spring sunshine. At various places in the pavement, these rocks stick up from the cracks - this one is near the summit cairn of Hutton Roof. I have no idea if these rocks have been placed there (if so, why?) or if they are some natural phenomenon. If you know about them, please add a comment. You sometimes see climbers tacking the rock problems on this wee escarpment but there was nobody there but me as the last rays of the sun lit it, giving it a warm glow. Increasing the contrast and removing the vegetation that lends scale make the gaps in the pavement look like canyons on an alien moon. You wouldn't be surprised to see an X-fighter appear out of them. I tried a different treatment here with a lower contrast to try and bring out the subtle tones in the limestone. I was quite pleased with the effect but I still have a lot of learning to do to get the best monochrome results. Another one of these rocks that stick up from the cracks in the limestone - this one caught the last rays of the setting sun.

All photos taken with an iPhone 7 using the Lightroom app. Some additional post-processing in Lightroom.

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