Winter weather – sunsets

The autumn equinox is almost upon us and then the nights will be longer than the days. And when the clocks go back next month, dusk will fall even earlier.

While there are many benefits of summer, the darker part of the year also has its attractions. For example, you can take daft photos like this without having to be on the hills really late.

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Shadows from a low sun

In the autumn and winter months you can see a sunset from the mountains and still be back in the valley in time for a quick pint before dinner.

These pics were from the descent of Wetherlam in February, and we we were back at our accommodation drinking tea and eating cake by 6 pm.

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Looking south-west from the south ridge of Wetherlam

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Sunset over Levers Hawse from the south ridge of Wetherlam

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Sunset over Levers Hawse from the south ridge of Wetherlam

One of my other favourite mountain sunsets was seen from a winter walk on the Fairfield Horseshoe.

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A winter sunset from Rydal Fell

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A winter sunset from Rydal Fell

And sometimes there is another benefit of a low sun – such as lighting up the hills like this:

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The last rays of the setting sun on the Helvellyn range

So, as this is a blog for a holiday cottage, the real message is – don’t let the shorter days put you off the idea of visiting the Lakes – it is lovely at all times of the year.

Now, unfortunately, it’s time for a safety disclaimer…

We hadn’t specifically planned to return to the valley after dark on either of the ‘sunset walks’ above, but we were prepared for walking in the dark with decent head torches. We had also done both of the walks several times before and knew the way down and that there was a clear path to follow. If you aren’t confident with your navigation (and remember that GPS batteries may run out so you also need to be confident with map and compass), make sure you plan to at least be back on a road by the time the sun sets. If you fancy some night walking or seeing sunsets from up in the mountains, there are plenty of guides who can take you or teach you what you need to know.

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