"No pain, no gain!" Reaping rewards on Blencathra

Sharp Edge Blencathra summer dawn
Dawn from Sharp Edge, Blencathra.

I keep being told to sit back and take a wee break of late by friends and family who’ve noticed I’m becoming rather forgetful and getting into slight mishaps with day to day living and my work. The past couple of months or so has been physically and mentally demanding as I’ve juggled ‘bread and butter’ work coupled with filming Blencathra and a new DVD with David Powell-Thompson.

Summer can be a busy time for me I have to admit and things don’t quieten down until around October but I’ve no choice but to keep focused and plod on with the jobs in hand. Much of this was brought home to me on many levels just last week while in the Lake District.

With wonderful help and support from Tim Foster and his team at the Blencathra Field Centre, they kindly put me up for several nights to use their facilities as a base while I headed out and about the area filming for my next documentary featuring ‘ole Saddleback’. The weather was overall unsettled but in a roundabout way that’s just how I like it!

Such conditions can be challenging of course but it does afford the most dramatic scenes of the fells on camera. It can be testing at times but I thrive on what the weather can throw at me.

And it was while the rains poured and the clouds danced about the fells that I became acutely aware I’m getting close to being burnt out.

Last Thursday I packed all my camping, filming and drone gear to spend a night out on Atkinson Pike. Normally the walk would take me approximately 2 hours but given I had to lug up my ‘raven’ to capture aerial scenes, progress was very slow indeed. By the time I set up camp I was utterly exhausted but set about wandering the summit with my cameras.

Happy enough with some of the shots I got, I retreated back to my tent to enjoy some late afternoon dinner only to discover I forgot to pack my stove and my food too! I was absolutely livid and my morale plummeted.

I very nearly packed up and headed back down to the field centre but after some contemplation and noting I had a couple of muesli bars for sustenance I figured “What the hell!”. And I’m pleased I did. You can see some of the end results below in pictures and video. But it goes to show that exhaustion and a lack of confidence had affected me in such a way that I couldn’t be arsed to spend one night out on the mountain knowing I was little more than 2-3 hours away from home comforts. It sounds like I’m getting soft! I’m not of course but it can be hard at such times to mentally deal with any such sense of well-being.

This summer hasn’t been the best in recent years and I have to say up on the tops in Lakeland it feels very autumnal. I woke in the night shivering for example because my summer down bag wasn’t adequate but pulling on my down jacket compensated to a degree. It was all worth it though!

Following the weather forecasts and my instinct I was certain come Friday morning I’d get to enjoy a spectacular dawn from the summit of Blencathra. The thought of missing out if I had retreated back to the field centre would’ve bugged me for weeks.

Lesson learnt. Never give up up no matter how low one can feel at times. There’s always the light of a golden sun creeping over the horizon to bring in a new day….


Castle Rock Lake District
Incoming rains in St John’s in the Vale.


Keswick Borrowdale Lake District
A break in the storms looking to Keswick.


blencathra field centre
Aerial view of Blencathra Field Centre.
Bleaberry Fell Lake District
Dawn light on Bleaberry Fell and Castlerigg.
St Johns in the Vale Blencathra Field Centre
Incoming storm as seen from the Blencathra Field Centre.


Sue Foster painter Lake District
Lakeland painter Sue Foster in her studio. Sue features in my Blencathra documentary.


Tim Foster Blencathra Field Centre
Tim from the Blencathra Field Centre at work in his office.


Blencathra Field Centre Lake District
That view again from Tim’s office!
wild camping Lake District Hilleberg Enan tent
Camp on Atkinson Pike with the Hilleberg Enan.
Eastern Fell Lake District Blencathra
Eastern Fell at dawn as seen from Atkinson Pike, Blencathra.
Eden Valley Cumbria
The Eden Valley at dawn as seen from Blencathra.


Sharp Edge summer dawn Blencathra Lake District
Sharp Edge, Scales Tarn at dawn from Atkinson Pike.


Terry Abraham at work Lake District
Yours truly at work on the flanks of Blease Fell, Blencathra.


Terry Abraham Lake District
A rare thing! A selfie with me including bedhead! I headed out the door at 5am.
Summer dawn Bleaberry Fell Castlerigg Lake District
Early dawn mists below Bleaberry Fell.


St John's in the Vale
Early dawn mists again in St John’s in the Vale.

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