Posts tagged ‘Cumbria’

October 12, 2012

Around Wastwater part 2

Here are some colour photos as a follow up to the earlier black and whites (which you can find here).

Mountain Light, larger version here.

Fern detail, larger version here.

Expecting ‘Postman Pat’, larger version here.

Last of the Sun on Great Gable, larger version here.

View from Scafell Pike Summit, larger version here.

Walking towards Wasdale Head, larger version here.

October 9, 2012


‘Roots and Stream’, Cumbria 2012. (Panasonic LX1, 1/30 sec, f3.2, 8.7mm, ISO 80) Larger version here.

Every Sunday in our Parish notices we have a ‘Memory Verse’, a sentence or two from the Bible to encourage, comfort or challenge the reader.  The verse from last Sunday was still wending it’s way through the alcoves of my mind as I was looking through some pictures taken during our summer holiday.  As I came across the photo above it was just asking to be paired with that verse:

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

(Colossians 2:7)
New Living Translation

October 7, 2012

Around Wastwater

Here are some landscape photos which I took back in August when we were in the wonderfully rugged terrain around Wastwater in Cumbria, England. I’ll put up some colour ones next time but for now here are four Black & Whites from the hundred or so pictures that I took. By the way if you are wondering about the sky in the second picture and whether it’s real or not – yes it is – the trick is to use a polarizing filter and stand at 90 degrees to the sun…

August 31, 2012

St. Olaf’s Church

For our family holiday this year we returned to Wasdale Head in the English Lake District.  It is such a wonderful place to stay, with the benefit of being much quieter than other parts of the Lake District (because of its inaccessibility and because there is nothing to do here other than go walking in the hills or swim in the lake)!

St. Olaf’s Church is one of, if not the smallest church buildings in England.  In the picture above it is all but hidden amongst a circle of Yew trees, with Kirk Fell and Great Gable in the background (larger version on Flickr here).  The church has been there for at least a thousand years, some of the original timbers apparently being those from a Viking Longship.

The four of us bundled into one of the pews for a Sunday evening celebration of Holy Communion.  It was one of the highlights of our holiday, the visiting clergyman gave an excellent sermon and it was wonderful to share the bread and the wine with such a variety of people, locals and fellow hill-walkers alike.  (Photo on Flickr here.)
This window, with the quote from Psalm 121 is dedicated to the members of the Fell and Rock Climbing club who lost their lives in the First World War.  It looks out on to the church yard and the graves of numerous climbers who died in the surrounding hills and of those who simply wanted to be buried here in such beautiful surroundings.  In the background you can just about make out the north facing slope of Lingmell. (Photo on Flickr here.)

The origin of our word ‘holiday’ comes of course from ‘holy day’, a day set apart for God.  There really is something special, spiritual and holy about walking among and being in these hills and I cannot think of any better way of expressing it than in those words of the Psalmist quoted above.  St. Olaf’s may be the smallest church, near the highest mountain and the deepest lake in England, but perhaps here more than most other places, it is not necessary to confine one’s worship to a building because praise, worship and thanksgiving come so naturally in these most beautiful surroundings, just as much today as they did to those original Viking settlers over a thousand years ago.


December 17, 2010

But I want to!

(Photo taken in the Great Langdale Valley, Cumbria, last Summer).

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(Isaiah 53:6 ESV)

Christians have always been daily faced with the question, “do I go the way of the world or do I go the way that I know that is right.”

The way of the world is probably best summed up in the defence that people give for living how they want to, “I can do what ever I like, so long as it makes me happy.  I am not hurting anyone, why can’t I?”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all do whatever we wanted, all of the time, with no one getting hurt?  Surely it would be like heaven on earth? Hmm, maybe not.  Maybe we do not actually know what’s best for ourselves anymore than children understand the responsibilities of adulthood.

Time and time again I find myself having to answer questions from people, moral and ethical questions about how we should (and should not) live our lives.  Naturally I like to sit on the fence, but that is not a luxury afforded to us.

“Why is it wrong for this gay couple get married?  They’ve been together for years and they love each other.”

“Why is abortion not O.K.?  Having a baby would be a real inconvenience right now.  Surely it’s not really a baby anyway, it’s not life, and why can’t a women make decisions about her own body?”

“Why can’t my grandmother choose when she wants to die?  She is in great pain.  Why can the doctor not give her a little injection to end the misery?”

Why shouldn’t scientists genetically modify these tomatoes/sheep/children, they would be much more juicy/cost effective/better behaved?!

“Why can’t I jump off this cliff, it looks like fun?  My friends are all running into that fire over there, why can’t I?  Oh you’re such a spoilsport for not letting me!

Ah ethics, what a mess you have got us into!  (O.K., that’s too many exclamation marks now!)

Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?” (John 18:38).  Most people would be happy to answer that truth is whatever we make it; that truth is different depending upon the situation and circumstances, that it is flexible.  Truth therefore is seen as subjective, based on feelings, tastes, opinions, trends and fashion.

But what if truth were Objective, something that was beyond and outside of the sphere of our choosing?  What if truth was placed there as a framework, a paradigm for our lives that was actually in itself good and right and well … true?

Jesus said:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”(John 14:6 ESV)

If we want truth, if we want to know what is right and if we want to know the best way to live our lives, then we need to look at God’s word, Jesus.  I am not going to attempt to blog about Biblical ethics, as I would not have any time left over to do anything else today.  A good place to start is WWJD “What would Jesus do?” (Sounds naive and simplistic until we actually try and do it!)  The Bible gives us God’s manual, His instruction book on how to live our lives.  The better we know and understand God’s word, the more we are able to apply the holiness of God to our everyday human lives.  Yes there will be times when people simply don’t understand our stance on certain issues;  we are not judging people, we are not telling them that they are wrong, rather it is that we know where the right answer(s) may be found.  This can only be done properly with love, humility and great respect, something that the church has historically been catastrophically bad at.  :-(

We are simply beggars, telling other beggars where they might go to find bread.

August 9, 2010

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?


My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Great Langdale B&W

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;


indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

Old Barn

The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;


the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

Great Grey Owl

The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

Near Chapel Stile

the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Great Langdale Campsite

(All photos taken on our recent holiday – all in the Great Langdale Valley, Cumbria, except for the Great Grey Owl, taken at Rays Farm in Shropshire).

August 4, 2010

Rock and Water

I’ve been reading “Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography” by Brenda Tharp, which I can highly recommend.  One of the challenges she lays down at the start of the book is to ask yourself what you are trying to say when taking a photograph.  Does the picture have meaning?  What emotions does it evoke in the viewer?  What do they take away with them from the picture?  And so on.  For someone like me who tends to snap away without giving the pictures much thought until afterwards, this has been an exciting challenge, but one that I find difficult to achieve.  I see something that I like and I take a picture of it, but it is good to think about what I am trying to say even if it is mostly (for me at least) a subliminal process.


Ok, lets try it out on this picture.  It’s a stream in the Great Langdale Valley (in Cumbria), taken a couple of weeks ago.  Now if I’m honest, when I look, I just see water rushing though rock (I used a slow shutter speed of 1/6 sec to emphasise the movement of the water).  To go beyond that description takes a little more effort on my part; I see hard solid granite, that is permanent, changing little over thousands of years.  I remember it being warm from the sun and like heavy-duty sandpaper to the touch.  That rock isn’t going anywhere.  In contrast the water is anything but solid, anything but permanent, it is very cold, having come from further up the mountain.  It is constantly changing, in a hurry and always different in shape and depth and speed.

The rock and the water could hardly be more different.  As I force myself to think further, I think of a similarlity between God and people.  God is the rock, permanent, eternal, solid, strong, unchanging.  We on the other hand are fluid and fragile, passing through time in the blinking of an eye.  The rock guides the flow of the water, (hmm maybe that is like God and us).  One way the water differes from us and God though is that it (albeit very gradually) shapes and smoothes the rock.  We cannot change God in any way, but then we don’t need to, it is rather us who need His help to change…  OK, that’ll do for now :-)