Phew! I’m glad to still be alive today !

 Saturday 1483 – 25th February 2012

If you are following my other blog “Helen’s Photomania ” you will have read that I gave myself a bit of a scare with some flood water on Wednesday…  If you haven’t seen it take a look here

Yesterday I did something which scared me so much I thought I was going to have a heart attack that’s if I didn’t drive over the edge of a precipice first !!  So today I am very glad to be alive. So glad in fact that today I climbed to a waterfall along a rather precipitous path!! ( I didn’t know it was going to be precipitous! ) What is wrong with me !!  Do I have a death wish or something??

What makes us human beings do things that we know are going to scare us half to death? Is it because we don’t get enough of this adrenalin producing excitement in our everyday lives?  Or is it because we want to prove something to ourselves?

Or is it just because we are foolish and think we won’t be as scared of something now as we used to be? Or suddenly like something we’ve never liked before.  A sort of test for ourselves,  a bit like deciding to try garlic again and discovering you like it after years of “knowing” you didn’t. Okay not a great analogy but you know what I mean !

Anyway to go back to what I did yesterday.

I’m on holiday at the moment. In Cumbria in the North West of England, the area known as the lake district for obvious reasons… lots of lakes. Where you have lakes you often have mountains; in this case the Cumbrian Mountains.

For whatever reason…the challenge?? ..because I thought it was sure to be very scenic and photogenic?  I decided to go on the shortcut from Ravenglass on the coast to Ambleside via the Hardknott and Wrynose passes. The shortcut!! it would only be a shortcut if you were going by helicopter!

The Hardknott pass in particular  is known to have stretches of road ( lots of them as it turns out !!) where the gradient is 1: 3 that means it drops/rises 1 unit  in each 3… in layman’s turn that is TERRIFYING … and is the maximum slope allowed for roads,

The photo below looks innocuous enough doesn’t it but look carefully…that zig zig line is the road I drove down, the 1:3 road. So this is taken between passes! You can see a tiny car at the far right edge of the photo approaching the bottom 3rd of the pass. You can also see that the road looks very wet.. It was,  there was a lot of water running down the road in several places. What it doesn’t show is how windy it was!

Now I have driven on scary roads before, notably in Madeira and Tobago, but nothing like this. This was something else. I have never been so scared in all my life and once you’re on that pass there’s no going back. You can’t decide half way up you don’t like it and want to go back down and anyway going down is even worse than going up!

But… I did get some photographs… no not when I was driving !!  There is a flat-ish bit in between the 2 passes and I could think of no better way to regain my sanity or at least enough of it to tackle the 2nd pass so I took some photographs and here are just 3 to give you an idea. ( some sheep ones will feature on Photomania I’m sure ! )

Fast moving clouds and shafts of light.





Apparently the Hardknott Pass shares the title of the Steepest Road in England – you can read about it here and both Hardknott and Wrynose passes are 393 m (1,289 ft) at the top. YIKES !

Now you might well ask why I didn’t read that before I drove the road. Believe me I have asked myself that many, many times and if I had read it I doubt very much that I would have attempted it but then I wouldn’t have taken these photos or had this tale to tell !!

I think I could have coped with that ! 😀 😀

This to my daughter – Katy if you come to the Lake District this is one thing you most definitely do NOT want to do !!

 I would NEVER do it again and I mean you couldn’t say, pay or do anything that would make me do it again….NO WAY !!  I think you are probably getting my drift 😀

Anyway that was Friday. Today -Saturday -I spent a glorious couple of hours of solitude on the limestone pavement at Farleton ( photos to come on Photomania at a later date) , photographed some more sheep,(ditto)  climbed up a steep precarious path to the Aira Force waterfall… it was hardly worth it !! and visited Ullswater lake ( it was raining by then) .

On the drive back to my apartment I called in to Cartmel for a piece of their renowned Sticky Toffee Pudding with ice-cream; a delicious (and well deserved !)  end to the day. I chose blood orange tea to accompany it… Yum Yum !


You can see more of my Cumbrian photos on Photomania from 21st Feb 2012 probably until I run out of them!!


Glad to be alive Saturday Girl saying goodbye until next week. I’ll be keeping my feet firmly on flatter ground until then !


22 comments on “Phew! I’m glad to still be alive today !

  1. Ki Vault says:

    Thanks for liking one of my Posts. I live near this part of Cumbria and I know the whole area very well. It is always interesting to hear what people think of the place. I have witnessed many interesting events around here including seeing a whole classic car club for Triumph Heralds get stuck on the way up Hardnott, which caused a bit of chaos but highly amusing. reversing down apparently is spooky! Most of all I thank you for your posts, I like your philosophy!

  2. […] have travelled with me to Venice, Sorrento, Ireland, Cumbria and Scotland. ( Gosh that many places ! […]

  3. what a memorable, exciting, and scary adventure you have! 🙂 crazy girl 🙂 hehe! Have a nice weekend Hellen and always be careful on your extreme adventures. 🙂

  4. These photos are beautiful. I know it was scary but the pictures seem to make it worth it!

  5. niasunset says:

    Beautiful light and shadows you captured, fascinated me. I visited your scary flood photographs, oh dear Helen, made me worry, be careful and be in safe… sometimes with our camera we can forget everything… Naturally I am not like that, much more controlling myself and be careful around me BUT with my camera I can forget everything… So, I just wanted to remind this, be careful. Thank you so much, have a nice week, with my love, nia

  6. So you’ve been there, done that and got the photos. And fabulous photos too. Not a journey for an elderly campervan then?

  7. totsymae1011 says:

    Glad you’re still with us.
    Beautiful photos. I know it’s cliche to say but I’m in awe of the colors. Superbly done.

  8. Marleen says:

    You sure had a memorable few days! Hope you enjoyed your break.
    1st clouds and shafts of light picture is just breathtakingly beautiful!!!
    Hope you won’t have nightmares about the frightening drive through the pass, but hey, you did it brave girl!!!

    • I enjoyed the break more than I can say Marleen. Not just all the photography and wonderful fresh ( wet) air but also whwere I’m staying. swimming and saunas everyday…Fab !
  • drawandshoot says:

    Well anything that ends with sticky toffee pudding and a good cup of tea must worth the journey! I am grinning as I read/write this, sensing your panic and relating to it.

    I wish I’d been with you actually!

    Great images you got and it doesn’t even look like the camera was shaking…”stripe of light across the mountains” is especially gorgeous.
    Looking forward to more pictures Helen.

    • hellenjc says:

      Well I can think of few things I’d enjoy more than a photographic expedition with you Karen.. I’m sure I would learn so much!! The photos werer taken using my tripod!! because the wind was so ferocious..even with the tripod the camera was still moving about ! Stripe across the mountains is my favourite and I had to wait ages to get it !

  • scillagrace says:

    We like to add the phrase “I almost died!” to some adventure at least once a day…it’s often way overblown, but in this case, I think you’d be perfectly entitled. So, what you’re saying is that I should bring Steve to do the driving and shoot for a warmer month? Got it. Your photos are far too beautiful to put me off wanting to go there, of course!!

  • Nigel says:

    I live in Ravenglass and I can assure you that no person in their right mind would drive over Hardknott in February.

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