No cloud to speak of so I knew it wasn't going to be a long outing, once the sun clears the haze of the horizon it gets too bright for the camera.
Although it was cold there was no mist, other than a tiny bit in the Tyne Valley so I thought I'd go up onto Winshields Crag, this is the highest point on Hadrian's Wall so the views in all directions are great.
Sheep and lambs were still sleeping as I started my climb, one of the gentler slopes to my mind.
The sky was beautiful, lots of colours as often happens pre-dawn.
On the way up Winshields, 5.15am on the last day of April
Looking over Steel Rigg and Crag Lough to Hotbank Farm
Looking over Hadrian's Wall to the east, the golden glow appears as the sun prepares to break the horizon
Sun is just peaking through to the left of Sewingshields Crag
Natures Golden Globe, with the Greenlee Lough and Broomlee Lough showing in the early morning light.
On the way back down as the sun becomes too bright for my camera, I love seeing the way it lights up the land and the colours it brings to the sky. If this was a painting it would seem too gaudy.
Bradley Farm tups enjoying the rest. These are the rams of the flock taking a well earned rest after fathering the lambs. They are only used for two years on any one flock as once their 'daughters' become stock ewe's they're sold on.
Back to Steel Rigg and the Blackfaced sheep of Hotbank Farm, these sheep jump over the dry stone walls, obviously thinking the grass is greener on the other side and, their tiny lambs soon learn to jump with them. The way the dry stone walls are constructed means there are hoof holds although their antics do help to keep our teams of local dry stone wallers busy.
I have to apologise for my lack of skills with Photoshop (I use Elements 9), no matter how hard I try I just can't do more than the very basic adjustments. My images would, no doubt, benefit from some gentle (and I stress gentle) HDR work but I'm just not able to do that.
I try to get the images right in camera, using ND grad filters but sometimes the extremes of contrast are just too much for the camera to cope with.
I hope by showing these images I can inspire a talented photographer to get out onto our beautiful crags and do them justice in the way they deserve.
As always the images used on the blog are copyright of Joan Thirlaway and cannot be used without written permission.
If you are planning a trip to Northumberland I urge you to get hold of the superb publication by Northumberland National Parks available as a download