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Capturing the sunrise at Mam Tor in the Peak District

I took a poll to see if I should go out and try and get a repeat of my previous visit sunrise at Winnats Pass in the Peak District.

I got up at 3am as it’s an hours drive to get there, loaded the van and set off. I was hoping for a cloud inversion but after reading the weather forecast I was not getting my hopes up.

A nice quiet drive with the sky starting to glow brighter all the way there. I noticed along the way that there was a lot of thick clound on the horizon and figured that Winnats Pass would be no good for the sunrise so I soon got parked up at Mam Nick car park and started the trek up to the top…got half way and then realised I left my tripod in the van!

It was the first time I’d reached the top of Mam Tor. I normally only go half way up as I go there to capture sunsets so it made a change to go up further…I had no idea how hard the climb is for someone as unfit as me but the reward of the view at the top is so worth it.

I was greeted by another photographer who’d been there since 3am and had a good vantage spot. He tried to engage in conversation with me but I had to tell him to wait while I got my breath back and stop my heart from trying to escape through my chest. Once settled I got the camera set up and waited for the sun to rise. We were then  joined by a few more photographers so it became quite busy at the top and suddenly in all that wide open area, space became precious.

Sunrise at Mam Tor

Sunrise at Mam Tor ©Graeme Simpson

Sunrise broke a little later due to the large cloud bank on the horizon but it still didn’t fail to disappoint! When it lit up the sky was on fire instantly and the low cloud began to glow beautifully.

All you could hear was the sound of sheep in the distance and the feverish clicking of cameras trying to get that one special shot…myself included.

After a while we were joined by a handful of drunk lads which put us on edge with all our gear so we quickly dispersed to find new photo opportunities. It had become very hazy on the hills as the mist was being moved around by the ever warming air.

I chose a new spot to set up, one that would hopefully be bathed in light and cast long shadows over the hills but the haze seemed to get thicker and thicker and I was just waiting for small gaps to get a few shots off.

A Mam Tor selfie

A Mam Tor selfie ©Graeme Simpson

After I’d got all I wanted up here I wandered off back to the van and got the Phantom up in the air for a bit of a different viewpoint. It’s always been too windy to fly when I’ve visited so I wasn’t going waste this chance.

The landscape was amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it before, utterly magical just floating around up there. I was conscious of the buzzing noise for other people up on the Tor so I tried to stay far away but used the moment to get a view “Point of Interest” video shots and huge panoramic photo.

mam tor panoramic

Mam Tor panoramic ©Graeme Simpson – click for larger version

I’ve had the Peak District on my doorstep for years and I’ve never really explored it…this will change now. I’m very much a coastal person, give me a rolling wave and jagged cliff any day but I seem to be having an affair with the inland beauty of the Peak District.

Where to go next? If you have any suggestions or ideas then drop me a message as I’d love to have new places to visit for more photography.

All the above photos and more are available to buy as digital downloads here

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