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Lake District Mountain Landscape


Lake District  Mountain Landscape

Written by: Alastair Lee

Published by: Vertebrate Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-910240-18-2

Reviewed by: Steve Crowe


Lake District Mountain Landscape takes you on a magical journey around the high tops of the English Lake District with filmmaker and photographer Alistair Lee. These are predominantly mountain landscapes but Alistair's rock climbing heritage shines throughout while Dave Birkett and other climbers serve to add scale and spectacle to this glorious Lakeland Landscape. The book is sprinkled with shots of Dave on many of his hardest and most dangerous rock climbs and yet it is always the spectacular situation that dominates the images. While some other books may be thought to be pretty beyond belief, Alistair has captured a Lakeland Landscape with a certain realism that I recognise. It makes me feel like I am up there again, a chilly breeze on my back and perhaps a drop of rain on my shoulder. Dave behind me coiling the ropes as we prepare for our weary descent into the gloom at the end of another magical day.


New Perspective.

Throughout the first chapter Alastair insists that we should all enjoy the high Mountain Landscapes from a new perspective however the stunning view from Chapel Stile spread across pages 26-27 shows that every rule can be bent with a little imagination. Another special shot is the moonlight landscape found illuminating pages 30-31. So you won't find many cliched lakeside views looking up at the mountains, rather Alastair presents a book filled with 360 degree vistas from the very tops of the highest mountains.


Hidden Landscapes.

Alistair explains his secret to capturing so many stunning views in an excellent light is all down to timing. He is often seen heavy laden and toiling against the flow, setting off up onto the mountain tops when everyone else is homeward bound. Over the last 5000 years man has reworked the basic form of the Lake District into "one of the most distinctive and clearly recognisable landscapes in the world". It has taken Alistair five years to "decipher the code behind the landscape" and present it here for you to enjoy. I found the tales of prehistoric farming and an ancient industrialised Lakeland landscape to be enthralling.   


Celebration of Mountain Craft.

Lakeland is often referred to as the birthplace of rock climbing and in this chapter Alastair has placed some of the hardest and boldest rock climbs ever recorded in these mountains into perspective within the landscape. It was difficult to pick out just one but my personal favourite is on page 62, it shows Dave Birkett climbing Nowt but a fleein thing on the remote Cam Crag situated high above Wast Water.


Alpine Window

The winter weather adds a fresh dimension as it transforms and highlights features on the fells. Alistair continues the theme from the previous chapter and shows climbers confronting the fierce challenges that winter brings to the mountainsides. The image of Hellvelyn on pages 138-139 is instantly recognisable as the kind of brooding day that is often experienced within this winter wonderland.


Peaks in Sketch

This final chapter is a sort of unique visual index or reference which helps identify all the mountain tops that are seen in the views captured.


The loose binding combined with the large landscape format allows you to really appreciate all the stunning double page spreads of amazing cloud inversions that litter the pages of this colourful book. Even the locals press at the Westmoorland Gazette were impressed "Jaw droppingly stunning views.. in this breathtaking book. No one leafing through this book of inspirational images can fail to be impressed by the mood and majesty that Lee has managed to capture". So all in all this stunning photographic record finally explains Alistair's many early mornings and late night exploits and the informative text is littered with the humour that we have come to expect from his many excellent films!


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