A mad dash for the mist – A Peak District Sunrise

Saturday morning I headed out for sunrise in the Peak District. I had planned on going to Chrome and Parkhouse Hill which is probably my favorite place in the Peak District. I had never shot this at sunrise before and knew my usual parking spot in Hollingsclough would be a long and tricky walk in the dark. I decided to get up early enough to allow for this walk but would see if I could be cheeky enough to park between the two hills to make life a little easier.

However, it was quickly evident from the no parking sign when you enter and the boggy grass this was going to be a no go. At this point the sunrise looked promising, with clear skies but there was no mist.  So I decided it would be best to park at Hollinsclough afterall, however on driving to Hollingclough I could see in the Dove Valley below High Wheeldon that there was a build up of mist there. Mist always excites me, for photography it is something that just seems to add an extra dimension and gets any photographer excited.

At this point I had to make a choice, abandon my Chrome and Parkhouse Sunrise and find somewhere else or stick with my original plans. I was thinking to go up High Wheeldon (a real leg burner that requires time!), shoot from the road below High Wheeldon  or go somewhere else. After some careful consideration I broke a golden rule of deciding on a location and decided to change.

I actually ended up on going to the near by Ramshaw Rocks, the area is quite prone to mist, especially developing in between Ramshaw and the Roaches. It seemed like a good choice for an area I know intimately. However, it was a poor choice, on arriving the area was thick in mist that was very high. I waited around a small while to see if it would shift but to no avail.

Now starting to panic, I once again decided to have a quick explore knowing my time before sunrise was quickly coming to an end. I drove along the A53 towards Buxton and it was evident the mist had built up and got a lot higher with small breaks in between – I drove to above Branside which has a nice view above Chrome Hill but visibility was virtually zero.

At this point, it was evident wherever we stood within this area was going to be thick in mist and I started feeling better about ditching Chrome and Parkhouse Hill, but feeling like it was an early rise for nothing. Oh well I thought and decided to give Ramshaw Rocks one last shot in case the mist did shift, you don’t know if you don’t try!

Fortunately, having set out early I still had about 30 mins before the sun would rise so I was on location and up the hill in plenty of time. Unfortunately, the mist did not shift and about 20 mins after sunrise I decided to give up the ghost.

At the car, still thick in it I was planning to go home but would you believe it, just 50m below the summit of Ramshaw When driving out you could see Leek, Morridge Moor and breaks in the mist. Time to have a drive around!

I went to Blake Mere, which is across from Ramshaw Rocks up on Morridge Moor. It was fantastic up there, not really a morning location but you could see mist swirling around with bright golden light lighting up the landscape. The white peak clearly visible was under thick blankets of mist.

Anyway, I shot a couple of shots and while it’s not a picture with lots of features in I do quite like the light and detail in it:

Morridge Moor - Peak District

Morridge Moor – Peak District

After this it was time to head home, but I decided it would be good to go back past High Wheeldon to see if any of the low lying mist was still around. Which it was, time to park up and jump out the car and do some shooting!

Dove Valley from Cwodicote - Peak District

Dove Valley from Cwodicote – Peak District

Dove Valley Mist - Peak District

Dove Valley Mist – Peak District


I was very pleased in the end with the results, especially to say they were from the side of the road. I’d actually always wanted a nice shot of the mist in the White Peak because the trees are usually native British and there are the lovely rolling green fields. Mist is also something I usually tend to not be lucky with and actually 5 minutes later after the last two shots it had pretty much burnt off.

So a frantic, frustrating morning breaking some golden rules actually yielded a good result.

By | 2016-11-02T23:14:42+00:00 October 24th, 2012|Peak District, Peak District Photography|7 Comments


  1. Ped October 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Ah… I couldn’t get out this weekend, far to much beer to consume!! but I went to Hollinsclough on Friday afternoon and Monday for sunrise, after the fantastic weekend weather. It was fogged in on Monday and I drove around for a while also but went more towards Earl Sterndale. The mist didn’t lift and it was so eerie and disappointing. Wife is back at work now all week and the kids break up on Friday so that’s me for a few weeks, but I do love it around Hollinsclough area as well.

    • James Grant October 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      Thats unfortunate, beer sometimes does take precedence though! Hope you have better luck next time and its not too far for you!

  2. Andy Keeble October 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    The images of Dove Valley are excellent and I love the brooding sky in the first.

    This is the time of year that finds us being let down by the weather. You were so lucky to get these keepers as I have lost count of the times I’ve come home empty handed this year.

    Keep up the great work!


    • James Grant October 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm - Reply

      Thanks Andy.

      I think perciverence is the key, there’s also many times I’ve been out this year and not come back with anything. It’s been a tough year (especially Jan-Feb, it seemed to be forever grey and windy).

      Hopefully it’s going to improve with a lot more low lying mist to come!



  3. Andy Yu October 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    cracking story, and nice blog entry here matey

  4. Ped October 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Oh im so glad some of you come home with nothing, I was starting to think I was doing something wrong 🙂

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