Lake District Seasons: Volume 1 – Winter by Rob Parsons (Little Book Co, £9.99)

Rob Parsons would have people who meet him on the fells believe that he was “just a walker with a camera”.

In fact he’s been a keen walker in the countryside since the days when he grew up in Essex.

Landscape photography has been a passion with him since those early days and through later years when he lived in Cornwall.

Since 2017, he has been living in the Eden Valley. In Cumbria he finds himself in the landscape he loves most of all. And he’s been photographing that landscape with an enthusiasm and passion few can equal.

The result is his first book of photographs, Lake District Seasons: Volume 1 – Winter.

One photograph of the Coniston Range viewed from Fairfield seems almost abstract with the bluey white lines of the mountains emerging from grey swirling clouds. Another, taken on one of those magical winter days when the air is still and there is a remarkable clarity, offers a complete contrast, showing the greens and browns of Hartsop Fell perfectly mirrored in the deep blue of Brothers Water.

An equally magical one shows the flat saddle of Blencathra from Eamont Bridge. Rob has taken the picture just as the sun was setting. The mountains and some nearby trees are in black silhouette and the sky is burnished orange and yellow with the last of the sun.

But it is the snow on the fells that provides most of the winter images.

One, taken on a bitterly cold November day on Nethermost Pike, looks like it might be a scene in the Arctic, with strange rocks like obelisks emerging out of the spindrift snow.

One early morning after a fresh fall of snow, Rob’s camera captured a transformed landscape around Angle Tarn. The grassy tussocks had been transformed into dimpled domes by a heavy fall on snow in the night.

A particularly fine photograph shows a small walker making his way through the heavy snow on the way to Blease Fell. The edges of the fells are sharp and clear in the low lying sun.

There are pictures without snow.

There’s a beautiful image of a sunset on the Lowther Estate with burning red clouds of the sunset beneath a heavy clouded sky. Another picture captures the weight of plunging water as Riggindale Beck plunges over the rocks in a sudden patch of sun on a windy February day.

“And finally,” Rob writes as he presents the last of his 50 photographs, “a rare photo of myself doing what I love best, standing on a mountain top and staring at the view.” And there he is in silhouette, standing on the top of Slight Side, his 214th Wainwright.

Rob would not claim he’s a great photographer from a technical point of view, but these photographs convey a passion for getting out on the fells on those crisp, cold winter days.

Steve Matthews
Bookends, Carlisle and Keswick