Winter on the Dark Peaks- Higger & Over Owler Tor

While briefly back in Sheffield with my car, I made a couple of trips out into the Peaks to make the most of the changeable, but occasionally sunny, weather. On Thursday, on a bit of a last minute whim, I decided to head out with the ambition of shooting the millstones that stand below Stanage Edge at sunset. However, after taking a wrong turn at last minute, and seeing that the sun wasn’t going to be around for much longer, I parked my car and headed for the closest heap of rock that I could find, which turned out to be Higger Tor.

Higger Tor Dark Peak District Nikon D7100 black and white

As soon as I attempted to open my car door I realised just how strong the wind was; it was occasionally a struggle to stay up right, never mind take photos, making this shoot a definite challenge. The clouds were moving fast, and the strong winds and occasional rain was making the whole experience a bit tiring, having to take breaks to regain composure and work out where to go next. The sky was full of different clouds, some dark and brooding, some bright and fluffy, lit by the setting sun.

Higger Tor Dark Peak District Nikon D7100

The sun itself only briefly came out and was soon smothered by distant clouds, leaving for a more subdued sunset, but this dramatic scene of stormy clouds and rays of light made this rather rushed trip worthwhile!Higger Tor Dark Peak District Nikon D7100 sunset golden hour


The next day, I was ready to be a bit more organised! I spent the morning looking for locations, and decided to stick to the dark peaks area, only a 30 minute drive from Sheffield, and headed to Over Owler Tor. Parking up in Surprise View car park, after discovering that the parking meter was broken (winning), I was immediately greeted by a stand of silver birch trees. Silver birch I think are safely my favourite tree, all year round they seem so photogenic, with their patterned bark and purple tinged twigs.

silver birch tree wood path winter nikon d7100 billy clapham

The sky was looking promising with patchy heavy clouds that weren’t travelling as fast as they were the day before at Higger. I took a few shots of the various millstone grit formations that lay on the southern end of Over Owler Tor, willing the sun to begin showing its face, which it did briefly!

over owler tor nikon d7100

over owler tor sunset

Millstone over owler tor

millstone grit over owler tor

Most of the heather was on the side of brown, but some fresh shoots of green could be seen shooting up over some of lichen encrusted rocks.

heather new growth millstone grit rock

Heading further up the path past Mother Cap, I came to the the prominent “edge” of rock on Over Owler Tor. I’d never been to the location, but I did really like it, definitely worth a revisit! The light was still holding off from shining on me, but it began peaking out on the horizon, lighting stanage edge in the distance.

Over Owler Tor

hope valley over owler tor sunset golden hour nikon d7100

light clouds shadow fields peak district hope valley

I came across a composition I was quite happy with and I noticed that the suns rays were getting closer and closer, so I simply waited until it hit… little did I realise that when it did hit, a bit of my own shadow was in the shot! Nothing a little photoshop couldn’t handle…

peak district golden hour sunset patchwork winter

The sun only lit up Over Owler Tor for just that moment, then disappeared again not to return. But the light was still dancing on Stanage Edge, so I continued to shoot until it also disappeared.

golden light sunset stanage edge

over owler tor dark peak sunset landscape d7100 nikon

light stanage edge peak district over owler tor

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