Saturday, 11 March 2017

New Lake District painting page Rob Miller online Gallery

Sharp Edge Blencathra oil on canvas
1000 x 750 mm

This is a new piece of work on the wall at G!art Gallery in Windermere 1000x950mm  in oils on canvas. Sharp edge has to be my second favourite oplace in the Lake District Fells. Its a brilliant day out and makes an airy place to sketch and paint. (Not for the faint hearted or those worried about heights. Ive pasted below an excerpt from the British Mountaineering Club How to Scramble Sharo Edge here's a king to their page. LINK

Rob Miller 

Take on one of the Lake District’s most famous Grade 1 scrambles with our guide to tackling Sharp Edge.
It’s been called the Crib Goch of the Lake District - but does Sharp Edge have sufficient wow factor to stand up to its Snowdonian rival? Absolutely, says Mountain Training-qualified instructor Kate Ayres of Lakes-based guiding company Climb Scafell.
“What makes Sharp Edge special is its iconic look and position above Scales Tarn,” she adds. “And of course, like all the best scrambles, it finishes on a summit.”
Sharp Edge’s pulling power is boosted by its sheer visibility. The curve of the ridge confronts drivers as they speed down the A66 from Penrith, tapering temptingly towards the top of Blencathra. No keen scrambler can see that come-hither scramble from afar without feeling a heartbeat in their throat.
Then, too, the route is so alluringly accessible. You can park in a layby off the main road and be at its base in an hour. So what’s stopping you from taking on this Lakeland classic?

It’s harder than you think...

Yes, Sharp Edge has a Grade 1 rating in the scrambling guidebooks - but don’t let that lure you into taking it lightly.
“In all but perfect conditions, the ridge will feel harder than a mere Grade 1,” says Kate. “Slippery rock, exposure and commitment all combine to put it at the top end of its grade.” 
If you’re a relative newcomer to the scrambling game then leave this one for a good day. Rain and wind transform Sharp Edge from an adrenaline-pumping route that most hill walkers with a head for heights can tackle to a slippery, scaly beast of a scramble (it is composed of Skiddaw Slate, which quickly loses friction in the wet). The real problem area in bad weather is the ‘Bad Step’, a smooth slab before the small col that has claimed several lives. Kate advises using a rope to protect this section in the rain.
“The rock becomes very slippery when wet, so although only a Grade 1 scramble, if the rock is damp it will feel much harder,” she explains. “Being an exposed ridge it can also be affected by crosswinds. Calm and dry conditions are best for this one, so check the forecast before you go.”

…But don’t be put off

It has its risks, like every scramble, but Sharp Edge rewards those who dare to tackle it. “Go prepared for the challenges,” says Kate, “and you won’t be disappointed.”
Navigationally this is a straightforward prospect. The action begins at Scales Tarn, where a clear and well-trodden path leads directly up to the ridge. “Take to the rocky crest as soon as possible and stick to it as best you can,” Kate advises. “There is a choice of routes, all going to the same place, so take whatever you like the look of, but always staying close to or on the crest.”
The first major difficulty, she adds, is the Bad Step. “A very exposed section will present itself. This offers a handrail of rock but only a smooth, sloping slab for the feet, so can feel daunting. Rest assured it is only very short and leads to the comfort of a small col.”
After the col, the character of the scramble changes completely. “Until now the ridge has been fairly horizontal - more like a traverse than a climb. This now changes as the ground becomes steeper for the final ascent. Follow the well worn groove on the right for the most straightforward route to the summit.”
Watch out for loose rock on this final section, which is otherwise a reasonably straightforward scramble. 

Making a day of it

There are several spectacular routes down from Sharp Edge, but if you fancy some more scrambly action then head for Hall’s Fell Ridge. This exciting descent is officially a grade 1, but it shouldn’t tax the abilities of even the most cautious scrambler. The main challenges are the exposure and the slipperiness of the rock when wet.
Fancy a longer day out? Kate advises topping out on Atkinson Pike and following the broad ridge to Blencathra summit before joining the path that heads southwest to Blease Fell.
“Paths lead back to the valley and from here there are tracks leading along the bottom of the fell to Scales Farm,” she says. “For those looking for some wild landscapes, though, rather than head straight for Blencathra summit, from Atkinson Pike go exploring on Mungrisdale Common - it’s well worth the effort.”

Sharp Edge in the snow

It’s one of the best snowy days out in the Lake District, but Sharp Edge in full winter conditions is no easy prospect.
“My very first experience of the Lake District mountains was indeed Sharp Edge in winter,” Kate recalls. “With teachers from college a group of us students were led across this precipitous snow-plastered edge without crampons but thankfully with a rope! It felt scary but amazing at the same time.”
If you’ve penciled the ridge in for next winter then be aware that it’s a grade I/II winter climb and that you’ll need crampons, an ice axe and plenty of winter hill walking experience.

Friday, 10 March 2017

A painting of The Lake District Borrowdale Gates

Memories of autumn, this work was painted this last year its the Lakeland view that has to be the most classic. Looking up stream from The Keswick Launch Companies Jetty at The Lingholm Estate onto Derwentwater. At the top of the Lake are the stormy jaws of Borrowdale.  This painting is in oils on linen board its one of a number of studies that I have painted as resident artist at Lingholm. This original can be purchesed from G1 Gallery in Windermere or prints are available from myself. You can find out more about the Jaws of Borrowdale from the Nation Trust website Its an amazing place for a walk and the next stop on the Lake by steamer. One of my favourite painting trips to paint en plain air, always best to travel by boat sitting peacefully watching the scenery go by. Rob Miller

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

An old friend returns to our garden

IIt was wonderful to hear a quack and then see our old friend Mavis Mallard return to our home this morning at around 7am. It seems a life time since I last watched her depart down the lane with her 9 ducklings. This year she is accompanied by the same or another handsome fella? Whilst I was running happily to the garage to root out the Mallard food that I bought at Ranworth Broad last October, I thought how special this world is! All these living beings, their precious lives revolving through the seasons, interdependent and co existent on an ordered, inclusive 'everything spinning under the milky way. Hey ho there she goes. Here is a drawing of her..ain't she just the most lovely?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Painting of Helvellyns classic ridge Striding Edge by Rob Miller Resident artist Lingholm Estate.

Helvellyn, The Classic Ridges of Striding Edge

I painted this a couple of years ago, (the originals in a nice home in London where the owner admits to knowing fear on his walk over Striding Edge)  Striding Edge is one of the best ridges to sit on take time out to ponder your insignificance in the might of nature and be in awe of the sublime whilst you paint. Its a cold draughty place hard on the bottom and tiring to lug painting gear up a steepening slope. I have to admit mid week in the off season,  it is a lonely place where the solitary walker and painter knows the consequence of a slip on the wet smooth rock. This work is in oil on a 1 metre x 75 canvas. The pochade paintings and sketches that I produced were a great deal smaller though heavy I could have done with my old sheepdog Ben carrying  a load for me..he used to love running this place sumer or winter.

Heres an exert that I've cut and pasted from Walk Lakes which is  great web site.
"There are many fine ways to climb Helvellyn but an ascent via Striding Edge has to be considered the most spectacular of all. This narrow ridge has a reputation of being scary and difficult. Although anyone who has done a few Wainwright Fells will have already met similar individual obstacles, such as a short down climb, or a scramble up over a boulder here on Striding Edge these are all put together with the delight, or terror, of standing on a narrow walkway with valleys falling away to either side. You can avoid some, or most difficulties by using bypass paths below the crest however they are on arguably more exposed ground with their own problems. One such bypass ends in a loose and steep gully which is quite nasty. At the end of the ridge there is a short down climb of around 7m which can be avoided by descending to the left a short way to a mid-level path, and then down an easier gully to the lower path. After climbing the last rocky tower there is a steep loose stony path to the top.
Swirral Edge is often disregarded as just more of the same. However, it isn't, it has qualities of its own. In descent, it starts with a loose stony drop onto a short steep ridge of jumbled boulders which often require a bit of down-scrambling. A loose and nasty gully going off to the left, into Keppel Cove, is best avoided. Slips are very easy in descent.
A first crossing of Striding Edge and Swirral Edge is best undertaken in summer when the rock is dry and the wind gentle. A moderate breeze is good to keep you cool, but windy can easily knock you off, or unbalance you, and that will have consequences. You want to enjoy the day, right?!
To reinforce the seriousness of these ridges, near the start of Striding Edge is the Dixon memorial. A small but conspicuous plaque reads "In memory of Robert Dixon of Rooking, Patterdale who was killed on this spot on the 27th day of November 1858 following the Patterdale Foxhounds". Once safely across, at the far end of the ridge is the memorial stone to painter Charles Gough which is worth pausing to read. Today people still fall sustaining serious or fatal injuries.
Red Tarn, which sits between the edges and will be seen from many aspects, is home to a small population of the Schelly which is a rare freshwater white fish which is only found in a few tarns in the Lake District and the Arctic."