The highest area of upland fells in England outside of the Lake District is made up of Cross Fell, Great Dun Fell and Little Dun Fell. At 893m above sea level, Cross Fell is also reputed to be the coldest place in England. If you view the statistics from the weather station on nearby Great Dun Fell (849m), you can see why. This is my favourite part of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I spend a lot of my time up here, especially during the winter months when the landscape is at its best. It is not an easy place to photograph, but when conditions are right, I find it most rewarding. The weather is frequently quite severe, so it is necessary to be well prepared and to expect the unexpected. After all, this area is the home of Britain's only named wind (Helm Wind) and the interesting cloud formation (Helm Bar) which can often be seen above the tops when the Helm is blowing.
In fact, low cloud, rain, sleet, snow, wind, and poor visibility are often present in abundance - fortunately not all at the same time - but these represent major challenges for the photographer. It is worth noting that when humidity levels are low, and the air is clear, this can be a great place for astrophotography. For anyone interested in history, there are also vestiges of the past to explore in the form of the now-defunct mining industries which once flourished in the area.
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