Manchester: 3.30am, 29th August 2016 One final weather forecast and radar cloud coverage check. The signs were there for a reasonable sunrise and fog was predicted in the valleys of the Peak District. Sunrise is at 6.03am and the hour drive toward Mam Tor for me is automatic. I’ve photographed from Mam Tor many times but this morning I had a particular shot of the Hope Cement works in mind. As I drove below Rushup Edge to park below Mam Nick at 5am it was looking promising. The short panting hike up to Mam Tor’s summit soon revealed a creeping fog inversion in the valley below, mirrored by the clouds above, and during this predawn blue hour the lights of the cement works and the village of Castleton glowed pink through the grey mist. Tripod out, compose, focus and expose; happiness.
In the east, there was a clear gap in the horizon and the rising sun was still hidden but would soon, hopefully, produce beautiful light.
Should I stay, or should I go?
I decided to make a gamble and head for another of the Peak’s best sunrise locations, Curbar Edge, hoping for mist flowing over this gritstone edge as the sun rose.
A 20-minute drive across the Hope Valley and up the narrow road to Curbar gap found me alone at the Clodhall Lane car park.
During the short walk to the top of Curbar my heart was racing and my mind was full of excitement, the mists were flowing in the valley below.
But then, to my surprise, the weather changed, it had started to rain and just as the sun started to rise something rather spectacular occurred, a rainbow appeared over the mist in the Derwent valley below.
No words could describe my joy and feelings as I composed and pressed the shutter to capture this amazing spectacle of mist, rain and sunlight. I knew I had witnessed a very rare occurrence, a morning that will never leave me.
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Mam Tor and Curbar are both featured, along with 150 other Peak District locations in the forthcoming Photographing The Peak District by Chris Gilbert and Mick Ryan available at the beginning of August.
RRP is £27.95, but until publication you can order signed copies with free shipping in the UK for £20.
Read more about the Peak District in this area article.
There are four sample viewpoints from Photographing The Peak District here.