top of page

Brotherswater copse

Group of trees reflecting in Brotherswat

Rolling Mists Over Hartsopp.

A lovely calm morning at Brotherswater not long after sunrise as morning mists roll over the Lakeland fells.

Around 3 miles South of Ullswater lies Brotherswater; a small body of water in the Hartsopp Valley. There are a few locations worthy of shooting around the lake itself however, I tend to favour this particular location over the others. On the Northern shoreline, located at the mouth of Goldrill Beck, a small group of trees can be found on the edge of a small outcrop of land. Behind this set of trees is a prominent view of Hartsopp Dodd which serves as a solid backdrop; giving plenty of compositional potential! To the left of the island, a large stretch of reeds run alongside the river bed. Throughout the seasons, the appearance of the reeds can be very changeable which can add some great foreground interest to your images! Leaving the river and following the shoreline of the lake for a short distance, you will find more areas of interest. Depending on the water levels, a selection of rocks can be found poking out of the water. You lose the view of the trees but will still have the vista views of Hartsopp Dodd. This area of interest tends to work well on calm mornings with reflections but can also look great in the Winter months if the lake freezes over! 

When To Shoot.

Predominantly, Brotherswater is a sunrise location. If you're shooting the copse, you'll be facing a slightly South-East direction with the sun rising to the left of frame. In the Summer months, the sun will rise to the left of your shoulder, if you're facing the direction shown in the image above. In the Winter months, the sun will rise behind Hartsopp Dodd. Given you have the right cloud cover, this can work well for colourful sunrises! Just bear in mind that you won’t get any kind of side light with this view in Winter. It's fair to say that sunrises can work here at any time of year. However, you should consider the kind of image you're looking for; if you're looking for side light illuminating the reeds in the foreground, you're better off in the time of year where the sun will rise more over your left shoulder (April/May or September/October). If you're not interested in a light show and would rather have skyfire clouds, the Winter months are going to work more in your favour.


Be on the lookout for nights with clear skies, low winds and high humidities as you could be in with the chance of a bit of mist!

Shooting Advice

One of the most important aspects to consider at this location will be your focal length. It’s always desirable, especially on location to jump straight into using ultra wide focal lengths. There’s quite a lot to take in here, so naturally you will be inclined to go big and wide! Now if you are lucky enough to have an amazing sky in front of you, a wider focal length may actually work to your advantage. The only thing to remember here, is that when using wide focal lengths, objects in the distance will appear smaller. Going too wide may result in taking away attention from the copse itself so paying attention to how wide you go will more than likely pay off in the long run! I’ve spent a few mornings here under conditions with poor visibility and it’s in these instances that I would highly recommend using tighter focal lengths. During the late Summer months and into early Autumn, the trees can really take on a characteristic look. Combining this with the fells in the background and a longer focal length may produce images of more unique value!

Rocks in foreground at Brotherswater.

Long exposure of Hartsopp Dodd with rocks.

Late morning light on Hartsopp Dodd with rocks a long the shoreline of Brotherswater.

Another useful tip would be regarding reflections when shooting the reeds. They do sure look great, especially on a misty morning when the morning light catches them but it’s important to pay attention to your angle of view. If it’s your first time on location, you’ll probably notice that from eye level, you can’t really see much of Hartsop reflecting in the river. Be sure to crouch down low and the reflections will come right into sight! 


Oak Tree In The Mist.

A misty morning with some lovely light at Brotherswater.


Mist Clearing.

A view of Hartsopp Dodd moments after the mist had cleared.


Fallen Tree

Looking in the other direction towards a fallen tree with an Oak tree in the background just coming through the mist.

Be sure to look around in other directions, especially on those beautiful misty mornings. There's compositions to be had all over the place! Try using a telephoto lens concentrating on the trees in the fields or maybe even the agricultural stone walls that run through them. As the sun comes over the surrounding hills in the Summer months, the light here is absolutly fantastic! 


Misty Reflections..

Misty reflections in the river on a calm Summer morning.

Getting Here

Quite an easy location to get to really. There's a reasonably sized car park with extra lay-by spaces a short walk from the lake. You'll find the car park on your left coming from Kirkstone Pass not long after you pass the small road sign for Hartsopp. Once parked up, go through the gate that leads left onto the lakeside path, following the river and you'll find yourself at the Copse after around 5 minutes! 

Nearest post code for car park: CA11 0NZ

Screenshot 2020-10-22 at 21.51.32.jpg
bottom of page