Getting up at 4.40am at the moment and making a decision whether or not to go out, it's actually a hard call to make as cloud comes and goes quickly so I can get up and get out and before I've got the car off the drive things have changed completely.
Still you have to be out there to get a photograph and at least I'm lucky that I don't have hours to drive to my viewpoints.
Headed off to Steel Rigg a few mornings ago, the weather people kept promising a dramatic sunrise with the volcanic ash, the cloud was patchy so I had high hopes.
Steel Rigg (NY749677)
No one around, just me and the sheep with their lambs.
I stood looking at the view and watching a patch of cloud build to my left but moving quite quickly to the right.
There's a group of trees near the top of Hotbank Crag and I noticed a light shining through the trees.
My first thought was that another photographer was up there with a red torch, well it was early and I was half asleep, but then I realised it was the sun rising.
And rise it did straight into the patch of thickening cloud, so it goes.
I did get some photographs to share with you, but not the fiery gem I was hoping for.
Steel Rigg (NY752675)
Sunset is another hit and miss afair but it's not as difficult to motivate myself to go out during the evening.
A trip to Walltown is easy and I can be there in minutes. I love wandering about up there, the views are spectacular, right across to Criffel on the Scottish Solway coast, looking over the plain that takes you past Longbyre and Gilsland following the route that Hadrian's Wall takes to the sea.
From Walltown to the sea (NY672662)
While I was up there a family came to enjoy the sunset, of course the first thing they did was stand on the Wall.
I got chatting and asked them why, they told me it felt like they were walking in the footsteps of the Romans.
Maybe a viewing platform over the Wall, would solve the problem, then I'd complain it was ruining my views of course.
Walltown sunset (NY672662)
There's work ongoing to preserve the Wall, it's done using lime mortar exactly as would have been used in Roman times.
It takes much longer to 'set' and so is covered with tarpaulins, not pretty but necessary.
Heritage Consolidation Ltd, a local company, have been restoring this stretch at Walltown, plus they've cleared out the grass growing on the footings of the Wall and you can see from my photograph how much better that looks.
Night before last I picked up my camera and headed off to Housesteads, arriving just as everyone else was leaving. I wanted to get the criss cross bit of the Wall with the lowering sunlight catching the Wall stones.
I'd left home with clear blue skies and arrived to find cloud covering the sun.
Rang home and TT told me it was still clear to the west.
What to do?
Should I stay, or head back west, midges were biting but I could see a clear patch under the cloud.
I decided to wait until the sun dropped below the cloud.
The sun was much further over than I had anticipated so if I missed my photograph tonight it would be another 11 months before I got another chance.
In this shot I'm standing up on the only bit of the Wall that you are allowed to walk on, I would have liked to be to the north side of the Wall but couldn't see any way that I could safely get there, oh for the agility of a gazelle.
After 30 minutes the sun broke through and hit the scene in front of me exactly where I wanted it to, for once patience paid off.
Housestead Crag (NY786687)
Before the sun disappeared completely I set off back down the hill, lambs were gamboling, and seemed to be having such fun, don't know why they have such a burst of energy as the sun sets, but it's lovely to see.
Good weekend is forecast - hope you enjoy it.
Catch you later.