Big Peaks, Even Bigger 'Likes'

Five Snowy UK Summits Your Instagram Feed Needs This Winter

Adventure

Low light, lens-wrecking rain, battery-draining temperatures: on paper, the winter is a terrible time to lug your camera to the top of a hill.

But ask an adventure photographer, and they’ll tell you the exact opposite: the snow-capped hills, the dramatic sunrises, and the blood-pumping hikes make it an exhilarating and excellent season to fill your Instagram with ‘bangers’.

To prove it, we asked five of our favourite Insta-explorers to tell us the UK peaks that look even better in the cold, and that you should be capturing this winter. 

 

Pen-Y-Fan, Brecon Beacons

By Jake Baggaley

“I love this summit, not only for the stunning views across the Brecon Beacons, but because it’s a surprisingly enjoyable and unexpectedly easy hike up meaning you can take extra and heavier kit with you to make the most of the epic winter light. On this trip, we had the mountain all to ourselves – a stark contrast to the crowds that gather on it on a pleasant summer’s day. Just before we hit the top, I couldn’t resist getting a few shots along the iconic ridge. The snow contrasting with the blue skies, and the cloud stretching into the distance, made it feel more like The Alps than Wales. Pure photographic gold.”

Top winter photo tip: “Always be ready to go. My closest mountains are four hours away, and only get blessed with snow a few days a year, so I need to be set to run out the door as soon as the conditions are right. And when those conditions mean blue skies and fresh snow, incredible photography becomes easy.”

Pen-Y-Fan, Brecon Beacons. Photography by Jake Baggaley

 

Helvellyn, Lake District

By Tom Kahler

“Helvellyn is a really interesting one to summit and photograph - the multiple routes keep things brilliantly challenging. If you’re lucky enough to catch a sunset up there though, you’re in Instagram Gold territory. That becomes even truer in the winter, when there are far fewer people around, and the snow and cold light adding to the ‘wilderness’ and ‘out there’ aesthetic. Hiking up or down Helvellyn in the snow with nothing but moonlight and a headtorch has to be one of the best, most peaceful experiences. On this trip in particular, we didn’t get the conditions we hoped for, but the journey was absolutely epic.”

Top winter photo tip: “Knowledge and kit is king, even more so in winter. If you don’t have the right equipment or knowledge to get to your summit safely, you’re not getting to the top, let alone getting your shot. Preparedness in these two areas is so important in getting to the spot that’ll make your photo stand out.”

Helvellyn, Lake District. Photography by Tom Kahler

Durdle Door, Dorset

By Arran Witheford

“Sure, it’s not a ‘summit’ in the traditional sense, but Durdle Door is a hugely popular spot for photographers. Personally, I’ve only ever seen snow there twice, so the winter brings some incredibly rad and rare photo opportunities, not least for the crazy shore breaks. You’ve got to be careful, though: when I took this photo in February 2018, I remember how scary the drive was. You couldn’t see any road signs, and there was no evidence of any other car braving the roads that day. We had to be really cautious, but it was well worth it.”

Top winter photo tip: “In the winter, planning is everything.”

Durdle Door, Dorset. Photography by Arran Witheford

 

Blencathra, Lake District

By Daryl Scott Walker

“It’s a fairly straightforward summit to bag, which makes the incredible views across Derwent Water pretty for accessible for all. For the more adventurous, though, there’s the option of the Sharp Edge route, with its gruelling but great scramble to the top, especially in the snow. It’s the perfect peak to hit in the winter – not only can you expect little to no people on the mountain with you, but I find the sun to be in the most perfect position at that time of year, as it lights up the valley and helps to provide a contrast to the black tarn and white landscape unfolding in front of you.”

Top winter photo tip: “As the mornings are longer in the winter, we’re afforded a later start for the hike up. The downside is that you’ll likely be heading out in unfavourable conditions, so invest in some proper weather-beating kit. When you see the sun break through the heavy cloud, it’ll be worth it.”

Blencathra, Lake District. Photography by Daryl Scott Walker

Sgurr Na Stri, Isle of Skye

By Sarah Afiqah Rodgers

“At the top you’ll find one of the most beautiful 360-degree views ever, with Scottish mainland peaks, isles of Mull and Rum and Loch Coruisk to enjoy. And it’s always an adventure getting there. To get this shot in December 2018 we started the hike quite late and immediately got our feet wet while crossing two rivers, which made the whole way up quite slippy. When we got to the top we were so stoked with the views – the winter brings snow-capped peaks that you’ll never forget – but soon the night caught up with us and we had to hike back, and cross those rivers again, in the dark. We got back, soaking wet and exhausted, but it was totally worth it.”

Top winter photo tip: “Don’t let the cold and the wet deter you from getting out and exploring.”

 

 

Sgurr Na Stri, Isle of Skye. Photography by Sarah Afigah Rodgers