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Rutland Water is situated on the A606, just east of Oakham, Rutland. Rutland is the smallest county in Britain with two towns and 53 villages in it's 150 square miles. It lost its county status in 1974 to become a district of Leicestershire but after a persistent fight by it's loyal residents, (of which I was one from 1985 to 1997) it regained county status, amid much rejoicing, in 1995. Phew, what a night that was!
Rutland Water, at more than 3,000 acres, is the largest man-made reservoir in Europe. There is a 350 acre nature reserve at the western end where there are about 250 species of birds and in winter, about 20,000 wildfowl.
In 2001, near Rutland Water, a pair of Ospreys reared young. These were the first Ospreys to be bred in England for about 150 years.
One of the most enduring symbols of Rutland is the former church of St. Matthews at Normanton on the eastern edge of the water. This church had to be shored up with concrete to survive the flooding in 1974 that created the reservoir. It's distinctive tower and portico emerging above the waterline are one of the best known land marks in the county.
During my twelve years as a resident of Langham, a small village two miles from the reservoir, I visited the area many times and in many different weather conditions. My most memorable was one bitter cold February morning about 8.00 am. The orange sun was just peeping over the horizon and shone through the surrounding trees, casting a golden light onto the yellow brickwork of the church. Any later and the sun would have been too bright, burning out any remaining colour.
I desperately wanted a shot of the church with a slight angle on the tower, giving it some depth and the only way to get this was to wade into the icy cold water. So armed with my tripod, camera and donned in a pair of waders (which I soon found out were not long enough!) I slowly made my way into the water to take up my position. With the water level at near waist level, I took several shots between shivers. I don't recommend this method to anyone but it goes to prove that in landscape photography, like anything else, you only get out what you put in.
If you wish, you can hire push bikes of all sizes to cater for families and cycle around the reservoir though wooded picnic areas and open countryside on the purpose made cycle track.
There are also various public houses close to the area offering bar and restaurant meals for those who want to make a day of it.
Well, that's Rutland Water, so if, on your travels, you find yourself in the area, drop in and have a look round but what ever you do...don't forget your camera.
Wildlife photographers may wish to visit The Nature Reserve Website
To see more of Gerrys Photography visit www.creativeeye.me.uk