on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Life on the Ullswater Steamers

Uncovering New and Unknown Gems

Mark Littlejohn

Mark Littlejohn is a landscape photographer based on the edge of the English Lake District. He specialises in moody, atmospheric early morning conditions and offers bespoke one-to-one workshops and Lakeland tours.


I retired from the Police in late 2011, having completed 30 years of service. The last decade had been spent analysing paedophiles' computers and reviewing the material they had been accessing, sometimes millions of images at a time. Photography had entered my life a year or so before as a way of relaxing, and I spent the first year of my retirement wandering Ullswater and the Eden Valley taking various photographs. But I missed the camaraderie of my working years, and in 2013 I decided that I should perhaps think of getting a wee job somewhere (or perhaps more accurately: my wife wanted me out from under her feet).

A friend told me that there were some seasonal jobs at the Ullswater Steamers starting in the February. What could be better than to spend my days sailing up and down Ullswater in all weathers and getting paid for it. The operations manager was already a fan of my images, and I was barely even interviewed. The only question was “When can you start?” I’ve been there four seasons now, and I have loved nearly every minute. I see other landscape photographers travelling all over the UK, consulting the latest photographers guidebook and going from honeypot location to honeypot location. Working every day on Ullswater highlights how long it can take to intimately know your local landscape. I am constantly uncovering new and hitherto unknown gems. Why would I need to travel when I have such riches on my doorstep?  

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