Bibliotreks: 1. Carlisle – Annan – Seafield
First I crossed the Solway to Dumfries and Galloway where I have lots of heartfelt connections. I walked with Katie Anderson, an inspiring public artist based near Annan. We walked from Annan toward the Solway Coast along the old munitions railway trackbed which originally crossed the estuary to England.
This is a significant line on the land, repurposed to carry the cooling pipeline for Chapelcross nuclear power station and now an informal public greenspace for walkers, cyclists and horseriders.
Katie and I compared notes on our routes into artistic practice and sustaining a creative career in a rural location. We discussed how we connect with and articulate our work for different audiences. I enjoy getting to know a person in ‘their’ place. Understanding their circumstance and their roots makes for a richer connection.
On the train back home I reflected that this area is surrounded by controversial environmental challenges: nuclear decommissioning, possible new nuclear, terrifying levels of peat extraction, munitions legacy, not to mention the Borderlands’ bastion of fast fashion, Gretna Gateway. Traditional ways of life co-exist, with haaf-netting still occurring nearby on both sides of the Solway. This porous border region has been a seat of innovation, risk-taking, creativity and exploitation for centuries.