An Artful Way: Smardale Viaduct

smardale viaduct

Jill Brown chose to do her Artful Ways Walk around Smardale Gill in the South East of Cumbria, taking in the beautiful rugged scenery including the viaduct. Here’s how she got on:

Jill Brown:

This walk is around Smardale Gill starting & returning to/ from Newbiggin on Lune. There were many reasons for the walk, notably this is where my grandparents lived and worked & my family history emanates from here. You can hardly now imagine the noise that would have been created from the railway as it ploughed through the valley & perhaps my Grandfather & family used the line too, especially for supplies bringing in the agricultural foodstuffs & provisions as he ran the local shop & merchants. I still have his old photos of trains on that line. The wild-flowers along the route were wild & beautiful & I always enjoy the rawness of this landscape. How /why did they build the line, but I love the tracks that agriculture creates too, connecting fields, farms & out to the villages too.

Question 1: Creativity – What does creativity/culture mean to you?

The opportunity to been able to walk these routes & remember the past is an important part of my culture and how farming and industry have formed this landscape. The silence of the landscape I find quite haunting.

Question 2: Connectivity – Covid-19 has forced us all to reimagine ways to connect. What have you missed – and what new possibilities have opened up?

Through Covid it has given us extra time to think, stop & study the landscape & when safe to do so the opportunity to explore the landscape in more detail

Question 3: Place – How can we, collectively, and artfully, better care for our environment?

I am torn on the question of place. I want to remember & acknowledge the past & the role it has played in my life & that of society, but I am not sure I want it to become a ‘mass market’ destination to be spoiled by tourists & perhaps it should be allowed to return to nature & part of the past, but somehow not forgotten.

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