I live in Geltsdale – physically in Talkin parish, but my umbilical cord with the outside world is by a track over the Gelt to the village of Castle Carrock.
Fellwalking has developed over recent years into Wainwright bagging. Not for me, I climb the fells as to greet old friends. No fell is a greater friend than Hindscarth, focal amongst the Newlands valley ensemble. Come August each year, I take a pilgrimage to wend up the Scope End ridge, itself beautifully clothed in purple heather, venturing by High Crag to the great shelter cairn on the high brow leading on to the more modest summit cairn. All around is a glorious mountain landscape of wonder. The fell-name means the passage of deer hinds. Coincidentally we have a ‘hind scarth’ in our garden being the daily riverside trod of roe deer, historically expressed in our house-name Low Hynam ‘the place of hinds’.
This linescape shows Hindscarth from Scope End. And the photograph – so elating – was taken during my walk, glancing back north from High Crag down the chiselled edge of Scope End draped in heather.
Answering the three Artful questions
Since my earliest days, brought up as an only son on a farm, I have loved to walk alone. As my life unfolded walking alone became central to who I am and has driven my creativity, firstly as a pen artist and then with a camera and the written word. I have never lost the sense of magic in meticulously working a pen upon textured paper, it’s a very tactile sensation.
While my Britain-wide horizons expanded, I never lost the wonder my roots in the farming life gave me. When out of doors especially I also love to engage in conversations with people I meet. Sharing thoughts, while enquiring and learning other people’s perceptions, appreciation and knowledge of place. Translating a scene to paper and then with my photography bringing them into my guidebooks being a further spur enshrining my sense of connectivity.
Covid lockdowns did not stop me from my core activities. I walked alone from my back door into a wild valley uninhibited and was able to draw landmarks that I brought into a double-page spread in the book “Through the Locking Glass”. My creative work in Cumbria has expanded as a result of Covid with fortnightly Countrystride podcasts and a planned move into video with ‘The Heritage Hikers’ series.
Artists provide a window on the world that has the potential to open eyes. Creative people constantly seek to nurture new visions of place that may nourish the soul and engage with the inner majesty of the human spirit.