Wednesday, 21 March 2012

spring to summer

Now we've reached the vernal equinox, I've begun planning an expedition to take place over the summer solstice. This is to walk along the watersheds of the rivers South Tyne, Tees and Wear, collecting material and artwork as I go.

This morning I walked along the South Tyne valley, up onto Yad Moss to Crookburn Bridge, where the B6277 crosses the county boundary between Co. Durham and Cumbria, before returning by the road. A tarmac surface may be quick, but it was very hard on feet and legs.
the Cumbria/ Co Durham boundary; also the North West/North East regional boundary
As you can see, one challenge I shall have is a lack of firewood at night. This view looks straight across towards Great Dun Fell (covered in cloud) and is the route I shall take. I 'm guessing that there isn't a single tree across those eight miles. I plan to stay the first night on the Northumberland border close to Killhope Cross and move from there to this point for the second night. Both these happen to be close to roads. From here, not only will there not be a single tree until I get within sight of Garrigill, but neither will there be any roads. Here's a view of the last trees I saw, about 3km away...

For all its bleakness, the detail in the moorland is full of life. I nearly trod on this frog. It was probably the first time it had seen a human. I hope the experience didn't disappoint.
Inanimate forms, too, abound, revealing miraculous patterns and colour transformations. To make the most of the experience, I shall be prepared to deviate from my planned route often, over the course of five days and four nights. I expect to spend about one third of the time observing (eco-gazing!), painting, drawing and taking photographs, one-third walking and one-third resting (more eco-gazing!), eating and sleeping.
Below is a sketch-map of my planned route. Because I need to deviate and stop so often to make artwork, I need to do it alone. However, if anyone wanted to spend some time at my night-time rests, that could be good, especially if they brought something to drink or smoke, or to add to the fire!

The purpose for this trip is to raise money for the new roof on Garrigill Village Hall. I shall ask people to sponsor me by buying prints of the work I shall be making. I shall hold an exhibition of the work at the village hall over the autumn equinox. 30% commission from any work sold at that will also go towards the roof. More details on a separate page on this blog:

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