Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Bank holiday Monday in the Breamish Valley: 26th May 2008.

Since our full project meeting on the 20th / 21st May, I've been itching to get out into the park again. I particularly wanted to go over the Bank Holiday weekend because I had heard during a Park Authority meeting (which I attended way back in March) that there was going to be live military action over that weekend. The park members weren't too happy about this but it was a case of being told, no negotiation.

Anyhow, I thought I would go out with my video camera and capture some images of the Hill Forts in the North of the park with a backdrop of military action providing some distance rumbling soundtrack.

Well best laid plans and all that…. There wasn't a peep from the big guns, or if there was it would have been absolutely inaudible against the windy which was blowing a hooley.

What this did mean was fantastic movement of light over the land, which I attempted to capture with the stills camera.

One thing I had forgotten about was the traditional visitors of Breamish Valley would be out in force, and they did not disappoint. There was the smell of barbecues in the air when we reached the busy car park that was the starting point for the Hill Fort Trail.

I was very much reminded of a word that Paul and I had talked about when discussing the language people used in relation to the land. The word is transhumance; it means the seasonal migration of livestock to suitable grazing lands. We heard it in relation to buildings (shiels) which the people tending the animals would relocate to during the summer months.

There was something about these big family groups staking out their territory in the car park (who, I imagine get together in the same spot every year with their wind breaks and camp chairs). It felt somehow like they were reclaiming their temporary homesteads.

I wanted to linger and capture more, but my husband was most disturbed by all the people being there. I asked him why, but he could give a satisfactory answer. I think it had something to do with the fact that we had driven for two hours to be in a place which was populated by numbers of people equal to the entire population of the village we live in. In fact it was nice to come home to some peace and quiet which lent a certain irony to our trip into the tranquillity of the National Park. The walk, although described as challenging, was quite tame and once we got up the first hill we didn't see that many people. Oh and the views were great!

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