I also feel more focussed about the project after talking over some ideas last week. After our meeting I felt excited and a bit nervous, I also felt extremely restless. I decided the best thing to do was to go into the park and revisit the site that I had been talking about.
Simonside Hills have been haunting me. They are not the most isolated or the highest, in fact they are quite tame, which is what surprises me about my growing obsession about them. There is easy access to them, road, car park and path, they are well used by locals and visitors alike, there is nothing exclusive about them and yet (at the risk of going all hippie on you) they really seem to have a power about them.
Like Paul, I have picked up on the sense of time in the landscape. At Simonside there are ancient cup and ring marks carved in to stones around the foot of the hillside. When you get up onto the hilltops there are other more recent "carvings", which I photographed on my first visit. People have been making their mark in the soft sandstone here for hundreds of years and I feel the same urge.
It is very unclear just exactly what the cup and ring marks symbolise, I like this ambiguity. They are just there, in the landscape, they focus you in on the place, you are being told in no uncertain terms that you are not the first to stand here, but that doesn't detract it adds to the weight of the place.
And then there is the view………..
There is the view from the hills, which takes in Rothbury town, the Cheviot and various other distant hills and the sea.
There is also the view of the hills; they have a very distinctive shape being made up of three craggy peaks rising out of a ridge.
I've asked Andrew Miller (Park manager North) if I can spend some time with an archaeologist in order to find out more about the cup and ring markings and to see if there are any other sites in the park that I might like to work in. I'm also thinking of how to approach the park regarding making a work in situ.
And then there are the screen prints and the rubbings I've been making too…………. there's still a lot to work on but I feel it's starting to come together.
Oh yes, the colours were absolutely vivid, the young heather is just coming out and next to the grey of the rock it is practically psychedelic (man)!