I promised myself a drive around Teesdale in search of some autumn colour. I packed the car with paints, camera and a flask and headed to some of the less visited and more remote corners of Teesdale. I drove up to Hudeshope Beck, an area once alive with the sound of lead mining. This valley provided little inspiration on a day when my mind was already troubled. The valley was dark and forbidding, over exploited for minerals during the whole of the nineteenth century, I found no reason to stay. The scars on the landscape were far too painful and I quickly drove back the way I had come.
Although the lower reaches of Hudeshope Beck sang with colour, I still felt the need to be away. I’d seen enough. This journey was meant to lift my spirits but my mood was worsening. The prospect of winter is always difficult for me, and I can already sense a shift from autumn to a winter. Hudeshope Beck might prove more favourable on a summers’ day and I apologise if this post offends those who live on the either side of the valley.
I decided to cut my losses and head for home. There was a small mountain of work waiting for me, some of which had instigated this journey in the beginning. However, I desperately wanted to draw and paint something. This old oak guards the entrance to an old lane leading up to Hunderthwaite. I parked along the lane and made this quick sketch. It’s more a memory against the battle of winter than a post of happy days.