After a walk in the North Pennines, something strange seems to follow, a connection which remains with you for days – an emptiness or longing not unlike the feeling you have when you miss someone you love. The landscape seems to heal your mind, troubles disperse and the mysterious relationship between man and the land brings peace.
Often I’ve been aware of this feeling, none more so than my recent walk over Cross Fell, the highest point in the North Pennines at 2,930 feet, the highest and broadest piece of land in England.
The wilderness seems to filter through your body and you can’t rid the feeling nor wish. I spend days looking at my photographs, transfixed as though something is calling me back. The hold upon you is almost disturbing. Putting my feelings, (which I don’t understand) into words, is very difficult. Val can often be found trying to make sense of feelings and thoughts.
I’m still carrying the views and sounds in my mind, I’m certain if you put your ear to my head you’d hear the Helm Wind. Both inspiration and devotion I’ll never tire of the clouds and shadows racing across the burnt sienna and yellow ochare hills. There are moments when the mist descends its cloak, only for the wind to tear holes through the cloud revealing the nature reserve on one side and the equally stunning Eden Valley to the other.
While walking, we found the source of the great river Tees. A humble, gurgling spring emerging from rocks. Further down the valley the Tees becomes one of the most beautiful rivers in the British Isles with centuries of history along its banks.
Mines also splinter the landscape reminding us how difficult life must have been for people in the past. Loppyside Mine, Swathbeck Mine, Hunter’s Vein Mine are all names which sit between the contours of the map.
If any of you reading this feel a similar connection with a landscape I’d be interested in hearing from you.