THE CHARACTERS RETURN HOME FOR THEIR PR SHOTS

In the last couple of weeks I've been working with Gavin Jacob Power to photograph the Beneath the Beacon characters in their home landscape.  Our journey took us from one highlight of the Cumbrian landscape to another.  We visited the fellside village of Croglin, birthplace of Margery Jackson's servant Watty before heading west via Sarah Losh's architectural gem at Wreay Church, and then to the Lake District where we climbed to the summit of Latrigg.  There we enjoyed a panoramic view of glorious Derwentwater and the Lake District fells, captured by Peter Crosthwaite in his pictorial maps. 

Margery Jackson and her servant Croglin Watty in Croglin chuchyard.  Photo by  Gavin Jacob Power . 

Margery Jackson and her servant Croglin Watty in Croglin chuchyard.  Photo by Gavin Jacob Power

I'm delighted with Gavin's quirky compositions as they show the figures off in a landscape that they would recognise today.   

Wiliam Graham, the Poacher of Longdales, by the Eden at Armathwaite.  Photo by  Gavin Jacob Power . 

Wiliam Graham, the Poacher of Longdales, by the Eden at Armathwaite.  Photo by Gavin Jacob Power

I hestitate to pick out a favourite, but if pushed, I'd go for the photo of Hugh Lowther, the Yellow Earl with Lowther Castle in the background.  

The Yellow Earl, exiled from his family home which can be seen in the background.  Photo by  Gavin Jacob Power . 

The Yellow Earl, exiled from his family home which can be seen in the background.  Photo by Gavin Jacob Power

The photos will feature alongside the characters at the EVAN Gallery as part of the Beneath the Beacon Exhibition which starts in a fortnight's time, on Saturday 28 July.  

Lorna Graves, back among the landscape and livestock that she loved.  Photo by  Gavin Jacob Power . 

Lorna Graves, back among the landscape and livestock that she loved.  Photo by Gavin Jacob Power

eden valley evenings

On Monday evening I rode up the Eden Valley from the sandstone bridge at Armathwaite to the Bailey bridge at Langwathby and then back by Great Salkeld.  The cluster of houses at Longdales above Coombs Wood show no signs of their most infamous resident, poacher William Graham.  William appears in the Beneath the Beacon alphabet as D is for Defendent, after his sensational acquittal for the murder of a local gamekeeper.  The pretty cottages basking in this week's May sunshine bear little resemblance to the rough thatched hovel where William and his family eked out a thin living.    

D is for Defendent: William Graham, the Poacher of Longdales who is caught in a mantrap as part of the Beneath the Beacon automaton alphabet.  

D is for Defendent: William Graham, the Poacher of Longdales who is caught in a mantrap as part of the Beneath the Beacon automaton alphabet.  

M is for Miser: Margery Jackson whose brother William enjoyed untroubled, summers at Croglin Hall until Margery's chance visit to nearby Nunnery proved terminal for his health and wealth.  

M is for Miser: Margery Jackson whose brother William enjoyed untroubled, summers at Croglin Hall until Margery's chance visit to nearby Nunnery proved terminal for his health and wealth.  

The switchback road from Longdales continued past Nunnery where Margery Jackson's letters to brother William were returned with disdainful interest, sparking (M is for Miser) Margery's righteous fury and re-igniting the drawn-out legal battle over her inheritance.  I could imagine Margery, letter in hand, agitated, walking to and fro in the gardens above the river valley.  Did her relatives try to calm her emotions and turn her away from litigation, or did they stir her passions and encourage her claim?   

Beyond Nunnery and Kirkoswald the road passed the ancient stone circle of Long Meg and Her Daughters before descending in a sweeping curve to Little Salkeld, home of Colonel Samuel Lacy (X is for eXploder), and the Watermill, home of the eponymous biodynamic stoneground flour.  A mile or so further on, in Langwathby, the locals sat on the green outside the Shepherd's Inn enjoying the last drinks of the Bank Holiday weekend.  

Eschewing the climb over Penrith's Beacon and its attendant characters I headed north and west past Wan Fell and Brackenburgh and towards the sun as it slowly sank behind the Galloway hills.  

 

X is for eXploder: Colonel Samuel Lacy

X is for eXploder: Colonel Samuel Lacy