The Long View takes seven trees as its focus. These trees are place-markers and way-markers and are becoming very familiar to us. The Light Walk will take us to each one in turn, beginning at the Little Asby Hawthorn in the east and ending at the Wasdale Oak in the west. We will skirt lakes and cross England’s highest and second highest peaks, and we’ll be spending time with each of the trees along the way, sitting with them at sunset and sunrise.
A journey through the Solstice
We’ve called this the Light Walk because we are walking through midsummer – for the summer solstice we will be in the middle of the Lake District, between the Under Helm Sycamore and the Langstrath Birch. In December, we will walk from west to east, taking in the winter solstice. This is called – guess what – the Dark Walk. We anticipate two very different experiences while crossing the very same landscape.
A walk that takes in seven nights of camping and more than eighty miles over England’s most undulating patch of land takes a bit of planning. Choosing the dates was the easy part. We have now whittled down our kit to the absolute minimum, as we will be carrying it all the way. We’ve opted for an ultra light MSR Hubba Hubba 2 Tent, which is three times lighter than the one we used to carry! Guilly will be doing his own bit to help as well: with his Ruffwear pallisade pack he’ll be carrying his own food and water. And at each of our camping locations we have squirrelled away a small box containing essentials: dinner, breakfast, dog food, Trangia fuel and a couple of pieces of chocolate.
Getting a feel for the land
Doing a link walk between the trees will enable us to get a deeper feel for the land around them – and all the space between – as we cross geological lines, walk in woods and in unwooded areas, walk from one flock’s heft to another, and talk to people along the way. Journeying is a central theme of The Long View and we always wanted to do this longer trek as well as the individual day-walks to trees in different seasons. Something happens when you walk, a slowing down. Something else happens when you walk for day after day and do not return to a building with walls and a roof.
Creative ways of seeing
Along the way we will of course be taking photographs and making notes that will reflect what we discover about the land and the trees, and how we feel as the days pass. Some days there will be more time for writing than others. (The first leg of the journey is a bit daunting and might take as much as ten hours. Gulp.) But every day we will be stopping at noon: I will write for 12 minutes and Rob will make a photograph using his large format camera within that 12 minute slot. He will then film me reading whatever I have written in that time. We’ll also be tracking our route with a GPS which will be integral to our artwork further down the line.
At the moment the plan is to make a book of the Light Walk and the Dark Walk, as a complement to The Long View book. We have loose plans about formatting and content but know very well that we can’t know before we do it just what will emerge. By July we’ll have a clearer idea, and we’ll share more through the blog.
While we’re out there, we’ll most probably be out of contact but will aim for a tweet a day and we may be able to post on Facebook. #thelightwalk #thelongview. Although we’re doing this walk without company, you can join us virtually: look out for posts and please share.
Blogs about the Light Walk
We have blogged about our preparations and immediate reflections, and will be adding blogs about each of the seven days of the walk. We’ll post links here when we post blogs: