It’s been an intense week, full of surprises, challenges, power struggles, more surprises, delights, great beauty and an irresistible force, and so with a need to keep myself occupied today, I sought out a photographic subject that would be a suitable metaphor for those experiences.
I took myself into the North Pennines which as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was bound to provide me with a suitable place to shoot. With Teesdale and Weardale ahead of me, I chose the former, though arguably either would have been appropriate. Passing through Middleton in Teesdale, a small market town that like some insect trapped in amber preserves the look of an earlier time, when it was the centre of the local lead mining operation, I continued on to one of England’s most famous natural landmarks; High Force.
This is one of those locations that have been photographed to death over the years, so finding something original was an unlikely challenge. Nevertheless, on a cold autumn day, I would at least have the advantage of not photographing scenes filled with fellow visitors.
As a child I recall a visit where the cracked shale that forms one of the three distinct geological layers in the gorge created by the water tearing stone away, was as great an attraction as the torrent of water; we sought fossils sandwiched between the split and cracked rocks. I don’t recall being successful.
On another occasion, older but clearly still immature a group of friends and I tried to make our way long the river upstream of the falls, by jumping from rock to rock. Inevitably my lack of balance played its part, resulting in a drive home with my trousers flying flag like from the car window in an attempt to get them dry again.
Too cold and wet for such shenanigans today, but the tumult, swelled by recent rains was impressive enough.