Over the top

This post was originally published over on the By Duddon’s Side project blog: http://byduddonsside.wordpress.com

Having chickened out of it on my quick recce to the Duddon Valley a fortnight ago, the time had come to bite the bullet and see if my car was up to the challenge of driving over Wrynose Pass. Success here would influence logistical decisions later on in the project, so I had to find out if it was an option or not.

morning walk into town

The view from Dove Cottage in the morning was of snow-dusted peaks and lingering cloud, so I wasn’t sure what I would be met with once I started to climb the pass.

Wrynose Pass

Well, a closer view of the snow, for a start!


Wrynose Pass

Wrynose Pass

Also some glorious views and dramatically-lit landscapes.



Wrynose Pass

I justified several photo stops in terms of giving the car a chance to cool down a bit!

I reached the top with no automobile-related dramas and crested the top of the pass to be greeted with…

Wrynose Pass

Ugh! A valley full of raincloud! Typical!


Wrynose Pass

It brightened up for a few more photographs and an opportunity to pause and reflect on how rapidly the Duddon had grown from the tiny little becks I’d seen earlier, to something that could now reasonably be called a river.


Cockley Beck bridge


I found myself wondering how one would have traveled between Grasmere and the Duddon Valley at the end of the 17th Century. Would it have been something you could have done as a day trip, or would it have been an undertaking of a few days?


First encounter with the Duddon

This post was originally published over on the By Duddon’s Side project blog: http://byduddonsside.wordpress.com

I travelled up to the Lake District for a preliminary meeting at the Wordsworth Museum. Having a bit of time to spare I thought I’d take a detour to check out the valley that will be the main focus of this project.

Visibility was somewhat reduced and it was quite squelchy underfoot, but after 10 minutes strolling around on the banks of the Duddon near Ulpha I could understand that this place is a little bit special – I’m very much looking forward to having a proper explore.





Announcing ‘Deep Mapping the Duddon’

UPDATE: This project is now called “By Duddon’s Side” and is being documented over at https://byduddonsside.wordpress.com

The River Duddon

Photo by casper_chole on Flickr, CC by-nc-nd, click for original

Back in September I was awarded a Visiting Fellowship by the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University to help support a collaboration with Dr Christopher Donaldson (Lecturer in Regional History and Co-Investigator on the Leverhulme Trust-funded Geospatial Innovation in the Digital Humanities: A Deep Mapping of the English Lake District project, also at Lancaster University). Since then Chris and I have been working hard to link things and amplify things and – following on from receipt of additional funding from Arts Council England – I’m very happy to now be able to announce that for the next few months I’ll be working with Chris, primarily based in the Lake District.

We’ll ‘deep map‘ history and memory in the Duddon Valley, where the Geospatial Innovation research group’s work will also support the Wordsworth Trust to explore different ways of increasing public engagement with the works of William and Dorothy Wordsworth.

In addition to featuring in the work of the Wordsworths, the Duddon Valley was home to prehistoric and Roman remains, medieval longhouses, and ancient farming communities. It has a strong industrial past (mills, quarrying and an iron furnace) and nowadays attracts tourists ranging from fell walkers and mountain bikes through to those taking a more leisurely approach to exploring the area.

I like a good palimpsest of landscape and stories!

Our activities will map how different layers and traces overlap and interact to contribute to community identity and sense of place. Chris is already working with local groups to research a collection of Victorian and Edwardian photographs of the valley. I’ll be helping with this and also developing my own site-specific tools and processes for engaging with the stories of the Duddon Valley. Later we’ll be bringing these together in an exhibition at the Wordsworth Museum (Grasmere) and I’ll be working with Chris and the Trust in designing something that we hope will prove to be multisensory and interactive.

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Duddon Valley

Photo by andrew_annemarie on Flickr, CC by-sa, click for original


Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Additional support from Lancaster University (Geospatial Innovation in the Digital Humanities, Department of History, Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts) and the Wordsworth Trust.

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