Sunday, 3 February 2008

'Adventures in the Dark Peak'

On the weekend of the summer solstice, James Brady will be camping and walking in the Peak District. He is an environmental artist who enjoys the peace and quiet - a certain solace and wisdom that Dark Peak provides. The spirit of this landscape dwells deeply in his childhood memories and he believes that this place plays a powerful role in his identity.

The source of James’ inspiration and his impulse to create is comfortingly old-fashioned. Driven and excited by thoughts of the possible encounters he could have with The Great Outdoors, he prefers not to have any particular plan really. At heart he’s a bit of a Romantic – an explorer with a fascination for clouds, amongst other ephemeral things.

Equipped with his trusty mini DV camera, over the weekend James will fabricate esoteric picturesque views from high land - points on the OS map. During these potentially sublime encounters he also intends to make some small site-specific (interventions) earthworks from organic materials he finds en route. Maybe someone will find them a few days later? Or, maybe not…

Below are extracts from James' journal, including images from his adventure on the weekend of the summer solstice images of the work he made.

Notes from the Dark Peak

Friday 20th June

Route: (Eastern periphery of Kinder Scout) Ollerbrook Clough - Ringing Roger - Druid’s Stone - Crookstone Knoll - Blackden Edge - Nether Tor - Grinds Brook

Mid-afternoon. Bright sunshine pierced the fulsome clouds passing over above the land. As I walked across the Kinder plateaux I gazed eastwards. My eyes traced the graceful line of the ridge in the near distance. This ridge ends at the summit of Win Hill. For a few minutes I stood and admired the view across the valley. I recalled the words of Ebenezer Elliott, the Sheffield poet, who in 1876 dramatised the great Win Hill:

King of the Peak! Win Hill!

thou, throned and


That reign’st o’er many a

stream and many a vale!

Star-loved, and meteor-sought,

and tempest-found!

Proud centre of a mountain-circle,


Saturday 21st June

Route: (Vale of Edale horseshoe) Harden Clough - Mam Tor - Rushup Edge - Brown Knoll - Swine’s Back - Wool Packs - Crowden Brook - Upper Booth - Barber Booth

A blanket of impenetrable whiteness hung low over the Vale of Edale. High land had vanished from view. The air, wet and dense, was intermittently broken by sudden heavy showers throughout the day. I walked for 12km, 6 hours.

Thick, moist mist made the moor an eerie place to be. With no rest I walked for hours, enveloped inside a white cloud. My boots felt heavy in the sticky black peat which greeted my every step. Sensing that I was near the summit of Brown Knoll, I stopped. Looking around me, in all directions the earth appeared the same, continuous. Apart from the heather quivering in the slight breeze, the moor was still and almost featureless. The identical horizon surrounding me was uncomfortably near. Indistinct and faintly distant sounds occasionally broke the white stillness I stood inside. My body was noisy and it felt almost alien in this strangely peaceful place. In body I was utterly alone, however in spirit I was in company…

leacha-alter stone

seam/route/trace (quartz)

[sheep wool & gritstone]

James Brady's website:

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