Caught by the River x Aerial
SOUNDS, WORDS AND FILM
Caught by the River is an arts/nature/culture clash which lives at caughtbytheriver.net. It was conceived in 2008 as an online meeting place for pursuits of a distinctly non-digital variety: walking, fishing, looking, thinking. Birdsong and beer; adventure and poetry; life’s small pleasures in all their many flavours.
Made especially for Aerial, Caught by the River Eden is a mix of words, music, and nature sounds inspired by the Lakes, with contributions from a selection of regular Caught by the River co-conspirators.
BBC 6Music’s Stuart Maconie shares his experiences of climbing the mountains of the Lakes and pays tribute to mountaineer and journalist A. Harry Griffin. Author Roy Wilkinson talks about growing up in Kendal and the start of his brothers’ group, British Sea Power. The UK’s foremost field recording artist Chris Watson presents Lake District recordings from his archives. There’s also new, improvised music from the wonderful Jack Cooper (Modern Nature), and a reading from author Helen Mort.
In addition to Caught by the River Eden, Caught by the River present two short films as part of their programme for the online iteration of Aerial.
In the first, Roy Wilkinson shares never previously seen Super 8 footage — rescued from the family loft — of the Lake District, shot by his brother Hamilton (better known as a member of the band British Sea Power). Filmed between 2001 and 2005, this silent film contains footage of Borrowdale, Buttermere and Matterdale, as well as of Short Tucano RAF training aircraft flying over the fells. Hamilton was born in Carlisle in Cumbria, and grew up in the South Lakeland area.
The second, titled The Drift, is a short film made by David Banning concerning the reverberations of an old bobbin mill at Caldbeck, and the limestone outcrop of Humphrey Head, near Allithwaite in Cumbria. The film is set to music from Richard Skelton’s 2019 album Border Ballads.
Frequent contributor Clare Wadd recently wrote a short piece on Book Seven of A. Wainwright’s Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells for Caught by the River’s Nature Book Reader — an ever-evolving document of nature writers’ favourite nature-related books. Read the piece below. You can access the Nature Book Reader, which includes further recommendations from the likes of Bill Drummond, Laura Beatty, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Tracey Thorn, here.
A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland fells – Book Seven The Western Fells – A. Wainwright
By Clare Wadd
Looking again at this, my first and favourite Wainwright, which I got aged ten in the late 1970s, I’m surprised it’s the final one in the series, given so much of the heart of my Lake District lies within its pages. The Western Fells – the green one – radiates out west from Great Gables over the Ennerdale and Buttermere valleys and includes Haystacks, now well known as the author’s favourite fell of all. Having skimmed again its now-iconic maps, with their romantic sounding cairns and tarns, gaps and ends, the reeds and the bracken unfurling in my local Richmond Park last night started to evoke the lower slopes of hills tramped in better days. Flicking through its familiar handwritten text, I can almost taste the peat and the sheep shit in clean cold air, feel the spring of heather and bilberries under tired feet, and hear the crunch of scree under battered old boots. Sitting at home in London in lockdown, I can start to daydream of the glory of the mist lifting to reveal a stunning view of the mountains and valleys laid out before me after a long haul upwards – or the inevitable cruelty of it all disappearing when the mist descends instead – and to think about when better days will come again.
In her teens and twenties Clare Wadd co-ran the Bristol-based cult indie label Sarah Records. In London, where she has lived for 20 years, she walks everywhere and chairs the local ramblers association.