Field Trip: Cornwall, part 2

After the rising tide halted my zawn hunting at Land’s End I drove along the south coast to the little village of Treen to photograph the Logan Rock. Logans are boulders that wobble (but they don’t fall down) they are formed when horizontal faults in stone outcrops are eroded to leave just one or two points of contact between separate masses. Sometimes huge rocks are balanced so finely that the slightest nudge can set them moving. This was once the case with the Treen Logan, an 80 ton block of granite perched on a cliff just south of the village, …

The Landreader Project: now with added Arts Council funding

I’m delighted to announce that the Arts Council have offered me a grant towards The Landreader Project through the Grants for the Arts programme. This grant will fund a large proportion of the work involved and, crucially, it will enable me to create the web-based database of landscape language that lies at the heart of the project. There’s also some big news coming about a book, but I’m holding off making that announcement until all the details are finalized. What a great start to 2014!  

Field Trip: Cornwall, part 1

Driving from Dartmoor to Cornwall took me through familiar territory. I drove through the towns and villages where school friends lived, past my old secondary school in Callington and then, on impulse, I turned off to follow the winding back-roads route that my school bus took. Through Golberdon, South Hill and Linkinhorne the houses looked the same but different, maybe painted a new colour, maybe recently double-glazed. At South Hill I remembered the morning old Mr Deeble drove our bus, quite slowly, almost carefully, into a wall. We all disembarked to look at the damage while he sat motionless in …

Landreader Quiz #1

© Dominick Tyler 2013 Do you know your tombolo from your isthmus? Can you tell a hummock from a hillock? What would you do with a kiss tank? This quiz will put your landscape vocabulary to the test:

Thar she blows

Let me just say that I do not advise putting your head into a spouting gloup. Gloup is a Scottish word for a blowhole, I like it better than plain blowhole but I think there might be better words for the same thing. In Ireland they are called puffer-holes apparently, which is OK, but take it from me that thing is not puffing. They are sometimes called sea-jets which captures the force but is still a bit to prosaic for me. Gloup has more onomatopoeic poetry but I think it works better with the swirling, gurgling kind of blowhole than …

Stara Woods

This is one of my favourite places and has been since I was a small child. I’m really pleased that it’s being so well looked after and managed as a community woodland so that many more small children will get to play and learn here. I made this short clip to try to say something about why I’m doing this project and how that connects to my rural childhood and the places I knew when I was little. I’m not sure this articulates it very well but it’s a start.

Why you weigh less in Cornwall

The Cornubian Batholith sounds like it could have been the thirteenth labour of Hercules but is in fact a mass of granite formed around 300 million years ago from magma that pushed it’s way up through the earth’s crust. Rather than erupting as a volcano the magma collected, a bit like a blister, just under the surface, cooling and solidifying as it did so. Since then the surface layers have been worn away, revealing areas of underlying granite. The bulk of it is still under the surface, beneath layers of the surrounding rock. The full extent and shape of the …

Misty Mistor

I’ve been scanning the films from my field-trip to Devon and Cornwall and finding a few that don’t relate to any particular landscape feature but which I shot anyway. This was from the morning I walked up Mistor on Dartmoor to find the rock basin called the Mistor Pan. Dawn was breaking as I reached the tor but the hilltop was veiled in misty cloud and as the sun cleared the horizon the light diffused into the haze in a dream-sequence palette of pink and orange. Periodically, as I ran about trying to find the basin, the wind would strip …

Video: Dartmoor

Video is going to be a steep learning curve. I take back every criticism I yelled at any TV presenter. It turns out that talking sense to a camera is preternaturally difficult. I need to shoot a ton more B-roll so that when I forget how to speak I can cut to a picture of a rock or something… And when did I suddenly start looking so much like my dad?

Field Trip: Dartmoor

Five cosy nights in the van, 600 miles driven, 10 tors climbed, two logans rocked, one mire sunk-into, four beaches wandered, two pasties and four saffron buns consumed and sixteen rolls of film waiting to be processed. Last week’s field trip to Devon and Cornwall was exhausting but productive and was a great learning experience for future trips. I arrived at the edge of Dartmoor on the evening of the feast of St Jude, a few hours hours after a storm, given the same name, had swept over the south of England. Storms don’t usually rate a christening but arriving …