Dreaming the Land
A tribe of tale tellers, trekkers and troubadours are set to traverse the iconic landscape of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to unearth stories of the past in a week-long odyssey that will culminate in a series of performances that aim to bring the ancient past to life.
A pilgrimage through the North Pennines
Storytellers from Newcastle-based A Bit Crack, and the North Pennines AONB Partnership’s archaeologist Paul Frodsham, will join a group of walkers in June when they make a six day pilgrimage from Beltingham to Kirkoswald as part of a project called Dreaming the Land.
During the week the group will be visiting The Beltingham Yew, the Bronze age smithy at Kirkhaugh, The Royal Forest of Inglewood and Long Meg Stone Circle. All places which are rich in folklore and archaeological finds.
A Bit Crack Storytelling
As well as members of A Bit Crack Storytelling, other walkers are people from across the UK who have a shared interest in archaeology, art and the environment. During each day, in addition to the wet socks and the banter, the task will be to observe and respond creatively to the land they are walking through.
After each day’s journey is over, the group will set up camp and tuck into a meal prepared by a wonderful team of supporters. This will be followed by music and whatever stories have emerged from the day, shared around the fire.
Over the past two months Paul, along with storytellers Malcom Green, Chris Bostock, Pat Renton and Pascale Konyn, have visited several primary schools along the route, working with classes to bring the rich heritage of the North Pennines to life.
Local school children involved
Children from Haydon Bridge Shaftoe Trust,, Alston,, Castle Carrockand Kirkoswald C of E primary schools have spent four days dreaming the tales of their respective archaeological sites through a range of activities including walking, pottery and poetry.
The children’s artwork will be on display and some children will present short pieces before the main performances in the village halls. These performances will be aimed at adults and include a talk on the archaeology of the various sites, given by Paul and performances of stories from the A Bit Crack Storytellers.
Paul said: “I love this project because it involves the community and gets them thinking about local heritage. The best part, for me, is working with the children. It gets them asking questions about where they live and what life used to be like.
“They ask some fantastic questions and it provides genuine educational opportunities and introduces them to the archaeology of the North Pennines and beyond. We spend four days with each school so they have time to get a real understanding of the stories and they can’t wait for that final performance in June. It’s very rewarding.”
Steeped in folklore
This is the second year of a two-year project which is funded by The Arts Council England and supported by the North Pennines AONB and Northumberland Coast AONB Partnerships and Northumberland National Park Authority.
Malcolm, from A Bit Crack, said: “The North Pennines is steeped in folklore, it’s in our blood. In many places the practice of sitting around on an evening, swapping tales, has all but disappeared but I feel that in the North East, especially the more rural areas, it has always remained part of our lives.
“This is the second year of the project and I can honestly say it’s a magical week. The combination of walking through such a stunning landscape, with a small group of like-minded people, and getting the chance to remember our ancestors, while making up stories for generations to come, is a privilege and a pleasure.”
Book your tickets!
Performances are being held at St Cuthbert Church Beltingham on June 21, Alston Town Hall on June 23, Castle Carrock Village Hall on June 25 and Kirkoswald Village Hall on June 27.
For more information visit www.abitcrack.com
For tickets visit www.northpennines.org.uk or call 01388 528801.
Released: 11 June 2014