Thursday, 26 February 2015

A painting comes to life - Yewbarrow by Wastwater

yewbarrow painting by numbers lake district bbc cumbria
The finished painting - Yewbarrow by Wastwater.

A week ago today, David Powell-Thompson and myself attended a public event in the Coronation Hall, Ulverston organised by BBC Radio Cumbria and Up For Arts. 'A Picture of Cumbria' was presented live on radio for the morning which involved members of the public contributing towards a 'painting by numbers' display created by Reeves' artist Geoff Tristram of one of my photos chosen by the BBC.

The idea behind the event was to get locals inspired to the scenic delights of the area coupled with provoking an interest in the arts. I'm pleased to say the event went extremely well with people of all ages grasping a pot of paint and painting a selected area of the canvass with brush in hand.

I have to admit, it was thrilling to see one of my photos come to life as a painting, all from the efforts of the general public. I was immensely proud to say the least. It was also nice bumping into folks sharing their thoughts on my recent film 'Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike'.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A brief respite from the storms in Wasdale

countess bridge wasdale valley lake district
Countess Bridge and the main valley road in Wasdale at sunset yesterday.

It's been a gloomy few days here in Wasdale so my wife and I have spent much of our time exploring the lower level delights of the area including the wonderful beaches nearby. Even so, there has been the odd hour or two where the clouds have parted and revealed the glories of the valley with some incredible light and contrast...

Saturday, 21 February 2015

A night on Souther Fell filming 'Life of a Mountain: Blencathra'

Clough Head from Blencathra Lake District wild camping
Clough Head from Souther Fell.

I'm sat here with a cup of tea relaxing in a holiday cottage in Wasdale contemplating where I shall take an easy wander today in the area. Temperatures have dropped, the winds have eased markedly and there's fresh snow on the fells. Perfect hillwalking conditions.

I'm also reflecting on the past week's shoots for 'Life of a Mountain: Blencathra'. Since announcing I've begun filming the documentary my phone and email inbox has been red hot with interest from both the media and public alike. I'll admit it's taken me by surprise. I had no idea to the huge amount of affection people hold what many consider to be the best mountain in the Lake District National Park. No pressure there then!

Earlier in the week, the weather looked less than ideal as I made my way from Scales to Souther Fell for a couple of nights filming. Skies were overcast and grey but as I slowly made my way higher up onto the tops seeking vantage points for my cameras, the clouds began to break with delightful beams of light reaching out to the valley bottoms from the sun. Purely magical!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Wintry delights in Wasdale and Upper Eskdale

Scafell and Scafell Pike lake district winter
The mighty Scafells at sunset from near the Eskdale Needle last week.

I've been spending quite a lot of time in the Lake District again of late. A few weeks ago I hit the ground running on two new DVDs I'm producing in the area this year. After some discussion, plans have changed slightly so what's next?

This weekend I'm set to begin filming 'Life of a Mountain: Blencathra' and last week I began the first of a few shoots for 'Upper Eskdale with David Powell-Thompson'. There's a teaser clip at the bottom of this blogpost which includes a couple of bloopers for the keen-eyed and a peek at some UAV footage I've been capturing in the area!

What with the above and another project up in the delights of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park in Scotland, folks may notice a few tumbleweeds blowing about in this corner of cyberspace. But you can see what I'm up to on Twitter and Facebook of course.

I'll admit I had been watching and waiting patiently to time my last visit right as far as the weather was concerned and it paid off handsomely. Most days were dry and calm but very cold. Most of the valley bottoms were thick with frost despite the ever rising wintry sun. Perfect hillwalking weather really.

Anyway, I must dash so here are a selection of photos from my recent visit to the Western Lakes including the teaser clip featuring David.

Monday, 2 February 2015

'A Picture of Cumbria' - BBC Radio Cumbria and Up for Arts

Yewbarrow Wasdale Lake District BBC Radio Cumbria
Yewbarrow and Wastwater - being transformed into a Painting by Numbers.

BBC Radio Cumbria & Up for Arts are setting out to kindle a passion for painting by creating a huge Paint by Numbers scene at an outside broadcast at Ulverston's Coronation Hall, Cumbria.

Listeners can pick-up a brush and be a No.1 (Sky Blue) to a No22 (Burnt Sienna) and together create A Picture of Cumbria.

Artist Geoff Tristram has created the outline - the man behind all the Painting by Numbers for Reeves who once tried (and failed) to sneak Bakewell tarts into a copy of The Last Supper.

He's traced a photograph kindly donated by Terry Abraham inspired by his mesmerising film 'Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike', for a classic slice of Lakeland beauty.

From 9am til 12pm on February 19th, Kevin Fernihough's Mid-Morning Show will be inviting all-comers to reconnect with this battery-free pastime, meet local art groups and ask what art can do to revive communities.

Friday, 16 January 2015

4 years ago I chased a dream after being made redundant

BBC Life of a Mountain Scafell Pike
A selection of reviews pre-transmission for 'Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike'

It's been a mental few days for me and my family thanks to the network premiere of my Scafells film on the BBC the other night. My phone has been red hot with calls from the press, I've had TV crews round and all the wonderful reviews from the national press of the film continue to roll in.

I'm thrilled to reveal that a smidge under one million viewers tuned in live to watch the transmission on Wednesday night too! Astonishing! BBC Four averages about 300k viewers. 'Ole Aunty' will consolidate and reveal the total figures including iPlayer et al in due course. I have to admit I'm still in a daze about it all and really have been quite moved by the public's response to the film.

I'm no fan of the TV version either! I mentioned it on the odd radio interview and even here the other week. It was extremely difficult under pressure from the Beeb to put more and more of the film into a 60 minute edit. It killed a lot of the poetic fell scenes I was keen to keep for TV. Alas, it would appear on the face of it, I hadn't any thing to be too concerned about. C'est la vie.

I was also reminded today that four years ago this month I was officially made redundant from my previous deskbound role in I.T! I'd have guessed five years to be honest. Anyway how uncanny is that given the current circumstances?

If one told me I'd be where I am today all those years ago, I'd have laughed and laughed and laughed. On reflection it's been a crazy few years too - especially for my family. I've made some great friends along the way and been humbled to the core with the support from so many of you. I'd be a nobody without the support of many of you and that's the truth.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Date set! Scafells film on BBC TV

BBC Four Life of a Mountain Scafell Pike Terry Abraham
60min abridged edit. Date set!

"...one of those plain and simple, knock 'em dead nature documentaries...a complete delight."
Radio Times, Documentary of the Week

"A beautifully filmed documentary that is good for the soul."
Daily Telegraph, TV Highlights

"With it's sweeping cinematography and sonorous score, there's a touch of the art-house classic Koyaanisqatsi about this enchanting documentary focusing on England's highest mountain."
The Guardian, Pick of the Day

2015 is here and it's starting off with a bit of a bang for me. Next week will see the first transmission on BBC TV of my recent Lakeland film 'Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike'. 9pm Wednesday 14th January on BBC Four followed by iPlayer and no doubt several repeats too over the coming 3 years (which is the duration of the contract I signed and agreed to with ole Aunty).

It's been tremendously hard work having to edit a succinct 60 minute abridged cut of the full film. Initially the BBC wished to screen the whole 2 hour edit, but due to their scheduling it was dropped to 90 minutes and then finally 60 minutes!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Pulled - Zip wire attraction in Glenridding

no zip here glenridding
Illustration of the zip wire proposals in Glenridding.

A few weeks ago, the Lake District National Park Chief, Richard Leafe and Treetop Trek owner Mike Turner attended a parish meet in Glenridding to discuss the proposals for a zip wire attraction in the area. I'm thrilled to reveal that as a consequence of the gathering, petitions and more has lead to the plans being dropped.

Mike Turner stated that if the locals overwhelmingly voted against the attraction, he'd drop all proposals and seek an alternative location in the national park. You can read more about the plans and initial petition HERE.

A parish vote was held and thankfully the vast majority chose to favour the No Zip Here campaign.

Ironically, Mike Turner has come out of all this with a lot of credit and admiration for sticking to his word with regards to engaging with the locals listening to all their points of view and of course not proceeding with the initial proposals.

However, Richard Leafe has had his reputation further tarnished in the eyes of many who live and work in the national park. Not only was he keen to promote and support the zip wire attraction, but his continued ambition to make the Lake District National Park an "adventure capital" has brought into question for many people the direction he continues to seek for the future of the area.

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Terry Abraham
Outdoors filmmaker who wild camps to capture the landscapes at their very best. Also a blogger, photographer and gear tester.

I've been known to write from time to time and am a big fan of real ales.

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