Thursday, February 27, 2020

name walks

The first thing I did when I began my residency with Paths for All is take out the maps for a few locations where I knew there were walking groups I might work with. I noted some of the more interesting names and sourced translations of their meanings.

From these names I could then make pairs that suggested imaginary walks, or walk poems, if a poem can be such a simple thing as a pair of names. 

These walks are not necessarily routes that make sense, on the ground. I'm not sure if anyone will ever walk them. Rather the thematic connections offer an awareness of what names tell us about landscapes and ecologies.

As large numbers of people are forced into isolation and walking groups cease their activities for weeks, perhaps months, name walks are one imaginative way to remain connected to the landscape.

The examples illustrated here relate toPFA walk groups in Moodiesburn, North Lanarkshire, and Hospitalfields, Arbroath. They express all of the common-sense that names contain – where to find different things, what species belong where, the lows and highs of the land. 

And they invite a walker to consider what was is and could be on a local walk. 

Are there lapwings calling on Peasiehill. 

What the berries are growing around the fank – fold or pen – at Berryfauld?

The gled is a kite: there are only a couple of hundred of breeding pairs in Scotland so they will be rare now locally.

Barrs recalls the Gaelic that lies beneath names in this region, as it comes straight from bàrr, top or head.

These posts are published as part of a year-long artist in residence, funded by Paths for All.

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