Yes really, I’ve been learning how to use a gorilla tripod for my camera. It has flexible, grippy legs and can be fastened to branches or fence posts. This expansion of my techy knowledge is part of a project called Capturing Heritage run by the North Pennines AONB as part of their Allen Valleys Landscape Partnership Scheme.

Short films will be made by people involved in different aspects of life in this special area of the North Pennines. I’ll be adding footage from some of my walks on Isaac’s Tea Trail to a movie made by local photographer and film-maker Nat Wilkins, as well as pieces for social media and websites.

Nat is running workshops to cover filming techniques using smart phones, pocket cameras or proper dslr cameras (digital single-lens reflex, apparently. I had to ask, I’m that ignorant of this kind of kit).

Our ‘classroom’ was in the Forge Studios in Allendale. Steven, the Allen Valleys Landscape Partnership Scheme Heritage Conservation Trainee, immediately made a fine pot of coffee so I knew we were in for a good morning (caffeine quality is one of my bench marks for assessing any event).


Nat gave us some basic instructions and showed a few videos of the style he’s looking for, then we set off for Deneholme Wood to make a movie. The recent opening up of Deneholme has been a brilliant project – I walked through it for my blog posting of October 21st 2016 ‘Celebrating One Year of Blogging’; our training group headed for the entrance to the woods next to Allendale Village Hall.

While some of the film-making chat was a bit technical, some was fantastically low-tech. Here Paul Mingard demonstrates how to use a long loop of string to held a camera-phone steady.


Paul is involved in several projects in the Allen Valleys which will be chronicled in short films.

Another top tip for avoiding camera wobble is equally simple: a big blob of Blu Tack.


We spent a happy hour making a film about the work done to open up the woods to the public with Paul being interviewed about his involvement in the project, while we all produced our own footage to practise editing at the next workshop. Course participant Bryony Villiers-Stewart, who will be producing films about Allendale Folk Festival, had the added challenge of keeping her camera steady while carrying baby Anouk.


Next week’s training day will involved editing material on our laptops, then we’ll be out roaming the Allen Valleys filming events and projects, interviewing people, and recording all sorts of elements of North Pennines life.

In the meantime, there must be a joke that begins “A gorilla, a piece of string and a blob of Blu Tack go into a wood ………”

For information about Isaac’s Tea Trail go to

If you’d like more details about the Capturing Heritage project contact Steven Lipscombe, Allen Valleys Landscape Partnership Scheme Heritage Conservation Trainee on 01434 683517 or





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