ISAAC AND THE DRONE

Last month I was underneath Isaac’s Tea Trail exploring a former lead mine, now I’ve seen what it’s like to hover above it. As part of a project to make short videos about life in the North Pennines I was joined on a walk by a drone.

Its owner James Little brought the device to film a section of the Black Way near Sparty Lea.

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Also with us, to film at ground level, was Steven Lipscombe who is running the ‘Capturing Heritage’ project in the North Pennines AONB as part of the Allen Valleys Landscape Partnership Scheme. All I had to do was walk.

It’s quite hard to walk naturally when you’re being filmed. I set off trying to hold my stomach in, trying to hold my thighs in, trying to channel Julia Bradbury’s confident swinging stride. The drone danced above me and around me, buzzing and humming like an over-excited aerial pet.

James controlled it from below with two little joysticks on the handheld transmitter, where he could also watch the bird’s eye pictures it was transmitting.

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I was still trying to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other as normally as possible, so I was quite relieved when our short walk came to an end. This was my first time up close and personal with a drone, and know they are controversial. I could see (and hear) how annoying and intrusive they would be if used irresponsibly when other people and wildlife are around. We did get the landowner’s permission and chose a location that is normally deserted. We also spoke to the couple in the only house in the area, and checked for livestock nearby that could be spooked by the drone, so we felt we’d created minimal disturbance.

Steven and I then moved to Keenley Chapel, west of Allendale, to continue making our video about Isaac’s Tea Trail. For this section I only had to master sitting down.

Perched on a stile I did a four-minute piece to camera chatting about Issac’s Tea Trail and my blog, which I’ve now been running for almost two years.

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I’d checked on the latest statistics, and the blog has had 9,074 views in 22 countries (although the host website lists the Isle of Man as a country, so I’d better say 21). Apparently the most popular time for reading it is 2pm on a Sunday.

Walking back to the car Steven asked to film another ‘walking as normally as possible’ shot through a lovely stretch of woodland, then we headed into Allendale.

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After filming a few Isaac-related landmarks we reckoned we had enough material. Our little movie will appear on various North Pennines AONB Partnership websites and social media next month.

It will also be on this blog IF Steven has made me look 21 years old and a size 10.

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5 thoughts on “ISAAC AND THE DRONE

  1. Dear Anne

    I love your blog but was horrified to see that you had been accompanied by a drone. These nasty toys are ruining the peace and quiet of my Cape Cod village, disturbing birdlife, as well as birders and walkers. Please, no more drones.

    Jane Sharp jmosharp@aol.com

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    1. Hello Jane, and thank you for getting in touch. That was my first time up close and personal with a drone, and I can see (and hear) how annoying and intrusive they would be if used irresponsibly when other people and wildlife are around. We did get the landowner’s permission and chose a location that is normally deserted. We also spoke to the couple in the only house in the area, and checked for livestock nearby that could be spooked by the drone, so I hope we created minimal disturbance.
      Anne

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    2. Hello Jane, thank you for your comment.
      Anne has touched upon the thought and planning that went into the use of the drone for this piece. I have used drones for botanic survey work and mapping, where they have become a massive asset to conservation work. However, they certainly are not everyone’s cup of tea, and its use for something light hearted was carefully considered and communicated to those likely to be affected. With all use of public land, it is a shared resource and consideration is paramount. I would certainly be the first to advocate discretion and tact with the use of drones when others are around.
      Steven

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  2. Looking forward to seeing the snippets of footage from the walk out and the chat to camera. I agree that they can be intrusive if not used carefully but do produce some fantastic footage that can be inspiring and shared wider. Love the underground, overground reference….you may yet be an honorary womble.

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