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.
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.
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.
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.
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.