On the Way to Venice

The Pennine Way with Anthony Schrag

Lothersdale has the biggest water wheel in England
Lothersdale has the biggest water wheel in England

It all starts with a beautiful train journey. I change in Carlisle, train to Skipton, and the lush landscape, the tunnels, the Ribblehead viaduct (I love the Victorians, they are mental). John, a volunteer, on the Settle-Carlisle line, walks past, with essential information, on the historic and environmental features, stunning, they serve local ice cream here, and lemonade, and homemade cakes, unheard off, what a treat. Anthony at the station, in Skipton, 2 men ask whether he is the man who walks to Venice, he says YES, catch up at the Sheep Café, with orange-lavender cake, write card, for Rachael, for Nick. Ann, from Eaststreet Arts (Leeds) picks us up, at the Narrow Boat pub, fetch pizza, postbox, drive to mystery place, disused office, of a private owner, 5 others there, on Ann’s foldout garden chairs, artists and people from EastSt, pizza, talk art, and walking, they know Nuno, and Jeanne van Heeswijk. Drive to Ann’s house, in Crosshills, she tells us about all her children, her cycling, and running, she is off soon with her siblings, on a weekend, out doing 80k of walking, to catch up with them, and their lives, post children. Ann gives us strawberries, Anthony fixes kettle plug, the bed is nice.

Müsli, drive, Skipton, park at cemetery, off on country road, over the hill, up, up, they are faster, ok, better get myself in gear, am an old beatle against those Ferraris, the landscape, so different, from Scotland, a massive jigsaw, intersected by drystone walls, the walls become a constant changing feature, limestone, then sandstone, later they look like bricks, is there anywhere a map of all the walls in Yorkshire?, in Britain, Lothersdale, a charming little village, fancy buying a house here, few nice ones for sale, here is the largest waterwheel in England, 45ft wide, can’t see it, its locked, a woman wants to refurbish it. The paths, wonderful, we are on the Pennine Way, little acorns signpost it, 438k/20 days, the Cicerone book says, Anthony does it in half of that, I think, its sunny, and green, Ann leaves us, at Middleton/Cowling, a small huddle of houses, rivals, the people of Middleton and Cowling, since centuries, she says, the skies break open, we get soaked, eat rest of the pizza, shelter of one of the many walls, up, up, wonder on through Brontë inspired land,Top Withins, Wuthering Heights, Emily B’s only novel, sign post in Japanese, sadly, we are very wet, the flagstones, can’t get over them, stunning, who built all this?, must be forced labour, but maybe not. We talk Venice, what sort of event, need to reply to Elisabetta, to Camilla, what is it all aboot?, the venue, does it matter?, Barbara Steveni, questioned why I go to Biennials, don’t know, opportunity to meet artists, in their studios, in their place, I am an exoticist, I know it, should just declare it, is it all about nations then?, this Venice thing?, Anthony wants to do a shortcut, shortcuts sludge, grudge, over a hill, but still, it is his will.
Arrive at Colden, Karen’s house, A’s host, for tonight, near the farm shop, buy chocolate, for tomorrow, Karen wrote a phd, about walking, and artists, and how it could be a methodology, I want to know more, but need to go, leave my boots, to Hebden, Hebden Bridge, too pretty to be true, was this once one of Thatcher’s poverty strips?, all beautiful, gentrified, one could say, the houses look like in a European city, multi-story, but a small place. Ruth, from Creative Scenes, is waiting, at the converted church, with the hostel, where I sleep, tomato soup, need to get myself in gear, talk Deveron A, Empty Shop, Tubers, Music for Streetfights, …, almost an hour, people lough, woman asks whether it has to be humorous?, Anthony talks too, his work, a bit of walk, too, people lough, chat, with pies, to the Creative Scenes volunteers, nice teacher, tells me about the tension in her school, in Dewsbury, they had a young man, who went to Syria, he was only 17, they think he is with ISIS, need to check where Dewsbury is. Anthony goes to Karen, many questions by the nice people of Dewsbury. The hostel man wants my passport, I don’t have one, not a good German, he says, takes my credit car number, writes it into the guestbook. Plug phone, text poor Rachael, good night!

Lunch break on the Pennine Way
Lunch break on the Pennine Way

Day 2: Taxi to Colden, boots on, off we go, with Karen, steep down, up again, she tells us, the mill workers would walk everyday 6-7 miles to work, this is why all those paths are here, nothing to do with tourism, all to do with economy, lovely paths, wished we had them in Scotland, no need for the right to roam, if you have all those paths. Callis Bridge, meet Nancy (Creative Scenes Director), Ruth, Duncan and Lee, he is the blogger of Creative Scenes, he takes pictures, and walks with me, with a tape recorder, he asks what tips we could give, for Dewsbury, don’t know, I say, never seen it, need to see it, its a big place, too big to handle, probably, take a small section, Len and Nancy leave us, at Todmorden, we charge on, the Ferraris first, the beetle in its own time, up, up, up, to Marland Reservoir, Duncan is a tea maker, he invented instant tea, tries to make a business of it, he is also a CS volunteer, tells me about the tension, in Dewsbury, and the boys, that might have gone to Syria. Is this Dewsbury’s fame, now?, centuries after the textile?, Ruth and Duncan, leave at the reservoir, walk high up along the Warland drain, across the moor, across, in the wind, the drizzle, talk Venice again, why are we doing this?, the venue, church, Zimbabwean pavilion, community hall, he does not mind, down to the White House pub, soup, tea, a bit of drying up, we are wet, cross the road, up, again, this is where we went wrong, not sure where, but wrong, the M62, cross it, wrong place, another of Anthony’s (bless him) shortcuts, over a drystone wall, barbed wire fence, knee deep wet grass, another walk, mist, mist,

P1070830his knee the only step, too exhausting, through the reservoir, up, up, up, only a second, to say good bye, see you in London, charge on, the path is clear, no shortcuts, as fast, as possible, time the miles, doing well, another reservoir, Pennine way again, a man, with a tripod, talks about the weather, sorry, no time, cross road, flagstones, endless flagstones, need to take a picture, they are so amazing (regret that later, as this was the missing minute for the train), down, down, don’t slip, another man, sorry no time, down, down, reach Marsden, see the Standedge tunnel, why I wanted to go to Marsden (never told Anthony), 2+k from here, never realized, walk, as fast, fast as I can, no drink, since Whitestone, in those boots, no running, too heavy, another man, says it’s a mile, 8 min, too far, the train station, I see the train, heading to the famous tunnel…
I eat my chocolate, from the Colden farm shop, in 1 minute.

Thanks Anthony, for a great 2 days along the Pennine Way. I look forward to doing it one day with bags of time on my hands (and legs).

Flagstone paths
Flagstone paths

Die Gedanken sind frei
Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,
sie fliehen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.
Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen
es bleibet dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!
Ich denke was ich will und was mich beglücket,
doch alles in der Still’, und wie es sich schicket.
Mein Wunsch, mein Begehren kann niemand verwehren,
es bleibet dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Und sperrt man mich ein im finsteren Kerker,
das alles sind rein vergebliche Werke.
Denn meine Gedanken zerreißen die Schranken
und Mauern entzwei, die Gedanken sind frei!
Drum will ich auf immer den Sorgen entsagen
und will mich auch nimmer mit Grillen mehr plagen.
Man kann ja im Herzen stets lachen und scherzen
und denken dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!
Die Gedanken sind frei!

Thoughts are free
Thoughts are free, who can guess them,
they flee past like nightime shadows.
No one can know them, no hunter can kill it/shoot it dead
It remains: The thoughts are free!
I think what I want and what makes me happy,
but always inwardly, and as it suits.
My wish, my desire no one can deny,
It remains: The thoughts are free!
And if someone locks me in the dark/gloomy prison,
All that is absolutely wasted work.
Because my thoughts pull the barriers to pieces
and walls in two, the thoughts are free!
I want to renounce forever the worries/sorrows
and want to never again plague myself with whims
One can in the heart always laugh and joke
and think: The thoughts are free!
The thoughts are free!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s