Where People Once Passed….

On one of my previous blogs ‘For Peace and Tranquility’s Sake’ I made the link between my interest in photography and my love for the great outdoors.  I recognize that I am in fact really blessed to live somewhere where the glories of nature are so easily accessed, although that does not prevent me from inwardly moaning when I see the work of other photographers who live close to the sea (another passion of mine) or close to some other place of wonder… I really need to be thankful that despite the fact that my joy at the moment is more focused upon street work in Manchester, where I grew up, actually I have a wealth of locations here I can turn to when I want to return to landscape work…

Anyway this image shows the ruins of a farm at ‘Raistrick Greave’ located high on the moors above Burnley in Lancashire. I must confess this place holds some fascination for me.  I have wondered about these moors for the last 18-years and for 14 of those years had no idea this remote ruin existed.  However one Saturday in April 2011 I was walking along the ‘Burnley Way’, a local bridleway, when, on climbing atop a high ridge at a place called the ‘Gorple Stones’, I noticed the broken roof-line of this building.  To give you a very brief history, these lands offered a bare living to folk over many centuries past; hill farmers eking out a crust from sheep farming.  Hardy people they were as well, as the weather in these parts can be wild, wet and windy at the best of times, the ground sodden for most of the year…

Anyway as the local villages turned into towns – Burnley, Nelson, Colne, Halifax and the rest – so the demand for supplies of fresh drinking water grew and if there is a plentiful supply of anything in these parts, it’s rain and by the bucket-full!  As a result the land and it’s farmers and sheep-herders gave way to Victorian engineers and gangs of navvies building reservoirs galore in these parts and gathering the much-needed water for the growing populations of the industrial North…

I dare say, one day the landlord came calling and ‘invited’ the dwellers of Raistrick Greave to move on to pastures new… who knows? What is left is this empty, forlorn house that was once home… a place of birth, life and death, now empty and decaying after years of neglect but still standing; a monument to the stubborn, grafting hard-headed northern folk who down the centuries worked on this sacred soil but for whom the ‘progress of man’ had no time.

This image was captured on a Fujifilm X100 in March 2013… the skies were leaden with rain and a chill March wind offered little invitation to linger… but I wanted this image and knew this would be a great location to photograph.  But look at those gates posts… for this is where people once passed….


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