These shots were taken up at Errwood Reservoir in the Goyt Valley.
It was dusk and a mist had descended over the hills. It was eerily calm, quiet and beautiful.
Followers of my Instagram account would be forgiven for thinking that I live in some sort of moorland idyll judging by the photos I post. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. I live in a mediocre suburb of Stockport in north west England. However, I am extremely fortunate to have the aforementioned idyll on my doorstep within a half-hour drive. And even luckier to have a car to get me there.
Many of us yearn for foreign climes, but I have discovered so many beautiful places close to where I live.
When I say ‘I discovered’, I think someone else might’ve been there before me. Judging by the roads. And the reservoir. And signposts. And farm buildings.
Welcome to the third instalment of Reflections on Lockdown. Today, I’ll be focussing on nature and photography.
One of the things my children and I have been doing a lot more of during lockdown is getting out into the beautiful countryside that is on our doorstep. In the early days of lockdown, we’d just drive around and not get out of the car. More recently, we’ll go for a wander making sure to wear masks and social distance. Not that we see any bugger else where we go.
Where I live in the North West of England is on the edge of the Peak District, East Cheshire and the Yorkshire Dales. We’re truly blessed to have such stunning scenery so close by.
So, this post is as much about the benefits of being in and around nature as it is about art. The art aspect is the photographs I take along the journey. (And yes, I saturate the bejaysus out of them when I get home.) In my defence, manipulating the images only brings out what is already there in nature. It just needs teasing out.
Apparently, spending two hours per week is scientifically, (yes, scientifically), proven to lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormone levels and boost the immune system. (Amongst other things.) A bit of old vitamin D from the sun can’t hurt either.
We’re lucky in that we have a car. But you don’t have to go miles to get your daily dose of nature. There are plenty of parks and urban green spaces to get your fix. Take a few snaps on your phone, or even take a sketch pad with you.
Here are a few shots I’ve taken over the last few months. I’ll try to put where they are if I can remember.
So, we’re starting to build a picture as to the state of my mental health during lockdown and the role that art has played in my recovery. I hope you enjoy this instalment of ‘Reflections of Lockdown’.
If you, or someone you know, are experiencing mental health issues, call your GP or self refer to your local mental health team, (usually based at your local hospital).
If things are a bit more urgent than that you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123. Or call the NHS on 111, they will treat your illness as seriously as they do any other.
If you want to see more of my photos and artwork follow me on Instagram: @milligancroft
I took my girls to the Medieval Fayre at Tatton Park near Knutsford in Cheshire on Saturday.
It was packed with stalls and tents, traders and artisans, selling replica medieval goods and artefacts, all the while dressed in traditional garb. (Though, I’m not sure my kids were convinced by my argument that they didn’t take Visa back in medieval times.)
As well as all the trading, you could try your hand at falconry. Or, more precisely, your wrist.
If you were feeling a tad more Agincourt, you could flex those shoulder muscles and give archery a twang.
Then, to cap it all off, there was a mock battle between two Plantagenet forces.
I do love history, but I’ve never been to a battle re-enactment before. I’ve always thought of them as being a bit nerdy. But it was absolutely brilliant. My girls loved it too.
The boom from the canons made the ground shake and went right through me. I had to have at least three de-fibs.
Anyhow, you’ve missed it now. It was only on for Saturday and Sunday. But I’d thoroughly recommend it if you see one coming to a battlefield near you.