Thursday, 15 March 2012

Source of much inspiration

Bolton Castle in Castle Bolton

Ah, Yorkshire Dales, how do I love thee.

We've lived here nearly ten years now, and I'm still stunned everytime I drive up into the Dales.  Yesterday, Castle Bolton was my destination.  I narrowly avoided being late for lunch with the Swaledale Festival team due to taking the wrong road out of Richmond and ending up going to Castle Bolton via Marske and Marrick rather than over the Bellerby tank road.

As it happened, that turned out to be a good wrong choice.  Coming down off the tops, there was just enough mist left over for the whole of Swaledale to be semi-hidden behind a kind of ethereal cloud.  This sounds (and is) fanciful, but it reminded me of exactly where the notion of Mikelmerck as a border country came from. 

Purpose of visit - to scout the place out as a possible venue for some kind of awesome community drama project for 2013.  Said project is the combined brainchild of me, old mate Chris and the artistic director of the Swaledale Festival

Bolton Castle (confusingly situated in the hamlet of Castle Bolton, which mostly consists of one small church and the castle), has a ton of potential.  Most conveniently, a lot of it is still intact.  Even more conveniently, the intact bits include some large rooms linked by corridors.  There is potential here for a wonderful promenade performance of something.

Swaledale's event organiser and I hopped from room to room squeaking with delight as we discovered plentiful power sockets and handy niches suitable for suspending lights, hiding cast members and generally setting up some blissfully immersive scenes.

Before long, we'd conjured the mental image of the audience walking through a ship wreck as drowned sailors and ship rigging whirled around them to the accompaniment of a sung lament.  To be followed by arrival on a sandy beach where they would be greeted by rambuctious fisherfolk salvaging the wreck.  To be followed by them being met by the king of the island and welcomed to a feast and a tourney.

We must looked have a right pair of idiots.

Now to get to work on some serious plans.

I want it to happen.


  1. Hot damn. I wish I'd had more time to talk with you about this yesterday. Awesome.

  2. A few weeks ago I was in York and swung by Byland Abbey on the way back. Some of the most awesome ruins I've ever seen and definitely worth checking out.

    1. I know Byland and it's wonderful. As you know, this end of the country is ruin-rich, but Byland is very special.

  3. I'd love to go to York and see the Olde Worlde market place and architecture. I've always fancied staying the night in an old castle, maybe to see if there are spooks haunting the place, but mainly to get the atmosphere of the environment.