Sometimes it's hard to describe what makes this place so special, particularly to someone who hasn't experienced the culture and community here in Cumbria. For me it's the omnipresence of a landscape that hugs you as you move through it, changing skies that can be gradients of blue and orange one minute, then leaden grey with the weight of water the next. My favourite days dance the line between storm and sunshine - the light at those times is unique to this place.
Hannah Flynn singing The Parting Glass, Sprint Mill.
As well as the qualities of the landscape, there's a culture here that takes time to uncover. Luckily it's hidden from the eyes of hungry Lake District and World Heritage baggers, queuing for their Herdy mugs and Ginger Bread. The culture isn't a construct designed to sell the place, it's an ever-growing mix of stories and songs and lives devoted to the land, buildings and woodlands and secret pools in the river. It's Cumbria, and it's why I love being here.
Adam and Raymond Crowe rebuilding walls in Rusland.
Sallows singing 'Old Man, Sprint Mill.
Wayne Scurrah singing 'Desolation Peak', Sprint Mill.
I'm lucky to be friends with people who understand and keep the culture alive, who know the songs and the pools in the river. So I've tried my best to document things over the years through photography and film, to add something to the mix for others to enjoy. I've recorded twenty or so folks songs in and around Sprint Mill to date, and hope to keep this going for as long as I can. The most recent selection of songs were recorded for a film we've been making for the Guardian about farming in Cumbria. Not all of them will be used in the film, some were just captured for posterity, and because we were lucky to have the musicians in this amazing place again.
Ted Carefoot in his Workshop, Red Bank.
Sam Robinson and Hannah Flynn singing 'Blackthorn', Sprint Mill.
Big thanks to Hannah Fynn, Sam Robinson, Luke and Paul from Sallows, Wayne Scurrah, Jake Mckenna, Ben Metsers and Edward and Romela.
Paddy Rogan singing in Sprint Mill.
Let's keep the connection with the land, keep the community underground, and keep coming out of the landscape to gather and make music.