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Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team

Man of Kinder

By Hati Whiteley
31, May, 2017

Bamford photographer, John Beatty, captures his connection with Kinder

In a previous episode of Mountain Podcast, Christopher Sleight explored the idea of The hills I call home', what it is that takes us back to the same places over and over. Based around the Isle of Arran and mountaineer and mountain rescue member Kirstie Smith who grew up and life long resident there, he starts the epsiode elluding to a quote of John Muir from Our National Parks - going to mountains is going home, that wildness is a neccesity. "I love the bit about how going to the mountains is going home, that there's comfort in familiar hills, comfort in mountains that we return to again and again. They're the hills we call home... I mean, when does a view like this get old."

Not far from our doorstep we have used Kinder as our space between in the latest issue of our Outpost magazine, a place to escape, surrounded by our busy daily lives, part of some peoples daily lives. One person who knows this area intimately is photographer John Beatty who has lived in the Peak District for 60 years and Kinder Scout is his back yard. It was his story and love for this area that meant we couldn't resist getting his take on it. Renowned for his captivating and wild perspectives on nature, travel, and adventure, Bamford-based photographer John Beatty's work exudes the philosophy of keeping it simple, and leaves you infused with appreciation for the beauty, simplicity, and timelessness of the natural environment. 

"Every Sunday morning in the early 1960s my Dad took our family up to Hayfield to walk for half an hour to Kinder Reservoir.

That was as far as we ever went, just to look over the wall and across the water to the huge western flank of Kinder Scout. We finally made it to the Downfall on a cold February day in 1965, momentous for me and the beginning of a lifetime of hiking the wild moors of Kinder Scout, the people’s mountain. Everyone needs a ‘home patch’, a place to be away from the world, briefly, to catch one’s breath from the fast pace of our lives. In this space between childhood and today, I have run, walked, climbed, and cycled on and around Kinder Scout thousands of times, always drawn to the wild emptiness, and the sculptured gritstone ramparts that encircle and guard the summit plateau. To be out on a bright spring morning along the rim rocks of Crowden Brook, and to hear the returning curlew, reminds me that this not just a journey on a map, but an exploration that relates to a relationship with elemental forces of nature; the wind, the snow, the rain, the shapes of land... the space.

The wild out there, is the wild within."

Since his audio-visual debut with Touch the Earth in 1984, John's work, both corporate and independent, has included audio-visual programmes, articles, and six published books.

His projects have taken him on major expeditions across the world, from several months in Antartica to a 400 mile traverse of the Greenland icecaps. He's photographed everywhere from the Himalayas to the Pacific Islands, from the American Deserts to the European Alps, and many places in between. However, no matter where he ventures, something always brings him back to the wildlands of Britain, to the windswept tors of Cornwall, the white strands of the Outer Hebrides, and above all the sculptured gritstone ramparts of Kinder, the people's mountain, where he discovered his passion for hillwalking over 50 years ago.

John's depictions of his 'home patch' will feature in Kinder: The People's Mountain, with words by Ed Douglas, which will be published by Vetebrate Publishing in Autumn 2017.

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