So, what have I been doing this month? Well, latterly, I have been enjoying the beautiful weather, walking with my camera and looking at the history of the iron ore line to Consett, closed in 1965 as a result of the Beeching Report. It is now open as a public path, part of the National Cycleway and a Bridlepath.
The section around Lanchester, the Lanchester Valley Walk, is particularly attractive and has several features of historical interest, notably the Knitsley Viaduct/Hurbuck Embankment, where the original wooden trestle bridge was filled in with smelter slag in about 1915 to form an embankment; the original wooden bridge is still there, entombed.
The lovely weather has brought on the vegetation very quickly – Cowslips are now past their best and Flowering Cherry has already finished, but May trees and Lilac are just starting to come into bloom.
Earlier in the month, I was in the Mediatheque looking at films about Otters. The collection contains the wonderful classic “Tarka the Otter” and several other notable films. The earliest of these is a remarkable little gem from 1912, yes, pre-First World War, and has a sequence, the earliest known, of an otter catching fish under water. Technically remarkable, quite apart from a triumph of filming this shy animal in the wild.
To find these films, put “Otter” into the search field of the Mediatheque; there aren’t many films, and most are quite short, so you can have some great entertainment in a short afternoon.