As I had finished listing my catalogue of obsessions, another occurred to me that needs more explanation than a single line. Harthill is a local landmark in my home village Gildersome.
It served when we were children, as a place to go to get away from the roads & adult supervision during those wonderfully long summer holidays. Every fine day we would set out from our respective homes plotting a course for adventure that was only restricted by imagination..
After passing the triangulation point that gave Harthill its land mark status, we would follow the twisting track around the hill & down in to the valley below. Ahead was the site of a derelict farm house, our destination.
That farm house I believe when we first started visiting it actually had a roof & upstairs floors, but over time as numerous gangs of children visited the site, it was slowly but surely demolished. I have no idea who owned it, I am guessing it was the farmer who would pass us as we played & wave back to us. Never once were we challenged or told to leave his land, probably because we never crossed his fields of crops or damaged them.
Idyllic child hood days gave way to more mature pursuits, then Harthill became a place to share a Sunday afternoon with the love of my life. When I was leaving for New Zealand I even took my daughter there for one last visit, even though I had not been to the site for 15 years or so. Not a great deal was left by then, a couple of outside walls were still standing but along with my old secondary school & my grandparent’s graves,it was a visit I had to make.
The photographs were taken during the mid seventies when I was around 17, you can see the remoteness of the place & in the distance the city of Leeds, what parents would allow their children to roam this far away from home today?
I have written around 10 separate pieces of music trying to capture the solitude, peace & fun that we experienced there, but as with any muse it always seems to escape me. My guess is that all that remains now will be my photographs, music & memories.