Oliver East creates landscape comics, wandering through places and documenting his journeys. For the third collaboration in our Blank Canvas Project, we invited Oliver to re-trace Millican Dalton’s footsteps over two days, drawing along the way. The outcome is this truly unique bag, capturing his own perspective of a man who was renowned in this landscape.
Words & Photography by Jeffrey Bowman
Day 01 | 9.30am | 28.02.15 Setting off from YHA Borrowdale youth-hostel; grey, wet but optimistic. We headed off into the land unknown with a map, a sketchbook and a good reason.
Day 01 | 10:45am | 28.02.15 Stood on-top of Castle Crag, we overlooked what was once the place Millican called home, where he roamed and sought his adventure.
Day 01 | 11:10am | 28.02.15 We stumbled upon our first cave, Oliver walked in to find what looks like a ‘tramp’s den’, he emerged from the crack to confirm this was not the cave we seeked.
Day 01 | 13:00pm | 28.02.15 THE CAVE! This time we’d found it, hidden along the riverbank of High Hows Wood. We sat for an hour while Oliver filled his pages with sketch after sketch. Sitting there we understood why Millican chose this as his home; free, quiet and humbling.
Day 01 | 17:00pm | 28.02.15 Back at the youth hostel we consulted our map, an early start would see us head to Millican’s favourite climbing spot, Napes Needle. Outside the winds roared.
WILD, WET & WINDY
Day 02 | 05:30am | 01.03.15 Early to bed, early to rise. We were greeted with a calmer morning, but that was because we were sheltered by the mass of Great Gable as we took the path from Seathwaite up toward Needle Ridge.
Day 02 | 07:30am | 01.03.15 It wasn’t until we reached Styhead Tarn that we realised what was in store; 70mph wind and a biting cold. This did not deter us – well not yet at least.
Along the path Oliver would stop and draw. This is the first time he’s tried this method – he normally draws from memory. Facing into the wind he swiftly captured the energy of our adventure on page after page while the wind swirled around him.
Day 02 | 09:30am | 01.03.15 Along Needle Ridge we went, taking it very steady as the scree below fell away – you wouldn’t want to go tumbling down there. The wind continued to roar, the cold got colder and the mist of cloud covered our way. We battled for 2 hours to find the Needle. We found it, for one fleeting moment, then made a hasty exit.
Day 02 | 15:00pm | 01.03.15 From the comfort of the pub in Braithwaite, we watched as the snow piled in blanketing the surrounding mountains. Lucky to have made it in and out, and even luckier to have made such a journey.
The artist and me, retracing the footsteps of a man who found independence and freedom in the Lakeland fells.