‘This work is about the social nature of landscape. Landscape is a very vigorous, powerful, challenging subject to deal with and people are very much part of it. I am so pleased my brother and his people did the run today. Mountain running is such a beautiful, poetic celebration of a hill.’
The route run by John and his team on 28th September 2008 can be seen on the map shown here. The runners set off from the Byre down the track leading to Moniaive, then cut up along the edge of the forest towards Bail Hill, choosing this open route (for the views) over the forest track a little further back. Following a course again skirting the forest, they ran over the hilltops (Transparra, Mulwhanny, Blackcraig Hill) and down and up relatively steep-sided glens to reach Colt Hill. From there, they cut across to the Southern Upland Way, following it as far as Benbrack, before heading south-east towards Dibbin Lane. Near Little Dibbin Hill, there is a fence and then a glade that opens up to the left; after turning right from the glade, they cut down to join Dibbin Lane about 200 metres from its end in the glen, and then crossed a ford and a field before reaching the home straight up the track to the Byre.
Inaugural Fell Run
The video - which lasts 9 minutes and 16 seconds - can be paused at any point: hover over the image to view the video controls.
The official launch of Striding Arches took place at Cairnhead on 28th September 2008. To celebrate the occasion, fifteen fell runners and a dog tackled the 16 to 18 kilometre (10 to 12 mile) run, starting from the Byre at 9.00 am. The forecast was – not untypically – for wind and rain, but as is often the case in Dumfries & Galloway, the weather was quite different, and both the runners and those awaiting their return to the Byre enjoyed a beautiful, sunny early autumn day. At 1.00 pm, the runners arrived back, as scheduled. This was, for Andy Goldsworthy, a first exhilarating step towards achieving his most cherished aim for the project, that the sculpture should develop and become complete through the interaction of walkers and runners with it.
In the months before the inaugural run, John Goldsworthy, brother of Andy Goldsworthy, had run several times much of the course that the team eventually followed, often encountering less than benign weather conditions. He reports that even in good weather while parts of the route are ‘like running on a playing field’ and others – both on the uplands and down in the glen are ‘very boggy indeed’. (The usual warnings to take care when tackling a walk in this environment apply – click here for more information.)