The View from the Fells – In the Footsteps of Marie Hartley

‘Nature in the Yorkshire Dales’ Series

These five prints came about after I created ‘Marie’s List’ and I hope to keep adding designs to it in the future. I like the ‘cigarette card’ format and enjoyed inking and wiping the plates ‘à la poupée’, which means applying different colours to separate areas of the collagraph plate before carefully wiping them back to reveal the details. It is the closest that my form of collagraph printmaking comes to painting.

I love the meditative quality of this method of inking and I can see parallels between this painstaking focus and the meticulous engraving required for Marie’s prints.

Bird’s Eye Primrose

Marie’s stunning tiny engraving of a Bird’s Eye Primrose is one of my favourites and gave me the idea for my own version. I’ve seen these lovely flowers on the banks above Pen-y-Ghent Ghyll, going up Buckden Pike, at Yockenthwaite and in great numbers at Sulber on the way up Ingleborough.  I ran there from Horton-in-Ribblesdale many times during lockdown and there were huge drifts of them intermingled with early purple orchids.

Lady’s Slipper Orchid

The lady’s slipper orchid used to be fairly common across the Yorkshire Dales National Park but it is now one of the rarest species in the UK with the Yorkshire Dales having the only, closely guarded, site left where the wild orchids can be found. I have been very fortunate to see it as a reintroduced species at Kilnsey Park Trout Farm.

Red Squirrel

Red squirrels can be seen at a few places in the Yorkshire Dales National Park but one of the most reliable sites for a good viewing is at Snaizeholme. Marie & Ella write about Snaizeholme in their Wensleydale book long before the red squirrel reserve was set up at Mirk Pot Farm.

Little Owl

Over the last year or so I have regularly seen barn owls, tawny owls and little owls and once was lucky enough to see a short-eared owl whilst ascending Swarth Fell in Mallerstang. I like the fact that, in broad daylight, you can often spot a little owl staring down at you from a barn apex, fence post or road sign.

Brown Hare

I have been depicting hares in my work for many years, so I was really delighted to see them whilst researching this project. My best sightings were twice on the lower flanks of Addlebrough and hunkered down in a field at Keld.