Lake District Recordings – An Introduction

Every year, my father and I take a trip away in the van to camp, explore and drive around the UK. We’ve been to many places over the years in all directions but this year we opted for West Scotland with plans to catch the ferry to the Isle of Arran, before moving up to Inverness and Fort William and finally dropping back down to Liverpool for my university graduation.

This was the first holiday I would have with my little DR-05 recorder to hand and I was brimming with excitement at the possible opportunities I’d have to test it out. When it came to it, we spent a week in the Isle of Arran but decided to skip Inverness and Fort William due to bad weather that was forecast and instead headed to the Lake District in pursuit of the sunshine. Within hours of arriving, I knew it was going to be one of the best places we had ever visited – what an absolute beauty!

But, on to the recordings! As predicted, I found myself facing oodles of opportunities to whack out my recorder and naturally with the Lake District, most of them were water based. We came across dozens of small streams, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and more and the thing that I instantly found myself admiring was just how unique every single sound was. It’s something I’ve often appreciated but sitting down and recording water sources back to back, I started to analyse how the slightest changes can have the biggest impacts. If I moved some of the rocks around, suddenly the sound took on an entirely new personality. If there was a large branch in the way, I would hear how the water splits. If it dropped over a verge, I would get the splash, gurgle and bubble of the water making its descent. Adversely, if it was just a straight stretch, I got the calm and consistent trickle of the water’s uninterrupted journey. I had a blast, recording big waterfalls and gushing streams, and also tiny trickles and small spouting water sources. There was an infinite supply of material and I was in my element.

Like with most field recordings, I had obstacles to deal with too. The Lake District understandably attracts a lot of tourists and so I found myself doing the bulk of my recordings in the harder to reach and more isolated places to make sure I got some good takes. Some recordings, such as those I did of a gorgeous little stream under a bridge in a place called Wast Water, were intruded upon by cars driving over the bridge or people walking around nearby. Once again, persistent and aching thighs from crouching underneath the bridge got me some usable takes, so you definitely need some steely determination to get results!

I’ve attached a few pictures of the places that we visited, and I’ll be uploading several more blog posts talking about the individual recordings I made, including a small diesel train journey, various rivers and waterfalls and even a tasty thunderstorm! You can find the links here and, as always, comments and feedback are appreciated! Enjoy!


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