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  • Writer's pictureRitchard Allaway

12/04/2024 - Goathland

9th April

Field Research: Tracing and Collection



On Tuesday the 9th of April I headed back out into the field to walk/drift, reveal traces of exoelectrogens and collect soil samples to return to my studio. I had planned this fieldtrip about a month ago as I intended to work within the parameters of the three areas of my research.


·      Walking/drifting

·      Tracing land energy

·      Extracting land samples


My chosen location was Goathland in the North Yorkshire Moors which is an hour’s drive from where I live. Goathland is a quaint small village located on the eastern side of the Moors, set between Whitby and Scarborough. Goathland is famous for being the filming location for the ITV series Heartbeat and the Warner Brothers global blockbuster Harry Potter. Aside from its celebrity status Goathland’s landscape can be traced back to pre-Roman Empire with several ancient monuments including the Simon Howe Stone Circle (2000-700BC).



With Goathland demonstrating a wonderfully rich history, this was not the reason why I visited the location. I had been to Goathland in the past on numerous occasions, and so I was familiar within the landscape and its aesthetics, which were found in multiple elements of nature (rivers/becks, hills, moorland, waterfalls, grasslands etc). For me the North Yorkshire Moors holds a vast amount of natural beauty that represents that ‘traditional/picturesque English ideal’, and I believe that there is something important within that painting that still needs to be communicated to audiences and/or brought into a contemporary perspective. Since my research locates itself within my own north-easternly position in England and Scotland I continue to visit and re-visit such landscapes that can possibly hold a hidden energy within that I deem important to reveal through an artistic means. The next paragraphs within this blog entry will discuss what walking, experiments, and sampling I undertook.


There are many set walks within the Moors and Goathland is almost one central point within those walks and so tracks run through and within. As I continue to use drifting as a method of practice I knew I needed to accept that this method might have been difficult to conceive within such a heavily routed location however, I planned to begin drifting from a specific location when reached. Mallyan Spout waterfall was an ideal place to begin drifting from. To get to Mallyan Spout I traversed down a steep track until I came to the river Esk with a signpost communicating the waterfall was to my left half a kilometre away. I took this moment to take a reading of the clay soil that was found here. The soil itself was quite yellow and due to the weather being a downpour, the soil was moist and easy to dig and bag up. I took a reading of 0.873 volts with a cathode and anode dug into the ground. Although not a volt, this singular cathode and anode read significantly high and if I was to connect an insulated E.B up, I am sure I would have been able to collect a significant amount of energy through a capacitor. After collecting a soil sample, I walked to the Mallyan Spout Waterfall along the river Esk bank. It was difficult to reach as the river was high and flowing fast, and much of the lower riverbank was submerged in water. I had to climb and clamber over boulders to reach the waterfall in which I was able to directly stand underneath. This was not a fast-flowing fall with a heavy waterfall, it was more of a mist fall that would cause no harm to a human.




After reaching the waterfall I began to allow nature to direct my movement through the landscape. Due to the severe weather conditions this became quite a difficult challenge. The ground was boggy and very slippery in many places. Water had flooded several areas, and some areas were unpassable, and I had to let nature find me another route to pass within this landscape. The landscape was made up of the river Esk, muddy banks, grass planes, forestry, mossy rocks, and boulders covered in rich green lichen. It was a wonderful collection of natural elements working together and although the weather was severe, the rain and wind emphasized colour and sound throughout the landscape. I wanted to discover what energy was hidden within and throughout this collection of natural elements and so I began to place into the ground an earth battery. I set this battery up with my cathodes and anodes as a live working sculpture, just like I did in Northumberland. I once again demonstrated my drift, and I once again revealed the energy within the landscape with a reading of 9.09v. With this reading, it reveals that the exoelectrogen count living within the landscape is significantly high and that there exists a rich network of micro-organisms. I extracted a soil sample and bagged it up and labelled.




I packed up my earth battery and set off again on my walk. The weather was getting worse, but I pushed through and continued to enjoy where I found myself after each footstep forward. Those footsteps started to lead me up a steep hillside that was slippy and hard to gain a footing. I slipped at one point, but I was holding my trowel and as I fell, I planted the trowel into the hillside to anchor me to my position, stopping my fall. Quite a fun action scene I must say. I felt like I was in the movie Cliffhanger, except that this was on a small Yorkshire hillside that did not pose any significant threat to my life… but hey, let me have my moment. After I stopped thinking I was Stallone, I found myself a series of rocky steps with plank boards to cement them into the hillside. These were a relief to come across as I was able to climb without a struggle. I ascended the stairs and came to a clearing. I looked back and I was on the treeline looking into the river valley. The clearing in front of me was of moorland, with bracken and heather dominating the surface of the land. I stopped at a tree to catch my breath, have some lunch, and gain a bit of relief from the weather.



Within my break, I used this opportunity to sample the soil and take another reading. 0.946v, still a high output even when now that I found myself within the moorland. Mossy lichen was present with where I stood, and I wonder whether that evidenced a rich abundance of bacteria and micro-organisms. I bagged up my sample and made a note of the reading. I began to walk along the moorland, and I came across a road which I know lead to Goathland. I did not allow that road to drift me towards the village and so crossed the road and walked further into the hilly moorland. Surrounded by sheep and uneven landscape I headed towards the upper parts of the headland, but wind and rain continued to batter me. The further I walked out in the open and high up in the landscape the difficulty increased and so I had to make the decision to abandon the rest of the walk, which was saddening to do so. I do believe that safety must be taken seriously, and I did not want to put any risk on myself or my partner. It was that decision that I headed back into Goathland to find retreat within my car. I said I would return to continue and complete this walk/drift when the weather will hopefully be clearer.


With this fieldtrip I came across a rich collection of natural elements and I was presented with areas of landscape that demonstrated a high output of exoelectrogens and other micro-organisms when a reading was taken. Although I was visually given an appealing landscape to be within, what was important was that evidence suggested that this aesthetically pleasing landscape was being fed by a hidden living system working underground. With the samples collected I will break them down and extract the micro-organisms and bacteria to reveal through an artistic means the hidden energies.

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