Over 220 people gathered at the Rheged Centre on Saturday 17th October eager to listen to Terry Abraham deliver the 13th Wainwright Memorial Lecture.
Terry is a filmmaker and photographer who, with a passion for the Lake District combined with a love of the British countryside, spends much of his time wild-camping on the fells where he is able capture mountain scenes that most photographers can only dream about. Last year, he released his award-winning film, Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike. As he admitted to his audience, he is able to express himself more eloquently from behind the camera than a lectern.
It was from his grandparents that he developed a love of the countryside and an appreciation of the importance of history and culture. His first visit to the Lake District was when he was thirteen and he vividly recalled a walk he made with others to Fairfield, where the sight of the sun shining through a break in the clouds onto Windermere moved him to tears. His interest in film-making developed in his twenties when he purchased a camcorder and began to make short films which he posted on YouTube; these attracted a large following of enthusiastic fans.
He discovered Wainwright after buying The Best of Wainwright, a compilation of chapters from Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides and prefaced by some biographical text written by Hunter Davies. Is there a comparison to be made between Wainwright and Terry Abraham? Terry says that some people refer to him as the ‘21st-century Wainwright’, but he does not see it that way. Yes, he is a product of the digital age, but does not even want to compare himself to Wainwright whom he regards as a genius.
As he showed clips from Scafell Pike and his next venture – about Blencathra and due for release in 2016 − it became clear that there is a close similarity because both can certainly be called creative artists capable of capturing and interpreting the beauty and majesty of the mountains.
Terry devoted part of his lecture to describing the process of filmmaking, particularly the physical demands of managing the whole process singlehandedly. This involves wild-camping on the fells, carrying a pack of up to 50kg filled with his camping and photographic equipment and spending days and nights on the fells waiting for perfect conditions for filming. He then described the technical difficulties that beset him: filming at night, for example, with dew on the lens or batteries that failed in the cold conditions, but the rewards were there to see as he played a clip from his latest offering, filmed in upper Eskdale, a sequence showing the breath-taking beauty of dawn on Esk Pike as the sun emerged from the shadows of the Far Eastern Fells.
Terry Abraham’s lecture was received enthusiastically by the audience. It was certainly an occasion to remember. Terry was thanked for his lecture by Derek Cockell and presented with honorary membership of the Society.
Photograph: L-R Derek Cockell, Secretary, The Wainwright Society, Terry Abraham -
Photo © Nick Holmes