31st January 2023: Slow Ways – Stitches in the water

This year, I’ve been commissioned by Slow Ways to create walking stories. Slow Ways is creating a network of walking routes across the UK and asking people to walk, review and engage with the paths across the UK. For my first story Stiches in the water, I wanted to mark the 70th anniversary of the Great North Sea Flood in 1953 in January 2023. I’ve been exploring this theme through my work at Under Open Sky recently, and I felt drawn to see where the route took me

After taking the 7 mile route at the end of January, I spent sometime exploring what sights and sensations visually. I created a triptych of photographic painting, which will form part of my Earth Light Paintings series, created using collected cliff sand. I’m grateful to the Slow Ways for gifting me this time to walk, reflect and create

Hopton-on-Sea was living up to its name; the seawards edge felt sharp and stark. The coastal defences looked like stitches in the water. Much of this part of the route was unreachable, so I followed the redirected signs inland pointing to the ‘Alternative Coast Path’, through the caravans and fields. As I moved away from the sea, the sounds changed. The whooshing of the wind and sea was replaced by speeding cars and vans on the A47 across the ploughed land. I was unsure, again, what the next turn would be.

Unsure whether if or when I revisited this path again, would it exist? How far inland will the path travel on its Alternative Route? Or will we need to adapt further, beyond retreating and defending, like the Moken people of East Asia? These communities have learned to travel further into deeper waters for safety when the seas rise, like the dolphins do, as they have kept alive their water wisdom.

Read the full story on the Slow Ways website