A new view of the Dales: Strap a live video camera to your woolly hat

IT is a step beyond the traditional attire for a day's ramble in the Dales. But walkers are now packing an extra accessory to accompany the usual equipment of a map, flat cap and pair of sturdy boots.

A new art project from two Keighley-based artists has been launched to strap cameras to ramblers' heads and stream the footage unedited on to the internet.

Apart from recording the breathtaking beauty of some of the most unspoilt countryside in Britain, it has also thrown up some unexpected results.

Walkers have been filmed arguing over wrong directions, fighting off an unruly horse chewing through the camera chord, stumbling across birds of prey soaring through the sky and being brought to the verge of tears as the cold and tired legs kick in.

Not to mention the quizzical stairs of fellow ramblers as they wander past.

Now plans are being drawn up to turn the footage into a feature-length film.

Shanaz Gulzar, 39, who launched the 7,000 project with Steve Manthorp, 59, after getting funding from Chrysalis Arts in Gargrave, said: "We have had a lot of different people doing it and the results have been fantastic so far.

"People just forget they are wearing the cameras and it is really interesting what people talk about while they are walking.

"We had a family with two children and a dog doing it in Malham and you see them going through a whole range of emotions - at one point there is an argument between the mum and the dad because she is getting really tired.

"We also have had two walkers falling out over something and you see both cameras marching off in opposite directions.

"The walks are long and we want to people to take their time over this - some of the landscape they go over is just incredible.

"We wanted to do the project to encourage people out of art galleries and look at what is around them.

"A lot of the people who have taken part in the project so far are regular walkers but we also wanted to make these beautiful walks accessible to people who cannot get out there for whatever reason.

"The response from other walkers is very funny.

"You see a lot of people on film getting stopped and asked whether they are doing something to study the nature or whether they are working for the police.

"Sometimes you just see them getting these strange looks."

Hazel Cameron, 51, of Masham, was one of the first to take part in the project with her 70-year-old friend Elizabeth Gibbs, when the pair strapped the cameras on their heads to take an eight-mile hike from Malham to Malham Tarn.

"It was a bit strange at first", she said, "And we were both very conscious of having cameras on our heads, especially as we were getting some strange looks from the people we were passing.

"But they are actually very light and sit on your head just like a hat.

"After a while you start to forget about it and we started chatting to other people and amongst ourselves oblivious to the fact we were being recorded.

"At one point we couldn't agree where we were going and were clustered around the map trying to work it out, it must be funny to see.

"Neither of us have watched the footage back because it would be a bit strange to see but it was a brilliant experience and very memorable.

"The scenery the walk took us over is just so terrific and even though we are both regular walkers in the Dales it took us somewhere we usually would not go."

The next camera walks are planned to take place in lower Wensleydale and Swaledale.

Anyone wishing to take part in the project, which is planned to run until the end of the summer, should contact Shanaz on 07816526121 or by email on info@adeptprojects.co.uk.

There are 28 welcome points dotted around pubs, museums and shops around the Dales where walkers can pick up the pre-charged head cameras before embarking on the walk.

They are also given a map and sketchbook if they want to jot anything down en-route.

They then drop the equipment off at a different welcome point at the end of the walk.

Once the camera is switched on, the footage is uploaded unedited to a website.

So far, six walks have been recorded, but the aim of the project is to record a walk in every Dale.

"Sometimes you just see them getting these strange looks."

Hazel Cameron, 51, of Masham, was one of the first to take part in the project with her 70-year-old friend Elizabeth Gibbs, when the pair strapped the cameras on their heads to take an eight-mile hike from Malham to Malham Tarn.

"It was a bit strange at first", she said, "And we were both very conscious of having cameras on our heads, especially as we were getting some strange looks from the people we were passing.

"But they are actually very light and sit on your head just like a hat.

"After a while you start to forget about it and we started chatting to other people and amongst ourselves oblivious to the fact we were being recorded.

"At one point we couldn't agree where we were going and were clustered around the map trying to work it out, it must be funny to see.

"Neither of us have watched the footage back because it would be a bit strange to see but it was a brilliant experience and very memorable.

"The scenery the walk took us over is just so terrific and even though we are both regular walkers in the Dales it took us somewhere we usually would not go."

The next camera walks are planned to take place in lower Wensleydale and Swaledale.

Anyone wishing to take part in the project, which is planned to run until the end of the summer, should contact Shanaz on 07816526121 or by email on info@adeptprojects.co.uk.

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