Saturday, 24 October 2015

Saddleworth Rushcart Re-enactment

Saddleworth Morris Men  or A (not so grand) day out. or An 80 mile round trip to take photographs on your doorstep)
By Barry Quatermass, John Sixsmith and Robert Devenish

I (BQ) heard about the Saddleworth Rushcart event from a friend at work. It sounded brilliant and a check on the website confirmed this was a good place to get people shots. For those who don’t know, the event is a long held tradition of the Saddleworth Morris men who, over the course of a weekend hand haul a huge cart full to overflowing with straw bales up a hill and down the other side. Stopping for merriment at various hostelries along the way. The event promised much, such as a Gurning Competition, Worst Singer Competition and dancing and merriment outside the pub, all of which sounded brilliant for providing photographic opportunities.

Saddleworth Morris Men, so the website informed me, 'are a group of traditional folk dancers from the north of England.Saddleworth is a valley in the Pennine hills between Manchester and Leeds, and each of the six villages in the valley has its own unique dance. Like other Morris dances from the north-west of England, they are performed in Lancashire Clogs, shoes with leather uppers, wooden soles and shod with iron. Saddleworth Morris men are easily identified. Primarily because of the unique pattern and design of the waistcoat material ...' 

John and Robert agreed (unwisely as it happens) to join me and I volunteered to drive - ‘What could possibly go wrong’?

We set of, on a Sunday morning, I knew pretty much where Saddleworth was so didn’t need exact directions, I thought the Sat Nav would finesse the last part of the journey for me once we were well round the M60 – and that’s where things started to go awry. The Sat Nav was not recognising Saddleworth – no matter how we spelt it we were being told “Do not recognise” We were desperately searching on our iPhone for clues and it was some time before we realised that the SatNav was correct there is no village of Saddleworth the event was taking place in Uppermill.

This was mentioned on the Rushcart Website but unless you knew it was a Village you would be forgiven for thinking it was a mill in Saddleworth (that’s my excuse anyway). Our problems didn’t end there.

We got to Uppermill, its a small but pretty village with quite a few day trippers around (but no sign of any morris men) by now the sun had come out and it was a glorious day all we had to do was find one of the hostelries or the church where all the action was taking place – We asked several people and drew a blank then at a Café – The owner said yes (hooray) "the festivities take back over the back” he gestured to the back of his café. “By the church St Chads he said”  - We had a cup of tea and checked in with Google again – Yes it confirmed that there was a street just behind his café and it was called Church St – So off we went we found Church St and we found the St Chads Church all locked up and everything quiet. No sign off any Gurning Competition, No Worst Singer Competition and no sign of a 20ft pile of straw on a Rushcart.  We pondered, cogitated and thought some more then walked back into Uppermill. Eventually we gave up and set of for home without a shutter being pressed.

We set off for home me driving (and embarrassed) John silent and Robert, ever the optimist, searching on google for a Plan B and he found something – There was a Second World War re-enactment happening that very day, all we had to do to get there was head home (it was at Ellesmere Port) - if we hurried we might get there for the last hour (we did and we did).
Rob's Interrogation
Robert had saved the day OK it was gloomy and starting to rain by the time we arrived but we had set of to take photographs and we got the chance to do exactly that.

There were all sorts of WW11 Aircraft, a 40s girl singing group, and any number of people dressed as military personnel from various WW11 armies.

What we now know;

If you go to the road behind the café in Uppermill you will see its called Church road and you will see St Chads Church, if you continue on Church Rd out of the village, up the hill for a good mile further, you come to another Church called, also St Chads. - That’s where you go if you want to see the Rushcart Event (and at least we now know for next year!!!!)

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Open Competition Results

On Friday 9th October, Hoylake Photographic Society first monthly club competition, which was an "Open" competition was judged by our guest Sandy Pownall LRPS. Sandy gave a positive critique of the prints and images put before him adding his own sense of humour on the night.

As always our monthly competition is split into "Prints" and "Digital Projected Images" with prints split into mono and colour. Club members compete in the "Print" section as "Novice / Intermediate" or "Advanced" photographers but compete together on an equal basis in the "Digital Projected Images" section.

To complicate matters somewhat, the "Open" print competition had two sub competitions running within it of best "Altered Reality" and best "Landscape".

Print Competition

In the Novice / Intermediate Mono, Lynette Ryan came first with a landscape image "Worth a Visit" while in the Novice / Intermediate Colour Michael Severn came first with "West Kirby Sunset", Lynette Ryan finished second and Michael Severn came third in the colour print competition. Sandy Pownall judged that the best of the two winning prints were "Worth a Visit". Well Done Lynette.

In the Advanced Mono, Paul Anderson came first with an oriental image "Mystical Bridge" with Rob Devenish coming second with "Kashmiri Goat" which was judged to be the best "Altered Reality" print. Anthony Clarke came third with "The Avenue, Manchester".

In the Advanced Colour, Noel George came first with a cityscape image "The Shard" with Paul Anderson coming second with "Gili Meno at Dawn". Rob Devenish came third with "The QE2 Visit to Liverpool" which was judged to be the best "Landscape" print. Congratulation Rob on winning both sub competitions.

Digital Projected Images Competition

The Digital Projected Images section is competed for by all members irrespective of their skill or experience and there were 52 images for Sandy Pownall to judge. The standard of photography was high but Sandy gave his top three positions to very different photographs.

The top digital image was "Lady in Waiting" by Paul Higgins. Paul has been a club member for less than a year so he can feel proud to have beaten many experienced club photographers with this cracking portrait.
1st "Lady in Waiting" by Paul Higgins
Second in the digital image competition was a coloured infrared image of Flaybrick Cemetery titled ""Umbrella of the Deceased" by George Evans
2nd "Umbrella of the Deceased" by George Evans
And third place in the digital competition went to "Ice Fractures" by Peter Larkin. An abstract of subtle tones of blue.
3rd "Ice Fractures" by Peter Larkin
Well done to all of our photographers who won awards, too many to mention here and commiserations to those who weren't successful this time. Success is fleeting and it will be your turn next month with a new judge.

Our next meeting is on Friday 16th October which is a "Members Night" where some of our members will be taking over to talk about their photography. You don't have to be a member to attend our meetings as you can attend as a non member paying only £2 on the door.

We meet every Friday at Newton Village Hall, Grange Cross Lane, West Kirby with the doors opening at 7.30 pm for a 7.45 pm start and a 10 pm finish.