Stream Publishing is based in Surrey and was created in 2008 and have twice won the prestigious PPA (Professional Publisher’s Association) Customer Magazine of the Year Award for Independent Publishers. One of these awards was for Vauxhall’s V Magazine; this magazine is published twice annually and sent to new car and van customers for three years from the date of purchase of their vehicle, and has a circulation of 370,000. Each issue of this magazine concentrates on a theme, with the resourceful issue, the connected issue, the happy issue and the secrets issue being recent examples.
Toward the end of October 2016 I was contacted by Stream Publishing who were putting together their latest V Magazine, with the theme based on the new issue. As a part of this magazine Vauxhall wanted to showcase their new Mokka X, which is a rugged 4x4 SUV lifestyle vehicle, and as Calf Top had just been recognised as Britain’s newest mountain they wanted to do a photo shoot with the vehicle beside Calf Top and run a back story on how it was measured and reclassified as Britain’s newest mountain.
Arranging to meet in Kendal in early November I made my way up the motorway in grey weather arriving in the late afternoon and settling myself into the Premier Inn for the evening.
There had been extensive communication leading up to this forthcoming meeting, some of it based on the Mokka X being photographed on the hill, and other aspects concentrating on getting the Stream Publishing crew to the summit of Calf Top, both were dependent upon the weather with photographic opportunity for the vehicle ideally based lower on the hill either in the valley to the east or on a track that emerges on the western side of the hill.
Any outdoor photo shoot is dependent upon the weather and as I headed down for breakfast early the following morning the streets of Kendal were bathed in grey skies, thankfully the forecast of rain had not yet materialised.
One by one the crew from Stream Publishing arrived; with Kevin Ingles the Art Director and Tim Gibson the Journalist introducing themselves, with the third member of the crew being Wayne Lennon, an independent Photographer. We considered our options and decided that the Premier Inn’s sausages were the main priority and that finishing breakfast before venturing outside was the order of the day.
Once breakfast was finished we headed out, waiting in the car park was the Mokka X looking resplendent and ready for its fifteen minutes of fame, with it sharing its impending limelight with Calf Top; which is an unobtrusive looking hill that due to the perseverance of independent surveyors and the remodelling of Britain by Ordnance Survey with the adoption of OSGM15 resulting in the increase of accurately known heights, had now been reclassified to 2,000ft mountain status.
|The Mokka X with (L-R) Tim Gibson (Journalist), Wayne Lennon (Photographer) and Kevin Ingles (Art Director).|
We headed toward Barbon, a small village in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria and which has been designated a part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park since 1st August 2016. Kevin led the way with Wayne in his vehicle, having reckied the ground the day before, whilst I sat next to Tim in the Mokka X with an mp3 recorder already switched on ready to interview me on the way. This can sometimes be disconcerting but Tim had a light hearted and friendly manner which helped proceedings whizz along.
Barbon is situated on the south-western periphery of Calf Top with the 538m map heighted summit of Castle Knott between the village and the mountain top. As we drew up in the village the cloud was low on the hill and therefore Kevin directed us through the village toward a paved lane leading to a track which would take us up the south-western slopes of Castle Knott. This would at least give Wayne opportunity to photograph the immediate surrounds and gain an unobstructed view below the cloud base. On the way we checked the route of the public footpath leading toward the south-western ridge with Richard Pedley who was out on a quad bike with his sheepdog.
|Heading for the hill|
|Richard Pedley and sheepdog|
Realising that the afternoon forecast was not good and as the murk preceding darkness would fall before 4.00pm and therefore time to reach the summit and photograph proceedings was limited, Kevin instructed that the back story photo shoot should take place on a slight rocky top overlooking the River Lune in the valley below which was to our west, and that the main photo shoot with the Mokka X would take place in the eastern valley on the narrow country lane that follows the course of the Barkin Beck with Calf Top looming above in the murk to the west.
|Wayne assembling the drone|
Reaching the small rocky top I was asked to assemble the Trimble on its tripod and smile appropriately as Wayne launched his drone for aerial views of proceedings. Kevin instructed Wayne to take photos from a number of angles with the small rock outcrop proving an ideal vantage point considering how murky it must have been higher on the summit of Calf Top.
|Wayne and the drone ready to fly high and photograh proceedings|
|Murky conditions in the Yorkshire Dales|
Happy that Wayne had gathered suitable photographs showing the Trimble and its attentive surveyor, Kevin now wanted to concentrate on the Mokka X; therefore we headed down the hill back on the track and narrow paved lane to the awaiting cars before driving up the eastern valley to find a suitable spot to start the photo shoot for the Mokka X.
The next couple of hours proved fun and insightful watching a professional Photographer and an Art Director collaborate finding suitable places and backdrops to photograph the Mokka X, which was being cared for attentively with every speck of mud quickly wiped off and each panel polished. During this process the weather closed in and the first specks of forecast rain started to fall as light drizzle.
With Tim at the controls the Mokka X was taken on a slippery off-road route contouring on and then up steep green tracks; always with Kevin in attendance and Wayne being directed where photographs needed to be taken. I tried keeping myself on the periphery as although I had now fulfilled the back story shoot I still wanted to experience the remainder of the main shoot.
|The Mokka X being put through its photographic paces|
Once Tim had driven the Mokka X down beside one of the small tributaries of the Barkin Beck and positioned it with an expanse of autumnal hillside and rusted bracket as a backdrop, Wayne took the last series of photographs before the weather worsened.
|The Mokka X|
With all equipment accounted for and packed away Kevin instructed an end to the photo shoot until later in the afternoon and off we went to the Barbon Inn for a well-deserved lunchtime meal.
|Lunch time stop; the Barbon Inn|
After lunch Kevin, Tim and Wayne wanted to get a few shots of the village before heading toward The Ryebeck to meet their new chef; Chris Lee. This elegant country house hotel and its new chef were to form the third segment in the next V Magazine under the theme of the new issue.
It had been an extremely enjoyable experience meeting the crew from Stream Publishing and I thank them for their interest in mountain surveying and putting me at ease during the back story photo shoot.
The Vauxhall V Magazine duly arrived in the post with its themed issue based on all things new and on pages 16 – 25 is Tim’s excellent article entitled Peak Performance, with Calf Top and the Trimble taking centre stage on pages 18 – 23 for their fifteen minutes of fame.
Myrddyn Phillips (August 2017)