Alston is a small town in Cumbria nestled on the banks of the South Tyne. It shares the title of 'the highest market town in England (standing at about 300 meters above sea level) with Buxton, in Derbyshire. This painting reflects the beautiful view of the fells and valleys of the North Pennines, available from a walk around the town.
Alston has been a place of a yearly pilgrimage for me, from earliest memories. The drive up there seemed long and perilous on the old roads and as we passed the towns along the way a story would be shared of past experiences, sadly I can not recall many of them now. Grandad would be driving and Gran would be telling him to slow down as well as putting information to the stories. The reason for this yearly pilgrimage was that Gran, Grandad and my Mum had lived there through the war years and a little while after, and for them it was a place they still felt at home.
St Augustine's, the church in this painting, was built in 1869, it is the third church built on this site, the first was built mid twelfth century. The painting reflects the continued link between the community, the land and faith. Inspired by a photograph taken in the spring of 2011 from a footpath at the back of town, the painting was created in 2017.