Stranger Than Fiction


And Shropshire’s Stiperstones with its brooding Devil’s Chair outcrop has indeed provided the setting for several works of fiction: the novels of Mary Webb, Malcolm Saville’s still popular Lone Pine adventure stories for children, and also D.H. Lawrence’s novella St. Mawr. And naturally, given its dramatic looks, it also features in local myths and legends, particularly those associated with Wild Edric, the Saxon earl who refused to surrender his lands to the Norman invaders and stirred up rebellion, allying himself with the Welsh princes of Gwynedd and Powys just over the border.

In real life it is an utterly strange place. These photos were taken on a summer’s day, but somehow, when we reached the hilltop, the light leached away. Even so, the grey-white quartzite outcrops seemed to have an unsettling luminosity.  The photos I took using the monochrome setting on my camera are especially other worldly. There also appears to be an odd patch of mist on the next photo. I can’t explain it.




And in colour, too, the landscape’s disturbing presence is scarcely diminished:



Lens-Artists: Surreal This week Tracy challenges us to post some surreal images, and believe me, she has her own very original take on the topic. Go see for yourselves.

20 thoughts on “Stranger Than Fiction

  1. The only surreal pictures I get are some of the very strange reflections in water. They look like abstract art. Your area looks amazing and its location is unique. There’s one like it in the Sierra Nevada mountains where the continents join. There’s probably another one in Asia, too. What a pity I know I’ll never get there. If I’d known about it when I was there (so many years ago!), it would have been up top of my “must visit” list.

    I think we are done with flying, but I can still dream.

    1. Places of reactive geology – in one way or another, seem to be very special. And as to not flying – you and me both. I couldn’t face another airport. It was bad enough when we had to take our shoes off.

  2. I still have a bit of shiver from these photos, Tish. Interestingly, I was just thinking about how not all dreams are soft and wispy. Some have hard, sharp edges and deeply shadowed. Then your post came through. You must have been reading my mind. That’s a long way of saying that I think your photos are very surreal. And foreboding.

    1. Well, Tracy, I’m pleased these photos hit the spot, albeit with shivery shadows. I’m rather fixated at the mo’ on alternative realities that are actually real.

  3. Those black and white images are eerie indeed, but what struck me most about your post is that the place still had that eerie feeling when you switched to colour. Some places just do, it can be hard to explain – but often also hard to photograph. You’ve done a great job 🙂

    And thanks for the reminder about the Lone Pine stories – I used to love them!

    1. many thanks, Sarah. I have to say the light was pretty weird (as in barely switched on) on the day I took the photos, and that added to the strange effect.

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