Kielder. Mountain Bikes, Art And Architecture

Relatively speaking Kielder Water isn’t that big, just over 4 square miles in area. I mean, you could probably pour it into Loch Lomond, (27 square miles) and you’d hardly register a rise in the water level… and technically at 143,000 square miles, the Caspian Sea is a lake too… so you know it’s not going to win any size competitions. The lake perimeter covers 27 miles and the entire park 250 square miles and now that they’ve started dropping random, contemporary art pieces into the landscape they are claiming to be the biggest art gallery in Europe.

Now, I’m not really buying that, 20 or so exhibits spread over 16 square miles, isn’t a gallery to me. I’m not really a fan of those “my gallery’s bigger than your gallery,” statements, and you see, Kielder doesn’t need to come out with these sorts of daft claims either, because it’s doing a brilliant job regardless.

Over the past 15 years, they’ve been placing these cracking little interventions into the landscape, mostly shelters, viewing points and observatories but also a maze and a playground… in fact a real sense of playfulness is a theme that seems to link all these objects together. This year as part of the new Lakeside Way and mental array of mountain bike tracks, [there’s even one called the “Bloody Bush Trail!” see here for more] , they’ve commissioned another 6 new installations. A giant wooden head, an ominous looking black box shelter, a bright red corrugated steel shelter, some revolving seats and some crazy little open sheds. Really nice, touchy feely, sculptural pieces, in beautiful settings. [See them all here]

They’ve also got their Observatory open, not the prettiest thing I must admit, like some sort of wooden gun ship, complete with revolving turrets… but still each to their own.  Anyway it all looks fun and I reckon blasting round Kielder on some of these mountain bike tracks, and discovering some of these new installations looks like a great day out!

By Dave on October 23, 2009

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