With Chris Watson and Jez riley French

This long weekend field meeting is an opportunity to practice and develop sound recording skills in the company of Chris Watson in his home patch of Northumberland. Audio specialist and artist Jez riley French will also be present throughout to share his experience, particularly with the use of extended field recording techniques including the use of non-conventional equipment such as hydrophones and contact microphones.

The base location is Mounthooley bunkhouse in College valley, Northumberland, UK. Accommodation is shared bunk rooms. The College valley is in one of the remotest and quietest parts of England. It’s north of Hadrian’s Wall in the wild lands once controlled by the Border Reivers.

In the Cheviot Hills and close to the Scottish border this a wonderful location for wildlife sound recording, around here there are many upland birds, roe deer, red squirrels and the possibility of feral goats. This is a great location for recording individual featured species and spatial soundscapes.

The long weekend will include a day trip, arranged around the tides, across to the island of Lindisfarne and the coast where Chris recorded the CD In St Cuthbert’s Time.

This trip is particularly aimed at those who have already taken our Introduction to Wildlife Sound Recording Course and who want furrther guided experience in the field (but this is not a prerequisite). It is expected that you will bring your own recording equipment, although there will be additional kit you can borrow from the tutors during the trip.


Friday: arrive at Mounthooley from 3pm but please aim to arrive by 6pm.
7pm – evening meal served.
8pm – introductory chat – who we are, who you are, and what we will be doing over the next two days.

Saturday and Sunday: practical sound recording activities at various locations and listening/reviewing sessions back at base. Breakfasts and evening meals will be provided at Mounthooley.

Areas of local interest:
Weetwood Moor cup and ring marks: a great place to begin an exploration of the many remains left by our ancient ancestors to keep us guessing about their daily activities and unknown rituals. This can be followed by a walk up one of the many hill forts in North Northumberland such as close by Yeavering Bell, home of the famous feral goats.

Henhole: a short walk from the bunkhouse this is a great glacial hanging valley of waterfalls cutting through the Cheviot granite.

Holy Island : weather permitting we’ll take one day to explore as far as Lindisfarne / Holy Island – Home of many seaside walks, ducks, seabirds, religious figures, mead and scriptures.

Monday: after breakfast depart the venue…..you can of course then head straight home or spend the day exploring Northumberland further.


Chris Watson
Chris WatsonSound Recording Tutor
Chris is a composer who specialises in recording the sounds of wildlife and the natural world. His freelance career in film, radio and TV has taken him to some of the worlds’ remotest places. Watson worked on David Attenborough’s Life and Frozen Planet productions for the BBC, which both went on to receive BAFTA Awards in the Best Factual Sound (click photo to read more).
Jez riley French
Jez riley FrenchSound Recording Tutor
Jez is a composer, artist & audio specialist whose output involves elements of intuitive composition, field recording (using conventional & extended methods) photographic images (including their use in photographic scores) and improvisation. He has performed, exhibited and had his work published widely across the world and also lectures in both field recording and the act & art of listening (click photo to read more).

Booking Information

Costs: £375 per person
This includes tuition, 3 nights accommodation, breakfasts and evening meals. Lunches are available from Mounthooley for £4.50 or self-catering. .
Note that transport during this trip will be in cars of the tutors and attendees, so it is hoped that enough of you will be coming in cars and be happy to offer lifts to others durting the trip to facilitate this. The longest trip however is expected to be to Lindisfarne which is only 40 mins drive. When you book please mention if you will coming by car and if you are happy to offer lifts to those who are not. College valley is remote and it has restricted access to cars (but ok for us staying there).

NB. Due to accommodation restrictions, this course requires an equal mix of male and female participants, so we recommend booking sooner rather than later to secure your place.

8-11 May 2015 (This course is full. If you’d like to be added to a reserve list, and for alerting to future courses, please email courses@wildeye.co.uk)