Summer Gathering 2018

All images courtesy of  Annie Spratt

All images courtesy of Annie Spratt

Was this Summer Gathering really only our second one? Surely we’ve been doing this for years, and all meet up quite regularly? So it seemed as our weekend began, everyone arriving throughout Friday afternoon and evening, greeting each other like old friends and falling into easy conversations over summer drinks and a gin cocktail or two.

Our abode this weekend sat nestled in the hills of Ravenstonedale in Cumbria, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect spot. That first evening saw the hills bathed in a deep, golden hue before night descended and the campfire was lit. Dried lavender was thrown on the flames, incense was lit, and stories were shared as the night drew in closer.

Saturday morning began and those who were early risers headed out to catch the sun as it crept over the horizon. We then walked barefoot through the dewy grass and stood in awe of the view that met us as we began our yoga session led by Elizabeth. Having never taken part in a yoga class before I’ll admit to being a little nervous. But Elizabeth kept it simple enough for novices like myself to follow, and I was soon absorbed in the calm in created within me.

A well-earned breakfast was followed by the first part of a workshop run by the wonderful Heather, who’s knowledge on wild herbs and their properties seemed truly boundless, as we learnt about that which surrounded us throughout the neighbouring fields and meadows.

Heather continued back in the kitchen and with an abundance of resources, we made the most beautiful herb butters and dream pillows. The butters were devoured later at the feast and I’m not sure regular butter will ever be enough again!

The ever-talented Annie led a photography workshop during the afternoon, answering any and all questions before we tested our new found skills outside and played around with some editing. Here is photographic evidence that I am now addicted to coffee and Lightroom equally…

Our Midsummer feast was bedecked with sunflowers and followed by a tree-dressing, where we grounded ourselves to the tree and tied a ribbon to a chosen branch. Conversations soon flowed around the campfire once more as we shrouded ourselves in blankets and talked into the night.

Sunday morning began as peacefully as Sunday mornings ever should, with Elizabeth taking us on a guided meditation with some (myself included) experiencing a moment of freedom and calm never felt before. Breakfast followed and nourished us for the day ahead.

The lovely Chelsea then took us on a mindful walk, where we learnt to ground ourselves by connecting our bare feet to the earth beneath, a practice I certainly intend to continue once home. We also took a moment to connect with the trees, and even had a hug or two, which was a new experience for many!

Lunch was eaten al-fresco, in dappled sunshine beneath the trees, and contact details were passed around to ensure we would not lose sight of the connections made in these few short days spent together. I left feeling inspired, empowered and full of warmth from friendships made within the Creative Countryside Community. Hoping to see you soon…

Jessica Townsend creates slow and sustainable fashion at House of Flint. Follow her behind-the-scenes on Instagram here.