Our Story Comes to Life On the Cliffs of Cheddar Gorge
by Holly Cara Farr and Adriana Ciontea
Beginning of September. A small group of students and tutors from Falmouth University are headed for the rocky hills of Cheddar Gorge, to the South West Outdoor Festival. This was the final push of the year-long publishing project in collaboration with Wyl Menmuir and The National Trust.
First task: setting up the banner for the book launch. A few giggles escape our puzzled faces and make their way out through the raging wind, which threatens the stability of our tent. It takes us a while, but with patience and strategically tied ropes, we finally secure the banner in place. Job done for the night, it’s time to shift our attention to some more pressing issues: food and entertainment.
We decide to give axe throwing a try, which proves to be much more difficult than it looks - a mere two of our combined forty-eight axes hit the targets. After dinner, we embark on an even more exciting adventure: bat hunting in the Cheddar caves. A first for all of us, hearing the bats with the help of special equipment was mindboggling. No one speaks, too focused on finding the next bat and listening to its mesmerising song. Still debating amongst ourselves if this is possibly the most incredible experience of the whole weekend.
After a long day, we snuggle up in our sleeping bags, but the buzzing excitement keeps us up. Tomorrow’s the launch. Coffee and breakfast, and we’re on the move. We take turns manning the book tent, spreading the word about our fireside ghost story reading tonight, and worrying whether the rain will ruin our lovely evening or not.
But the weather keeps with us, and not long after seven, the fireside is packed. Against a beautiful display of the sun seeping into the hills, Wyl reads out an excerpt from In Dark Places. Adults and children alike are drawn in by his lively reading, and the story comes to life before our eyes, animating the flames.
It’s now when we finally see what an amazing experience this has been. We, the students at Falmouth, along with our tutors, Wyl Menmuir, and the fantastic illustrator Emma Butcher, have produced In Dark Places. Now, with the help of the National Trust and the South West Outdoor Festival, we are able to share it with the world.