The shot was taken in a small village called Powfoot, which is situated in Annan, Dumfriesshire. The village sits along the Solway Firth Estuary which leads to the Irish Sea. The Solway Firth is the second most powerful estuary in the UK, after the Severn and one of the most powerful in Europe. This attracted me to document how it would translate over the long exposure for a moonlighting shot for the series.
The Solway Coast has an abundance of natural landscapes and is renowned for its spectacular sunsets. The masts across the water are situated in the remote village of Anthorn, on a blunt peninsula 13 miles west of Carlisle. The village was once home to a busy, thriving Naval air-station. Originally a WWI landing-strip in the vicinity of the now-demolished Solway House, the site was reinstated by the RAF at the start of WWII as an emergency landing ground for RAF Silloth. The site is now a Very Low Frequency (VLF) transmitter station, which is used for transmitting orders to submarines. From 1st April 2007, the time signal, which was broadcast from Rugby for many years, is now broadcast from the VT Communications site at Anthorn. The best known manifestation of the NPL time signal is the BBC’s “pips” but it is widely used in the transport and financial services sectors, among others. Banks use the signal to calculate to the last second how long they have held interest bearing balances, Network Rail uses it to help the trains run on time and for power generators the signal helps to coordinate switching output from one station to another. The time signal is also used by speed cameras, and by digital set-top boxes.
While the masts may be regarded as ugly within the landscape, at night and over such a long exposure, they actually create a beautiful, surreal, and eerie atmosphere to the landscape. The rocks in the foreground over the tidal change, combined with the reflections of the lights from the masts, create a futuristic/sci-fi landscape, which ironically is from a place that has been awarded an area of outstanding beauty.