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THE TRANSMISSION GALLERY

Photos by Bill Wright

Wall Northumberland
NGR: NY909676 Maps: Google  Bing (Ord Surv) Site Height: 130m Structure Height: 17m
Digital TV: BBC A: 52 D3&4: 51 BBC B: 48
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Comments: Wall is a relay of Pontop Pike

This site serves the villages of Wall (to the north-east) and Acomb (to the south-east) It’s on a hill near the confluence of the North and South Tyne rivers. It’s a nice part of the world.

The site was on the Hit List, yet all the nearby sites have been dealt with. Why? Up steps Muggins.

Actually, it wasn’t that bad. The NGR indicated that I should look in the middle of a field, near a farm. Some distance away is a large tower festooned with aerials and dishes and obvious both on the OS and on Google Local. A public path goes right up to this tower, so I thought the best thing to do was to follow it, whilst keeping an open mind. It wasn’t a complete surprise when the first sight of the tower showed no signs of TV transmission equipment. Another few hundred yards brought the top of a measly little telegraph pole into view, with log-periodics on it.

I left the public path and strode down a farm track towards the logs. They kept disappearing from view but eventually I could see that the pole was in the middle of a busy farm yard. The map said that there were no public paths anywhere near. I came to a large gate — one of those really long heavy metal ones on wheels that only burly farmers can open — and stood looking at the scene, considering my options. The farm was a very large one, and there was much activity. But no-one seemed to be looking in my direction. Between me and the site was an area of organised rural chaos — not the sort of farmyard stuff you’d find on a ‘meet the cute lambs’ guided tour, but a scene of bucolic heavy industry, raw in tooth and claw. So over the gate I went and then I tiptoed past heaps of some of the things that city dwellers like to pretend don’t exist, and then finally I reached the measly little pole.

Having obtained my shots I needed to make my escape. To retrace my steps would take me up the hill towards Red Herring Tower and then down again, whereas . . . hmm . . . if I were to boldly go right through the middle of the very busy farmyard I would only have a short walk back to the van.

“Hello, I seem to have, ha ha, lost my way! Could you tell me which way it is to the road?” A grunt and a gesture to the left seemed to grant permission, so onward I trotted.

The track went though a field which, I noticed, contained a lot of cows and calves. Knowing how maternal cows can over-react when started I whistled ‘All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small’ to warn them of my presence and hopefully to endear me to them. Unfortunately the tune annoyed a large and apparently agnostic bull that had been lurking behind a tree. The cloven hoofed creature gave me a baleful stare, so I walked just very slightly faster, not wanting to give him the impression that I was in any way discomfited by his presence. This ruse failed, and he set off towards me at an increasing gallop, but by then I was at the cattle grid. I stood just at the other side of it and cheeked him off, saying things like ‘Get behind me, Satan’ but he just gave me a look. I think it might have meant “All these woman and kids are driving me mad! Get me out of here!”

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