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Deveron Projects

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Michael Höpfner

Walking Off The Grid


In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

John Muir

A 14 day circuit around Huntly of 30 miles

Michael Höpfner is a walking artist from Vienna, who visited us in autumn 2012.

It could be argued that the role of walking has diminished in contemporary society. We are in an age where increasing efficiency and productivity is paramount. Walking is slow, inefficient, even unremarkable; something most people rarely think about precisely because of its pure functionality –and yet it still remains so deeply embedded in every aspect of our quotidian life, despite this. In a way it is through waking that we make our place in the world. It is a way of both interpreting and knowing ourselves and the place we are in. If the role of walking is diminishing–at least a certain anachronistic view of walking–the result has been an awakening to its creative and critical potential. How can walking, as a distinct act, help us to re-construct the geography of our own environment?


Michael spent 14 days walking a 30 mile circuit around Huntly, looking to reconstruct the geography of our landscape. He set off with a group of 20 walkers starting at the Tin Hut in Gartly and was joined throughout his walk by local walkers along the way. Michael braved rain, wind and snow along the way,  as well as some sunshine. His route took him from the Tin Hut in Gartly via the Clashmach, Drumdelgie, the Ashgrove Filling Station, Cairnie, Rothiemay, Kinnoir, Drumblade (with frequent visits to the school) back to Gartly.

At the end of his journey Michael presented his thoughts and some imagery from along the way at a talk in the Huntly Hotel. He was joined by Professor Tim Ingold who gave a talk on the history of walking and by many of the people that met him en route.


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