With Chris Watson and Jez riley French

This long weekend field meeting is an opportunity to practice and develop sound recording skills in the company of Chris Watson in his home patch of Northumberland. Audio specialist and artist Jez riley French will also be present throughout to share his experience, particularly with the use of extended field recording techniques including the use of non-conventional equipment such as hydrophones and contact microphones.

The base location is Mounthooley bunkhouse in College valley, Northumberland, UK. Accommodation is shared bunk rooms. The College valley is in one of the remotest and quietest parts of England. It’s north of Hadrian’s Wall in the wild lands once controlled by the Border Reivers.

In the Cheviot Hills and close to the Scottish border this a wonderful location for wildlife sound recording, around here there are many upland birds, roe deer, red squirrels and the possibility of feral goats. This is a great location for recording individual featured species and spatial soundscapes.

This trip is particularly aimed at those who have already taken our Introduction to Wildlife Sound Recording Course and who want furrther guided experience in the field (but this is not a prerequisite). It is expected that you will bring your own recording equipment, although there will be additional kit you can borrow from the tutors during the trip.


Friday: arrive at Mounthooley from 3pm but please aim to arrive by 6pm.
7pm – evening meal served.
8pm – introductory chat – who we are, who you are, and what we will be doing over the next two days.

Saturday and Sunday: practical sound recording activities at various locations and listening/reviewing sessions back at base. Breakfasts and evening meals will be provided at Mounthooley.

Areas of local interest:
Weetwood Moor cup and ring marks: a great place to begin an exploration of the many remains left by our ancient ancestors to keep us guessing about their daily activities and unknown rituals. This can be followed by a walk up one of the many hill forts in North Northumberland such as close by Yeavering Bell, home of the famous feral goats.

Henhole: a short walk from the bunkhouse this is a great glacial hanging valley of waterfalls cutting through the Cheviot granite.

The north east coast is nearby for a possible visit during the weekend or you could explore further there after the course ends on the Monday .

Monday: after breakfast depart the venue…..you can of course then head straight home or spend the day exploring Northumberland further.


Chris Watson
Chris WatsonSound Recording Tutor
Chris is a composer who specialises in recording the sounds of wildlife and the natural world. His freelance career in film, radio and TV has taken him to some of the worlds’ remotest places. Watson worked on David Attenborough’s Life and Frozen Planet productions for the BBC, which both went on to receive BAFTA Awards in the Best Factual Sound (click photo to read more).
Jez riley French
Jez riley FrenchSound Recording Tutor
Jez is a composer, artist & audio specialist whose output involves elements of intuitive composition, field recording (using conventional & extended methods) photographic images (including their use in photographic scores) and improvisation. He has performed, exhibited and had his work published widely across the world and also lectures in both field recording and the act & art of listening (click photo to read more).
Great location, loved how remote it was. Fantastic food, too bad we didn’t manage to eat it all. The course content was great and easily adapted to weather conditions.
Chris and Jez are both at the pinnacle of their fields, to which it feels they have limitless knowledge and passion. They are generous beyond the call of duty and don’t get frustrated by the most basic questions. They can multi-task with people of different levels of experience or interest. Put simply, superb.
Very wide-ranging and stimulating in content, and catering for a range of abilities and experience. So good to be away from traffic and aircraft noise! An excellent location.
Chris and Jez are a mine of information, inspiration and raw talent. I am still buzzing with ideas from the weekend and can’t thank them enough.

Booking Information

Costs: £395 per person
This includes tuition, 3 nights accommodation, breakfasts and evening meals. Lunches are available from Mounthooley for £4.50 or self-catering.
Note that transport during this trip will be in cars of the tutors and attendees, so it is hoped that enough of you will be coming in cars and be happy to offer lifts to others during the trip to facilitate this. When you book please mention if you will coming by car and if you are happy to offer lifts to those who are not. College valley is remote and it has restricted access to cars (but is OK for those staying there).

9–12 June 2017 – Fully Booked NB. Due to accommodation options there are restrictions on female/male participant numbers.

To apply for a place please complete the form below, you will then be forwarded to a page which explains how to pay the deposit/fee to secure your booking:

Your name
Email address
Which date are you applying for?
Mobile phone number
How will you be travelling and where from?
Briefly, what you do now, and why you want to do this trip?
What recording equipment will you be bringing with you?
Do you have any special dietary requirements?
How will you be paying the deposit/fee?
Where did you hear about this course?

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