Remembering Woolly: iconic tree image commemorates musician and his work

A POIGNANT photograph of one of Saddleworth’s most iconic trees has been chosen as the front cover of an internationally acclaimed rock band’s latest musical extravaganza.

The album cover featuring Craig Hannah’s picture

The picture illustrates a seven-CD box set celebrating the music of Woolly Wolstenholme, a founding member of celebrated Oldham-formed band, Barclay James Harvest.

It was taken by Greenfield-based photographer Craig Hannah, who was approached by Keith and Monika Domone, joint authors of the Barclay James Harvest Story who also ran websites and fan clubs for Woolly and BJH.

Initially, they asked if Craig’s photograph of the famous lone tree at Dovestone Reservoir could be part of the set.

Woolly, whose given name was Stuart, played tenor horn in Delph Brass Band as a youngster.

He became famous globally for his expertise on the Mellotron – an early keyboard sampler – with BJH. He sadly took his own life at his London home on December 13, 2010.

The box set comprises every solo album by Woolly and his band Maestoso from 1980 to 2010.

“I was delighted when the record label liked the photograph that much they decided to use it for the cover,” said Craig.

“The area is relevant because on April 15, 2014 a commemorative bench was unveiled in memory of Woolly at Dovestone. The inscription says: ‘Where Alphin and Alderman look on’.

“The bench in my photo is not the one for Woolly but it is very close by,” added Craig.

“The photo is of many people’s favourite tree in Saddleworth, on the side of the path around the reservoir.

“It’s a 30-second exposure shot taken at the end of December a year ago. I was lucky it was such a clear night.

“I usually avoid night photography when the moon is out as it can make capturing the stars difficult, but it was just over half full.

Craig’s photograph

“This ended up adding to the photograph as it helped illuminate the bench in the foreground. The photo was one of my favourites from 2017.”

Craig, an industrial rope access inspector, added: “The reason I love taking photographs of Saddleworth is it is a stunning place to live, and I enjoy trying to capture what makes the area special to me.

“The landscapes are very diverse, from wooded valley bottoms to bleak rugged moorlands; they are constantly changing either due to seasons or weather.

“The contrast between the vast open moors and the historic villages, also the many unique events, means there is always something interesting to photograph.”

Find out more and purchase the CD Box Set online:  http://www.bjharvest.co.uk/s-strange.htm

The picture of the Lone Tree also features in Craig Hannah’s 2019 Saddleworth calendar, available from Saddleworth Outdoor, High Street, Uppermill, for £15. All the photographs are from the Saddleworth area and follow a seasonal trend.

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