A slow marathon through energised landscapes

When you travel slowly through a landscape, you are better able to discern all the forms of energy in the environment. Moving slowly and softly, you hear more, smell more, notice more of your surroundings and are better able to pick up on the energetic traces of the landscape’s past.

For those experiencing the Slow Marathon on a recent spring Saturday in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, walking 26 miles through hills and fields, they were able to observe the ancient energetic areas of the landscape such as ruins from Neolithic pagan stone circles, new pylon constructions as well as seeing how renewable energies are transforming the modern landscape with wind turbines or solar farms, for example.

The Slow Marathon formed part of artist Andrea Geile’s project Energised Landscape, for which she has been examining places of energy, innate or man-made, real or perceived, in the area southeast of Huntly. The artist outlined that her aims for her project are to contribute to the debate around energy sources and needs; to give these a better public perception; to assist strategy and policy making for energy sites; and also to spread goodwill. These aims are of course very familiar to our own concerns at Little Sun so we were happy that each of the 80 participants of the Marathon took a Little Sun Original with them on their journey.

“We had a fantastic Slow Marathon on Saturday with about 80 people walking 26 miles in the Aberdeenshire landscape. It was a day of four seasons, but enough sunshine to collect!” – Rachael Disbury, Arts and Community Worker, Deveron Projects

The Little Suns travelled with the walkers for the entire Marathon, which lasted up to 12 hours – charging on their backpacks when the sun came out, then shining the way at night when then sun went down. An adventure appealing to all ages, the youngest walker was 11 years old and the oldest was 72.

Andrea Geile, the artist whose project the Slow Marathon was based upon this year, concluded the walk by conducting a stretching session for all the tired walkers, lit by the collected light of the Little Suns. Newly energised, the participants could then reflect on what they had learned and talked about on the walk.


“Best day’s walking I’ve ever had, the energy and passion of the team was fabulous and will stay with me long after the blisters have healed.” – Slow Marathon participant.

The energy theme of the walk seemed to resonate well with the participants. One had this to say:

“If matter is energy waiting to happen we felt this most at the stone circle and underneath the wind turbine. Amazing day – huge thanks to all involved.” – Slow Marathon participant.

The Slow Marathon is now an annual weekend event which literally ‘takes a concept for a walk’: using the time spent on the marathon to expand on a theme or idea related to the curated programme of Deveron Projects. Originally arranged by Ethiopian artist Mihret Kibede, whose ambitious Slow Marathon involved 225 people collectively walking the equivalent distance between Aberdeenshire, Scotland and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, each Slow Marathon allows for a day of thought-provoking walking, talking, films, food and debate. See the events section on the website for more details if you would like to join a Slow Marathon in the future.

Photos: Diane Smith, Deveron Projects