A FEATURE-LENGTH documentary film about a renowned Cumbrian miner, rock climber and artist is about to get its online premiere and has cinema screenings planned into the new year.

The film 'At Home In The Steep Places' was made in Cumbria, New South Wales and Kyoto in 2021 by Cumbrian production company 28 Dales Later, and is about Maryport-born Bill Peascod.

When the centenary festival to celebrate the life of Bill Peascod (1920-1985) was cancelled due to Covid restrictions in 2020, organisers Dolly Daniel and Linda Wyatt decided to ask Lake District performer and media producer Steve Wharton to bring their festival to life on screen.

Drawing on his experience of producing the 28 Dales Later podcasts about northern England with outdoors educator Natalie Wilson, Steve started to research Bill’s life and uncovered a wealth of archive material relating to Bill held by the Wollongong University Library.

Unfortunately, this material was not available online.

However, Steve’s friend Perrin Walker had just returned to Australia after living in the Lake District and moved to Wollongong – the very city Bill Peascod had emigrated to in 1952, so he chipped in as a researcher, writer and presenter.

The film charts Bill’s life from a challenging childhood in the Cumberland coalfields and involvement in the Mines Rescue Teams to his pioneering of new rock climbing routes in 1940s Buttermere.

He became an abstract landscape painter after emigrating to Australia in 1952 where he developed a distinctive style of ‘burnt’ paintings.

After a time in Japan, he returned to Cumbria in 1980 and drew on Japanese influences to paint his beloved fells, which he had resumed climbing with new friends such as Bill Birkett, Sir Chris Bonington and Don Whillans.

Filmed in England, Australia and Japan, the film is presented by Steve Wharton, Natalie Wilson and Perrin Walker.

It features interviews with people who knew Bill, climbing and art specialists, rare material from the artist’s personal archive and scrapbooks, rarely seen artworks from private collections, photographs of early Lake District climbers by the Abraham Brothers and a soundtrack by Cumbrian and Australian musicians, including Mike Willoughby and Dave Camlin.

The next cinema screening will be at the newly reopened Alhambra Cinema in Keswick at 5pm Saturday November 6 and will feature a Q&A with the film’s director Steve Wharton and editor Toby Gregory.

The film will be available to view online for free on the Mountain Heritage Trust’s Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOBJ2bnCgEs from 8pm Saturday October 30.