Journal RSS



Scree Creative

We just started working with Scree Creative. Paul has been putting some UA pieces through their paces in the Lakes. You'll find the resulting images, words and, soon, film on our Instagram feed. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Continue reading



1% For The Planet Member

We've joined the many thousands of businesses and individuals making a commitment to the planet for future generations. Channelling our contribution via 1% For The Planet and the environmental nonprofit organisations they support ensures it makes the most impact possible.  Putting some money, and action, where our mouth is. 

Continue reading



Black Friday Donation to Mountain Rescue

We refused to discount our prices over the Black Friday weekend with a commitment to donating 20% of sales to the Mountain Rescue. Huge thanks to all our customers who ordered and so contributed to todays donations to the England & Wales and Scottish organisations. We're genuinely heartened to see how many brands avoided Black Friday this year. Feels like momentum building. 

Continue reading



20% to the Mountain Rescue

No discounts this Friday. Instead we’re donating 20% of sales to the Mountain Rescue. We’ll split this between the England & Wales and Scottish organisations. All sales, all weekend until Monday. Utility Archive is founded on the idea of harmonising with nature, in terms of our aesthetic and our stance on sustainability which underpins this. We design and make better product that lasts longer. We prioritise quality, therefore longevity, over price. Always. Discounting to generate volume sales doesn’t sit well with us. It encourages over-production and over-consumption. Exactly the opposite of what we should be doing in a climate crisis. But, the genie’s out of the bottle and we’re all primed to spend at this time of year. But, a...

Continue reading



Tarn Hows, Victorians & Vikings

This quintessential Lake District beauty spot is a must-visit for many visitors. Rightly so, it’s undeniably beautiful and has an accessible track all the way around. Not so busy on a wet Sunday in Lockdown though. Originally three tarns, the lower was dammed by the Victorian landowner to create the current one. In addition to this re-landscaping they were busy farming and mining their vast estate. They eventually sold the lot to Beatrix Potter, who passed it on to the National Trust who look after it now. A few centuries earlier still and those Viking invaders turned settlers populated the area. Not much evidence of them now, except the name - Tarn Hows originates from the Old Norse Tjorn Haugr,...

Continue reading



Jenny Brown's Point

Since arriving in the Lakes we've been lucky with the weather. Very un-Cumbrian. The tail-end of hurricane Epsilon just ended that. And so yesterday we got outside. Committing to head out in poor weather we’re typically drawn to more water. Rivers, waterfalls and the coast become energised. We opted for the latter, Jenny Brown's Point, at the eastern edge of Morecambe Bay. Perfect wet weather geography, a filigree coastline of wooded limestone crags. We trudged through wet woodland eventually stumbling out onto salt marsh and shingle. Looking south, a vast expanse of wet sand, mud and grey sky all indistinguishable in the flat light.   Wandering along the shore the mist lifting, a thin yellow strip began to mark the horizon. Tracing west,...

Continue reading



Back to Cumbria

Made it! We've relocated the Utility Archive brand, and family to Cumbria. The showroom and studio is all set up in River Mill, Staveley Mill Yard, close to Kendal and on the main route north into the Lake District. You’re welcome to drop into the studio for a chat and take a look at/try on all the bags. Best to make an appointment, Monday to Friday, to ensure we're available.  Staveley Mill Yard is home to a variety of businesses, from Waters & Acland furniture workshop to More Bakery, Wilfs Cafe and Hawkshead Brewery. That’s breakfast, lunch and dinner right there. There’s also roster of outdoor businesses including Wheelbase cycling store and the sales offices of The North Face, Merrell, Inov-8 to name but three. Great company. 

Continue reading



El Campo

Ana rifles through some old boxes in the loft producing a pile photographs from the 1990’s. The shots look classically desaturated as one would expect from a cheap snap of that decade. From one view, an image taken from across the valley, four nondescript white tumble-down buildings in need of repair perch on a barren hillside. The area looks more like the side of a quarry than any part of the Andalucían countryside. Only a few random olive trees can be seen in each image. The land is otherwise clear and devoid of any noticeable, prominent vegetation - a blank canvas, but one where the artists had a clear vision. Ana and I came to Spain in mid-March to sit...

Continue reading



Navigate, Paul Thompson

I first encountered Paul Thompson's Navigate series a couple of months ago. For an inherently benign image the effect was arresting. I stopped and stared. Learning more about the project and Paul's multi-layered approach and technique I began to understand my initial reaction. Shot at sunset using a large format film camera with exposure times ranging between one and eight seconds, gave little control over what happened within his image to shape the end result. This happenstance is vital to the work as Navigate becomes a series of chance events dictated by the constant and unpredictable motions of the sea, the wind, and the light; a reaction against meticulously planned image-making that leaves no room for twists of fate. The long...

Continue reading



Artist Zoe Taylor

We're really taken with the work of Zoe Taylor. Directly inspired by the Britains land and skies and also by West Wales and the Pembrokeshire coast. Her modern paintings are bold and soul-stirring, employing complex natural tones.  She works in oil and cold wax and latterly in acrylic/mixed media on aluminium. Although her main works are breathtaking I’m drawn to her sketches, in oil and other media which are abstract and energetic. Each work is enigmatically titled, but gives no clue to location, leaving the viewer to imagine.

Continue reading



A Moment of Bore

Musings from my lockdown in Spain, Will Appleyard.  I’ve been on locked down in Spain since 16th March. I chose to be here. The cabin crew aboard the EasyJet flight out of Gatwick eyed me quizzically at first and then further into the flight, politely probed me about what I was doing on a flight 99% full with Spaniard in a time of global crisis. At this time of course most people just want to go “home”. I felt vaguely like the writer Laurie Lee, returning to Spain in his late youth to find adventure in the form of the Spanish civil war, except I didn’t walk to the Pyrenees in winter, I can’t play the violin and other than...

Continue reading



Drawing Strength From Nature

The past few days have seen Covid 19 really take hold in the UK. Some of our friends and those in our community have it and our thoughts are with them. The wider health, social and economic implications are difficult to comprehend. One certainty - now, more than ever we have to look after each other and ourselves. Whether working from home, self isolating or simply absorbing the situation, taking time out to find space will benefit us all, assuming local advice and health allow. This is possible even in our most populated cities, be that the garden, park or canal, and if time allows then venturing further afield to rivers, woods or hills. Being outdoors in nature, and the...

Continue reading



St Abb's Head

Our ambassador Verena Splett and friend Laura Woolley recently visited St Abbs Head, an hour east of Edinburgh on the Berwickshire coast. Much of the area is greywacke and siltstone sandstone varieties but the cliffs themselves, rising 300ft above sea level, are volcanic and have weathered the frequent battering of the North Sea. Both avid outdoors photographers they chose St Abbs for the high cliffs which provide spectacular views of the coastline. And for the wildlife, sea birds in the many thousands of course and also seals, which they heard yet despite their best efforts, and a day spent wandering the coastline, they did not actually see. Next time. Lack of seal shots notwithstanding, the photographs are stunning.  Verena is...

Continue reading



Coombs Wood & Armathwaite Crag

  The Eden Valley isn't a secret, but it’s certainly less well frequented than most of Cumbria. The landscape is in stark contrast to the central Lakes, but just as beautiful, in my opinion anyway.  Coombs Wood is great to explore on foot or bike. Enter at Longdales hamlet and traverse steep paths then follow the river to reach Armathwaite Crag. There's some bouldering here. I love the colours - the bright orange sandstone and khaki lichen are echoed in the reds and greens of the forest. There’s one section of the outcrop with brilliant sedimentary erosion lines. The river's done the hard work and the weather’s finished it. 

Continue reading



Sierra de Grazalema

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the sierra de Grazalema – the wettest place in Spain, so they say. The village established in Moorish times is a typical “pueblo blanco” ensconced by several 1500m-limestone peaks. These peaks are the first barriers for clouds blown in from the Atlantic by warm humid winds having met no other significant obstacles en route east. Upon arrival at the sierra they condense and dump their rainfall on the sierra Grazalema in the province of Cádiz. It’s not uncommon to see snow here in during some of the winter’s colder days too. The draw to Grazelema for me is not particularly the village itself, although beautiful with plenty of places to eat well and...

Continue reading



Summiters, by Joe McGorty

Joe McGorty is great outdoor photographer. In addition to work for clients like Cyclist Magazine and helping us here at Utility Archive he's just completed The Summiters, a personal project portraying 'folk that reached the top of Snowdon on the last day of the tourist season'. Joe discusses the project in an interview on The Outsiders website. 

Continue reading



Northcott Mouth

We visited Northcott Mouth beach during an early January trip up the north Cornish coast. Searching for somewhere to overnight in the van we heard  about a shipwreck visible at low tide. With prospect of a little adventure before losing daylight we headed down to the beach.  The wreck eluded us, but the geology made up for it. Sandstone and shale strata in wild folds and a beautiful palette. Further along the beach, what appeared to be a stack was in-fact a massive rock fin, at 40m impressively vertical, but only an armspan wide. The strata run in 45 degree ridges  along the entire beach, so its not the easiest to navigate but this adds to the rugged beauty.

Continue reading



No Such Thing As Bad Weather

  When we introduced Verena in our previous post she mentioned liking clouds more than sun. Appropriate then that Cumbria was the location of her recent photography workshop, and they were treated to some of the best weather that region has to offer. Some great images of George Buttery and Verena making the most of it. The workshop was hosted by Jack Anstey and @theworldwithsarah.  Throughout the weekend Verena put our Fell Zip Backpack through it's paces, “we got soaked and nothing, really nothing was wet inside. I was worried at first but so relieved that all my equipment was completely dry.” We're lucky to have met Verena at this point in her photography career, as she builds on her portrait and landscape experience and begins to explore brand and lifestyle work. If...

Continue reading



Verena Splett

We're really pleased to welcome Verena Splett to the Utility Archive family. Born and raised in Berlin, Verena began her photography career whilst living in New Zealand and moved to Scotland earlier this year to pursue this further. We were immediately drawn to Verena's photography. In her own words 'I love the outdoors, prefer clouds to sun'. Her landscapes are bold, and carry drama and warmth in equal measure. The impact of her Scottish move seems clear.  A confident portrait and landscape photographer she's now extending her talent to brand and lifestyle work. Lucky us. More to follow.

Continue reading



Dezeen Gift Guide

We're young, green (in more ways than one) but ever so keen. As such we're very grateful indeed to the design gods at Dezeen for featuring our Fold Rolltop Backpack in their 2019 Gift Guide. Scroll down, bit further, keep going, there you go. Christmas sorted. Praise indeed.

Continue reading


Net Orders Checkout

Item Price Qty Total
Subtotal £0.00
Shipping
Total

Shipping Address

Shipping Methods