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A Briton’s special affection for the Great Wall

William Lindesay has been obsessed with the Great Wall of China since seeing it in a school atlas as a child in England, and last year embarked on an epic journey to fulfil a lifelong ambition – to film the wall in its entirety from the air. He told the BBC's Anna Jones about this quest.

自小时候在学校的地图集看到中国的万里长城,英国人威廉.林赛就对中国长城着迷不已。在空中拍摄长城是他从小到大的梦想,林赛从去年开始采取行动,逐步实现儿时梦想。林赛在接受英国广播公司(BBC)1月6日报道时表达了自己的渴望。

"The Great Wall is an amazing sight, and it deserves to be seen in its best light," says William from his home in Beijing.

他在北京的家中说,“长城是奇观,它应当被完美地呈现。”

Unable to shake his childhood fascination, he moved to China from Wallasey on Merseyside in 1986 "for the wall", and has since researched it extensively, writing several books and gaining an OBE for his work.

为了更接近自己童年的梦想,为了长城,1986年,林赛从英国默西赛德郡的沃勒西移居到中国,自此他不断进行关于长城的研究,并出版多部著作,更因而获得大英帝国官佐勋章(OBE)。

The wall most tourists see today is in places like Badaling, an easy day trip from Beijing, where the stones and towers have been repeatedly restored.

今天大多数游客看到的、从北京出发一日游非常便利的长城比如八达岭长城,那里的城墙和峰火台曾被反复修复。

"But there's more to the wall than that," says William, who trained as a geographer. "Before the tourist wall that people flock to, there were many other 'Great Walls of China'."

被训练成了地理学家的林赛说,“但长城可不仅仅是这些,除了游客纷涌而至的这些长城,还有许多'中国长城'。”

Sprawled across northern China and into Mongolia, the creation of these various walls spanned centuries and ruling dynasties. The oldest parts date back more than 2,000 years.

万里长城横跨中国北部,延伸至蒙古,这些城墙的修筑跨越了几个世纪,在不同的朝代建成,而最古老的城墙,其历史可追溯至2000年前。

In some places towering stone and in others heaped-up earth, the walls have variously served as highways, defensive fortresses, a communication network and even a fence to contain migrating animals.

某些地方,长城穿过高耸的石头,有时又跨过泥土堆,它有着多种不同用途──包括公路、抵抗外敌的堡垒、通讯系统、甚至用来控制迁徙的野生动物。

"Over the past 30 years I've been looking at all of these walls, as far as possible," says William. "My travels have taken me all over northern China, even as far as Mongolia."

林赛说:“过去30年,我一直看着这些城墙,有多远去多远……我去过中国北方所有地方,甚至远至蒙古。”

In the 1990s, he and his wife, Wu Qi, bought a farmhouse at the foot of the wall, and would spend most weekends there exploring it.

90年代,林赛与妻子吴琪在长城脚下购买了一间农舍,周末时夫妻俩常会研究、斟察长城。

Photography has always been important, says William, whether the images were "just beautiful or whether the architecture, the design features had a meaning that I wanted to explain in my writing".

林赛指出,摄影非常重要。无论是“美丽的风景,还是我在著作中向读者解释长城的建筑及不同的设计特色的插图”。

But in 2016 his sons, Jim and Tommy, had a suggestion for seeing the wall in a whole new way, and began, as they put it, pestering him to buy them a drone.

但在2016年,他的儿子吉姆和汤米提议使用一种新的方式来机拍摄长城,缠着他要买一台航拍机。

"I was very concerned they'd come back from the first trip without the drone," says William. He eventually caved, and the results, coupled with some self-taught editing flair from his sons, have been "out of this world".

林赛说:“我非常担心在第一次旅程后,航拍无人机就会不见了。” 他最后屈服,购入一台航拍无人机,两名儿子自行学会剪辑,拍摄成果犹如“不属于这个世界”。

"Over the years, publishers and filmmakers have come to me and said, let's do the Great Wall from the air," he says.

他说:“不少出版商及电影制作人都跟我提议,不如从空中拍摄长城。”

"My typical reply was that unless you've got millions and millions of dollars, and high-level contacts with the government and the armed forces, who control the skies, then forget it.

“我通常都会说,除非你有数百万资金,及与政府和控制领空的军方高层的联系。假如都没有的话,不如放弃这个念头。”

"In this way drone technology is a godsend."

“这样说来,航拍技术是上天赐予的礼物。”

So armed with their drone and with a travel agency sponsor, the family spent a total of 60 days tracing the walls in 2016, celebrating William's 60th birthday and his 30th year of living in China "for the wall".

因此,通过一家旅行社的赞助,这一家人花了60天带着航拍无人机追踪长城。这次旅程亦庆祝林赛的六十岁生日及“为了长城”移居中国三十年。

They began in July at the Old Dragon's Head, the point where the Ming dynasty-era Great Wall meets the sea in the east, and followed it westwards, branching off to explore the older Zhao wall, dating back to 300BC, then hundreds of kilometres further west, the Han dynasty wall.

他们的旅程从七月开始,首站是老龙头,这里是明长城东部接大海的起点。林赛一家从老龙头往西走,到访公元300年前建筑的赵长城。下一站是汉朝建成的长城。

That was followed in August by a flight to Ulan Bator in Mongolia, from where they camped in the wild while tracing what is marked on old maps as the Wall of Genghis Khan.

八月他们乘飞机到达蒙古乌兰巴托。他们一家在野外露营,并寻找成吉思汗城墙。

William calculates the entire journey to have been some 15,000km (9,320 miles) and says flying the drone over these remote areas gave a whole new perspective on the ruins.

林赛估计他们的总旅程约为15000公里(9320英里),而在四野无人的地方使用航拍无人机,令他们对于长城遗迹有崭新的想法。

"When you go to Mongolia, you find a wall that doesn't actually excite you. You can barely see it in the broad light of day.

“去蒙古的时候,你能发现有一堵看起来平淡无奇的城墙,但在白天几乎都看不到这城墙。”

"Very early in the morning, just before sundown, if you're lucky you get low angle sunlight, you can see the shadow of this structure not snaking, but streaking straight across the steppe."

“清晨时分,或在太阳还未下山之前,假如你幸运的话,阳光以低角度射进来的话,你可以看到这城墙的影子穿越草原。”

But from the air it becomes "a phenomenal sight… with the empty steppeland, golden sunlight and the mound underlined by very very dark shadow"

不过从空中拍摄的话,“加上空旷草原、金色阳光及黑影衬托的护堤,城墙景观变得壮丽无比”。

"In my mind of all the shots that the boys took of the Great Wall from the air, that is the most surprising, because it just looks so amazing, the wall in that completely empty landscape, you feel as though you're on the very edge of Central Asia."

“我心目中认为,儿子在空中拍摄的视频,最令人惊奇。视频美得让人赞叹。长城就在空旷的背景中,你感觉自己好像就在中亚边缘一样。”

William is also clearly fascinated by the role the wall has played in the history of the Chinese people. Seeing it from the air, he says, helps an observer get in to the mind of its creators.

林赛对长城在中国历史的角色亦深感兴趣。他认为,在空中看长城,能帮助其他人去了解长城的建造者的心境。

"We see the twists and turns, and we ask, why did it twist and turn there? Why did they route it along there, and not along there?"

“我们看到蜿蜒的长城,我们会问,为何在这里转弯?为何他们在这边建长城,而非其他地方?”

"The land beside the wall where the builders established their camps, their villages, where they sourced all their building materials – I view this as the Great Wall's historical landscape."

“城墙旁边的土地,就是工人筑起营地、村庄、收集建筑材料的地方。我认为这就是长城的历史景观。”

Beyond the romance of travel and photography, this contrast of old and new underlines the other reason for their trip.

除了旅游及摄影外,长城的新旧对比亦是他们踏上旅程的原因之一。

"There's a lot of hullabaloo always about how long the Great Wall is, and stories about the wall getting shorter because it's getting damaged," says William.

林赛说:“长城究竟有多长,存在诸多争议,亦有不少传闻指由于被破坏的关系,长城变得越来越短。”

"So I'll be looking at the footage and, trying to work out how close things are getting to the wall.

“我会查看我们拍摄的镜头,看看长城的受损程度。”

"There are laws and regulations made in the last 10 years to protect the Great Wall landscape, and I'm going to be interested to see how the reality matches up."

“过去十年,政府立法保护长城,到底实况如何,我很有兴趣知道。”

Source: BBC

2017-01-10

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