In There Somewhere Find!
I've been thinking about dry stone walls! Many years ago I worked for twelve months as a ranger for the National Park. In that time I helped to construct a bridge over the beck which runs next to Rydal Mount, the home of the Wordsworths, I cleared paths, planted trees and learned, from a true expert, how to build a dry stone wall. Walls are as much a part of the Cumbrian landscape as the Herdwick sheep, the fells, the lakes and the tarns. In the Cartmel and Furness peninsulas and some other areas they are made of limestone and are sometimes topped with decorative water-sculpted cap stones, in some of the Lakeland valleys the stones in the walls are rounded cobbles which have been taken from the nearby river beds while the grandest walls of all are those magnificent walls which soar up and over the fellsides. The definition of a dry stone wall is: A wall, built from unmortared stones, held together by itself. Dry stone walls define our landscape.
"In There Somewhere" is a small book written and illustrated by David Griffiths. There are chapters describing the different types of dry stone wall to be found around the UK and how they are constructed. The reader learns about footings, throughs, coverbands and copes, curves, cheek ends, corners, hog holes and stiles. But for me the most interesting chapters are those about Steven Allen who is a professional dry stone waller. Steven grew up on a small farm at Greenholme near Tebay right in the heart of Cumbria and from a very young age remembers helping his father repair the walls around the farm. As he grew older he joined the Young Farmers Club and won his first walling competition in 1984 at Flookburgh which is a small fishing village a couple of miles from Grange-over-Sands.
Steven has been the National Professional Champion four times and this has led to him working with Andy Goldsworthy on his sheepfold project. This was a Millennium project, funded by Cumbria County Council, Northern Arts and district councils. Rather than making new sheepfolds Andy Goldsworthy worked with existing folds in various states of disrepair or, in some cases, folds which had disappeared altogether but were clearly indicated on old maps. This enabled him to connect directly with the farming tradition and history of Cumbria but as each sheepfold was rebuilt he incorporated a piece of sculpture to bring new energy to them.
"In There Somewhere" is a fascinating look at the art and history of the dry stone wall and shows how modern art has been placed in the traditional landscape of Cumbria. And finally here is a great poem by Norman Nicholson - a homage to dry stone walls.
The wall walks the fell -
Grey millipede on slow
Its slack back hollowed
At gulleys and grooves,
Or shoulders over
Too big to be rolled away.
Of the high crags
Crawl in the walk of the wall.
A dry-stone wall
Is a wall and a wall,
Greening and weathering,
Flank by flank,
With filling of rubble
Between the two -
Flags and through-
stones jutting out sideways,
Like the steps of a stile.
A wall walks slowly.
At each give of the ground,
Each creak of the rock's ribs,
It puts its foot gingerly,
Arches its hog-holes,
Lets cobble and knee-joint
Settle and grip.
As the slipping fellside
Erodes and drifts,
The wall shifts with it,
Is always on the move.
They built a wall slowly,
A day a week;
Built it to stand,
But not stand still.
They built a wall to walk.
27 September 2009 from Mary Rossall
- On Lindale Hill
- Grange-over-Sands: The Story of a Gentle Township
- The Silent Traveller: A Chinese Artist in Lakeland
- Red Ike
- Cumbrian Privies
- Ethel Fisher's West Cumbrian Dialect titles
- The Embalmer's Book of Recipes by Ann Lingard
- Nella Last's Peace
- Riding the Stang by Dawn Robertson
- Life on the Fell - a pictorial chronicle of a Lakeland community
- About Scout Scar
- William Wilberforce - A Summer Diary 1779
- Beatrix Potter - the unknown years
- Smoke over Shap by Margaret Potter
- Songs of a Cragsman by George Basterfield
- The Grasmere Dialect Plays
- The Grizedale Experience: Sculpture, Art & Theatre in a Lakeland Forest
- An Atlas of The English Lakes
- How Hall. Poetry and Memories. A Passion for Ennerdale by Tom Rawling
- Stumpy, Hero of the Lakes
- The High Places by A. Harry Griffin
- The Highest House in Wathendale
- Kendal by Roger Bingham
- Secrets and Legends of Old Westmorland
- Reminiscences of Wordsworth Among the Peasantry of Westmorland by Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley
- Little Gods by Jacob Polley
- A Lakeland Summer
- Hunter of Harter Fell by Joseph E Chipperfield
- And Nobody Woke Up Dead
- An accessible paradise
- The Fleming Family novels and Graham Sutton
- Excursion to Loweswater. A Lakeland Visit 1865
- Writing on the Wall
- Beyond Scafell by Alan Robinson
- Rogue Herries by Hugh Walpole
- Kendal In The Nineteenth Century by A Wainwright
- In There Somewhere
- The Bondwomen by W G Collingwood
- "Ah'd Gaa Back Tomorra!"
- A Cumbrian Copper by Ray Huddart
- The Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards
- Old Will Stories by Dudley Hoys
- The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff
- T'Bacca Queen by Theodora Wilson Wilson
- Furness and the Industrial Revolution
- The Shadow of Black Combe
- The Painted Letters of Percy Kelly
- Ivver Sen
- Lakeland in the 1830s
- Wasdale Climbing Book By Michael Cocker
- Riding High by Barbara Sneyd
- Deborah in Langdale
- Early Recollections of Grange
- Hazard's Way by Roger Hubank
- Yan, Tan, Tethera
- Talk of the Town
- Capturing the Mountains
- Hope On, Hope Ever
- Mildred Edwards: Our City Our People 1889 - 1978 Memories
- Lakeland Limericks
- Surrounding loveliness
- Haweswater by Sarah Hall
- Coast to Coast by Jan Minshull
- Sunshine To The Sunless
- Geese, cattle wallopers and secret Irish paths
- Anarchists, Angels and wet Bank Holiday Mondays
- A more unconventional kind of find...?
- Skiddaw Summit by Kathleen Jones
- Thorstein of the Mere: A Saga of the Northmen in Lakeland
- Wednesday Early Closing
- Smoke Across The Fell
- The Sand Pilot of Morecambe Bay
- The Chronicles of Boggerthwaite
- Carrock Fell
- Feet in the Clouds
- Hercules and the Farmer's Wife
- Shepherd's Warning
- The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices
- I've been so busy reading I haven't had time to blog!
- Reading Detectives film
- Thank you!
- Coffee and books at the Bluebell Bookshop
- Mary learns to blog!
- Lucky 13!
- Grange over Sands get reading
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