The Watering Hole
This print was inspired by a visit to Birkdale Tarn on a grey day in July when I walked around it collecting feathers left by curlew, lapwings, seagulls, oystercatchers and golden plovers. I revisited a number of times before I finally made this piece. Ella wrote:
“It was dammed at one time to collect water for working the mines at Lonin Edge. Now the waves lap drearily at its edges, and a feeling of danger surrounds it. Sheep are often drowned in its waters. Sea-gulls haunt it in great numbers, and breed here in the spring, their unfamiliar cries added to those of the moor birds. Along the shores of the tarn a fine silver sand is found where the people gather and lay on a piece of wood spread with tar for sharpening their scythes at hay-time. There is good peat nearby” – Swaledale.
“THE farm-house of Crackpot Hall, gazing defiantly across at Kisdon from its lofty site, arouses one’s curiosity and imagination the moment it is seen from the village of Keld, from East Gill or from Muker and the hills beyond” – Swaledale.
Crackpot Hall was one of the first places that intrigued me whilst researching this project. Marie and Ella wrote about it extensively in ‘Swaledale’ and Marie has made a lovely little wood engraving, which shows you how it looked whilst it was inhabited. Now a tumbledown ruin, it is possible to explore the old house and gardens and find artefacts that are remnants of the past lives lived within its walls. I have visited many times and on one occasion, following a storm, I found lots of pieces of broken patterned china amongst the rabbit holes, a poignant reminder of all the family meals eaten in days gone by.
My epic adventure in Birkdale took me to Nine Standards Rigg via the ‘Coast to Coast’ route. It has some lovely new signage along it but I was very attracted by the remains of an old finger post covered in lichen. The birdlife along the route was amazing with meadow pipits being ubiquitous.