Today's walk has been inspired by photography and writing team, Rob and Harriet Fraser, and their project The Long View where they worked with seven ordinary but remarkable trees. The link to the website for the project is here and the link to their Somewhere Nowhere site is here. Rob and Harriet have both loved trees for as long as they can remember and in 2010 came up with the idea of photographing seven trees over a period of two years. They decided on seven as it is a special number with many connotations (see their website for more), but first came the task of selecting the seven trees which itself took several years. I first became aware of this work when we saw a small exhibition of it at Thorney How guest house in 2016. I had stayed here many years ago when it was part of the YHA so there was a double incentive in play. We were so inspired by this small exhibition and also their website that we leapt at the opportunity to visit the full show and artist talk at Grizedale Forest Centre earlier this year. I have written this up in my degree blog and the link is here.
Not only did we feel that Rob and Harriet's interests and outlook on life and the natural world matched our own in many ways, I could see many similarities with the main body of work for my degree. Given the title -Shul ( a Tibetan word meaning the mark made by something's passing - so both a footprint and a path are a shul) - it is about walking woodland paths and in many ways is a celebration of trees and woodland (Link to the work here). We were so inspired by the exhibition and by talking to Rob and Harriet that while we have the caravan in The Lakes we have decided to make our own pilgrimage to each of the 7 trees and record the journeys in our own ways (me photography, Heather drawing and perhaps felt and textile work); The Little Asby Hawthorn, then, is our first foray.
Having weathered the eeirie conditions and gales of Storm Ophelia we woke on the Wednesday morning full of anticipation for a day of good weather - we were not to be disappointed. Our journey to Little Asby on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park via Kendal and Tebay on the M6 took only a short while. Once parked up we headed back up the road towards the Tree Fold that we had passed on the way up. The Tree Folds are part of Rob and Harriet's project; a celebration of their work, the trees and the art of of dry-stone walling. They were built with the help of master waller, Andrew Mason, who also worked with land artist Andy Goldsworthy, Each is built with stone found locally. Around the centre of each treefold is carved a line of poetry. Each line stands alone but, when joined together with the others, forms a complete poem. During this next winter a young tree will be planted in the centre of each. We really enjoyed the Treefold and its poem. We photographed it and drew it and were delighted with the tiny geode set into one of the stones with its crystals gleaming inside. Soon though, it was time to gird up our loins and tackle the hill up to the limestone escarpment and the hawthorn following tracks that may have been human but were most likely made by sheep. Sheep tracks are usually good to walk along but often go nowhere specific apart from the next juicy clump of grass. On the way up we found a small patch of fungi - red jewels gleaming in the grass. I find fungi complicated to identify but this one, I think, is scarlet waxcap.
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