3rd January 2022
"A Year in the Life" - follows Andy Marshall' s travels throughout 2022 - posted out on the corresponding date in 2023.
I walk along Lambert Lane up towards Warrendale Knots and Attermire Scar. The lane, which is deeply cut into the landscape, affords extra protection from the elements with its drystone walls. The walls are what make this place special, cutting up the dales into honeycombed parcels, orchestrating the containment and movement of sheep - a vascular network of stone held together by compression.
Looking south from High Hill Lane beneath Sugar Loaf Hill, I feel like a fly on a billiard table. Every now and then, the sky, laden with clouds, affords a scatter of rays - and for short moments, the walls shine like silvered ribbon.
Whilst walking along the drover’s lane I think about the energy invested in these walls over the countless years. Some of them have medieval cores. Each wall is laid by hands that stretch across generations. I’ve heard that, at the time of their making, drystone walls are invested with bones and bottles - amulets that are protective in nature. Each stone and gallet has a memory affixed. It got me thinking: when they repair these walls - does it open a door to the past? Do they encounter their forebears as they pare them back? Do the cap-stones rhyme with chapter and verse?
Further out towards Langcliffe the walls are teaming with life - each stone as exquisite as a coral reef, infused with micro-worlds as complex as the village beyond: moss upon lichen and lichen upon moss in a symbiotic capillaried entanglement. Today, they appear to be turgid. Soaked to the core, they’ve absorbed a whole winter of discontent. On earlier walks in late summer, I’ve seen the same walls exhale fine, wispy mists, their mossy copings diffused with vapour like the amazonian forest.
Tugged up from the earth and placed in gravity defying harmony, these walls are storied in their making and saturated with meaning.
Next diary entry:
"I’ve seen the same walls exhale fine, wispy mists, their mossy copings diffused with vapour like the amazonian forest."
Here's a short video showing the "moss exhaling" from a different occasion near to Giggleswick on the opposite side of the valley.