Kathleen Raine Poetry Stones

By Jane Penman

Our second Heritage Trail installation can be found in a small clearing in the magical setting of Hallinhag Wood. It can be reached by walking a short distance north-east along the Ullswater Way from Sandwick Bay, or in the other direction south-west from Howtown pier.

The lines inscribed on three rocks in this dell are from two poems by Kathleen Raine, who lived in Martindale during the 1940s. Raine was a visionary poet and admirer of William Blake, with a profound sense of the beauty and spirit of the natural world. She regarded Martindale as an idyllic world apart and wrote some of her finest poems in the valley’s peace and seclusion. These include ‘Night in Martindale’ and ‘On Leaving Ullswater’.

The design and lettering is by Pip Hall, a stone carver from south Cumbria whose other work includes the Poetry Path at Kirkby Stephen and The Stanza Stones in the southern Pennines.

To select the stones Pip visited the site with local residents Jane Penman and Berry Patel.

She then made sketches for each of the three stones before returning to carve them in situ.

 

So far two of the three poetry stones are complete thanks to the Lake District Community Fund and we have just heard that The Hadfield Trust will provide funding for the third stone. We look forward to Pip carving the third stone this spring.

The poems from which the lines for the poetry stones are taken are Night in Martindale and On Leaving Ullswater.

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Kathleen Raine   1908-2003

Kathleen Raine was a poet and scholar who wrote in the mystical, visionary tradition of valuing above all things nature and the power of the imagination. She knew from childhood that her vocation was poetry and her parents shared and encouraged her love of it. Born in Essex, she spent several years of her youth with her aunt Peggy Black in Northumberland, a place she remembered as an idyllic world. In the 1920s she studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge but turned away from the prevailing emphasis on rational thought to “the sacred springs of life, which are imagination and the heart.”

After Cambridge she married, but soon eloped with Charles Madge, with whom she had two children. This relationship did not last either. On the outbreak of WW2 she came with her children from London to live in Martindale Vicarage, where she became a friend of Winifred Nicholson and the wealthy art patron Helen Sutherland who lived at Cockley Moor, near Dockray. Locally, Raine was known and remembered as ‘Mrs Madge’. The peaceful seclusion of Martindale enabled her to write some of her finest poetry and in 1943 the volume called ‘Stone and Flower’ was published, with illustrations by Barbara Hepworth. Raine’s Martindale poems perfectly express a theophanic immersion in the natural world.

Her poetry had already achieved much critical acclaim when she met Gavin Maxwell, the love of her life, who was a fond companion but did not, to her distress, reciprocate her love. The title of his book ‘Ring of Bright Water’ is taken from one of her poems. In the 1950s Raine was made a research fellow at Cambridge, where her scholarly writing included her masterwork on William Blake and later on W.B. Yeats. She received numerous literary awards and honours, including the Queen’s Medal for poetry, and inspired many kindred thinkers, including the Prince of Wales. Kathleen Raine died in 2003, aged 95.

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Autumn Colours and Bracken Harvesting

By Janet Wedgwood

As the bracken turns golden we know that autumn has begun on the Ullswater Way. The trees begin to turn and soon the woodlands become a blaze of colour.the-ullswater-way-in-autumn-aira-woodsThis year has been particularly stunning with clear, windless days providing ideal conditions for walkers to enjoy the autumn colours and see them reflected in the lake.

 

At this time of year, the track descending towards the fell gate above Pooley Bridge passes between high banks of bracken.

 

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If you venture up to Moor Divock you may hear the sound of tractors working here and on the slopes of Heughscar. This is an area of common land, and local farmers have traditionally collected the bracken for winter bedding for their cattle. More recently, a system for composting the bracken has been developed by one of the farms to create a peat free compost, sold commercially as Lakeland Gold, and this has increased the extent of the harvesting.

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Wherever there is a view of the slopes above you can see evidence of the harvesting – the bracken is mowed and then baled before being collected, leaving bare grassy slopes. Just occasionally, a bale breaks loose as it is deposited on a steep part of the slope and comes bounding down to cross the track, quite a dramatic sight!

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Finally, thanks to Charlie Watson from Pooley Bridge Post Office we invite you to fly over the Ullswater Way and see the stunning autumn colours from the air. Enjoy! http://ullswaterway.co.uk/video.html

One Year On

On October 13th it will be exactly a year since a group of creative volunteers gathered at the first meeting of the Friends of the Ullswater Way. We set ourselves a challenge – to create the Ullswater Way Heritage Trail, a series of artistic installations that celebrate the valley’s history and traditions, the people who live and work here, those who are and have been inspired by its beauty.

One year on it is time to celebrate what we have achieved, and share our plans for the future.

Whether or not you have already been involved we invite you to join us at Watermillock Village Hall on 13th October at 7pm to hear how the Ullswater Way Heritage Trail is evolving and what is planned for the next year.

We look forward to hearing your views and ideas.

Everyone is welcome.

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C-Art along the Ullswater Way

Majestic scenery, ever-changing colours, the play of light on lake and fells, it is no wonder that artists have always been inspired by the Ullswater Valley.

As part of this year’s C-Art, Cumbria’s largest visual art project, over 110 artists across the county are opening their studios to visitors from 10-25 September and there are two Open Studios and one art installation no more than a stone’s throw from the Ullswater Way.

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Just a short walk along the lake shore from Pooley Bridge Rachel Fenwick’s thought-provoking installation “A Place in Time” will catch you eye. Sign-posts with dates rather than place names invite us to reflect on the crossroads in our lives, the directions we have chosen and how our identity has been influenced by those decisions.

At the southern end of the lake in Glenridding village you will find Pat Dyson’s Open Studio. Pat likes to sketch and draw outside, capturing the colours of the changing seasons. She also does wonderful portraits.

Not far away, in Patterdale, Pat Cooke’s fell-side studio is a delight. Describing her work, Pat says “I like to capture the landscape and objects around me in as fresh and immediate way as I can”.  Pat’s artwork feels like a celebration of her natural surroundings.

Pat Cooke has designed one of the Friends of Ullswater Way heritage art installations, an artists’ seat that will remind visitors of artists from the past who were inspired by Ullswater and its surrounding fells. J.M.W Turner, John Glover and Ann Macbeth all loved the Ullswater landscapes and will be celebrated on a small plaque to be placed on the seat.

For more information about C-Art and to check opening times www.c-art.org.uk

Also not to be missed is the Dockray Artists Open Studio at the Royal Dockray Hotel. See work by Michelle Castles, Gina Farncombe and Joanne Mitchell.

 

Welcome to the Friends of the Ullswater Way Blog

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About Us

The Friends of the Ullswater Way are a local group whose aim is to celebrate all that makes the Ullswater Valley special – the grandeur and beauty of its landscape, its history and traditions, the people who live and work here and those who are and have been inspired by the area.

Our first project is to create a number of installations along the Ullswater Way, each celebrating an aspect of the valley.  Each will be in harmony with the natural surroundings and created by local artists and craftspeople. More…

Friends of the Ullswater Way