My visit at the end of March was well timed. In the absence of bracken, I was able to see the lie of the land and with that, some of the tracks and paths that have previously been concealed.
This was also the first visit that I explicitly addressed the Hanging Stones route. It was good to concentrate on this aspect of the project. The route is more than just the means to get to the houses. To understand the way a building connects to the valley is important to understanding the building itself.
It has perplexed me how Red House (or Barn) is perched on a somewhat inaccessible steep slope with no apparent road or track leading to it. I have always approached the building via steps cut into the steep banks at either side of the river and a track going straight up the hill made by ATV. It has never felt right.
The flattened grass and bracken has revealed a winding track up the hill to the house. This track circumvents the steps and is a much easier route. Moreover, it connects to the original road that passed through quarry workings on its way to West Northdale Farm– the evidence of the quarrying can still be seen today. Whenever possible, I will use existing tracks and paths.
I will place small way-markers at places where people might easily lose their way. They are not a substitute for reading a map and I would resist there being too many. The markers will be made of steel in reference to the land of iron.
I made three variations of the markers as a test but like the oval form best – it is a scaled down version of the opening to the chamber of Job’s Well. This will be the only shape used.
The markers will be recessed into stone (wall and gate posts) or wood (fence, tree or gate posts).
They will become more subtle as they become rusted but, I hope, still noticeable enough, for people to see.
I will use old broken stone gate post (of which there are many lying around) where there are no existing posts. These will be dug into the ground and placed upright
I have recently placed three of the way-markers along the route. I want to see how effective they are as a guide and how well they integrate into the place before placing any more.
Andy Goldsworthy March 2019