I am itching to record another Stone Clearing Podcast, spurred on by the show getting to number 6 in the iTunes charts today, and many, many wonderful five-star reviews. (subscribe/check them out here
But I think for the sake of everyone’s sanity we must make this a weekly event, even if that means missing out on some remarkable stones and interesting encounters with other dog walkers (which I think will be what sets this piece apart), as I try to hide my secret identity from them - keep the secret.
Today I thought I should document some of the work so we can get an idea of how far I have progressed. So let me take you through these photos.
First of all, for the sake of given you some notion of the scope of the project, is my view as I enter the field of stones. I should make it clear that this photo shows a quarter or less of the landmass. There’s loads beyond the brow of the hill and to the left of the camera. Also there’s even more up and to the right. And every square metre is strewn with stones, both on the surface and for who knows how far underground?
That first picture is of the cairn I have made at my entrance to the field. It’s not too big yet, but there aren’t that many stones in this quadrant of the field and I also like to try and build the cairn by flinging rocks from a distance, which means not all of them make it to the pile.
Further along, next to a bench that someone has erected behind their garden gate is another good collection.
The next picture shows stones deposited in a gap beneath a bush. One day this pile will rise up and submerge the puny vegetation of course.
There are several developing cairns along this long stretch of houses and gardens and of course also many randomly deposited stones. I like to build with purpose but also by chance. Sometimes you place a stone, sometimes you aim it vaguely in a certain direction and sometimes you throw it into the long grass in the hope that in the future something beautiful may emerge.
Next up, quite a good cairn is developing in the other corner of this field, made partly of the the rocks kicked down in another wall I had been building along the fence of someone’s back garden.
The second most impressive collection is at the other end of the path that leads to Herring’s Mound. T
The next picture shows a developing cairn up in the far corner of the field, where there is an abundance of rocks, but where many dog walker converge. When no one is around I like to fling the big stones towards this pile from some distance into the field on the walk to the central cairn. But I couldn’t take a photo of that today because there were too many people around and I didn’t want to arouse suspicion.
Then, ignoring many other developing monuments, you can see how far the main mound has come. I have not even been visiting this one as much recently as I concentrate on tackling the field along its long diagonal, but that should give you some idea.
And finally there's a picture that shows that this isn't just about building. There's a ditch on the final stretch home that I am trying to fill in.
This is but the work of a couple of months. If I have 30 more years of stone clearing in me then I will be able to do 180 times this amount of stones, which surely will be huge wall, otherwise all this work will be but a folly.
I am really looking forward to getting to grips with explaining the craft in more detail and hope the new subscribers will stick with me to the end on this.