: A Surplus of Sheepfolds
2nd September 2010
The green bulk of Barbon Low Fell stood on the eastern skyline like an
invitation, and I couldn’t resist its summons.
in the Times on 24th July and John, knowing that
the two slave drivers were away, suggested we follow
suit as an easier day out.
was surprising about the Times article was that Summerville
totally failed to mention the Andy Goldsworthy sculptures
that he passed on his return to Barbon..
he was just totally unimpressed by the seemingly purposeless
Millennium sheepfolds with no entrances?
maybe he was focussed on an interesting companion and
just didn't notice them?
had he not actually been there since the Millennium?
had intended to start the walk from Casterton
but John persuaded me to press on up Barbondale
to park at Blind Beck Bridge.
meant we could inspect Goldworthy’s Jack’s
Fold, which Summerville could be excused
for not seeing as he would have been in
the woods on the other side of the valley.
I think this is a bield, not a fold, as
it is a shelter with no means of enclosure
but we won't worry too much about that!
setting off, we noticed a couple sat by
the side of their road, picnic gear at the
ready, obviously on grandparent duty for
noticed four old men raggedly preparing themselves for
a walk. Then we realised that the grandfather
was occasional BOOTboy
Stuart H and he realised that the four old men were
his occasional colleagues! Small world.
exchanged, we set off up the bridle path to Bullpot
Farm, which, as reported in BB0714,
is now a caving centre. The
day was warmer than expected and we were soon stripping
across Barbondale to Thorn Moor
sign to Bullpot
Bullpot, there was a bit of a road slog before we turned
onto a trail gently climbing the hill. The Summerville
route dropped back to the road but it was such a
short and inviting detour to Brownthwaite Pike that we
could not resist the temptation to climb it. At the summit is a huge cairn and one of the bigger
wind shelters; not that we needed it today.
across Gale Garth to Crag Hill
shocked Tony. You may recall that his regime is
that he must eat at twelve noon and our normal practice
is to torture him by forcing him to wait until we have
summated before eating, often long after one o’clock.
Well, today, we had summited and could think of
no reason to delay eating so we thoroughly confused
him because it was only eleven thirty!
view of Kirkby Lonsdale and Casterton
lunch, we dropped back down to the track, which rejoined
the road we had left earlier. Here we lost Philip.
The hedgerows were full of brambles and he was
determined to take the best of them home with him.
regrouped at the Fellfoot Road crossing. This
unsurfaced lane is where there are sixteen of the Goldsworthy
sheepfolds, all with a large stone block in the middle,
starting with one at the left hand far corner.
two of them are off to the left but in the next 1.2
miles we would encounter thirteen more of them, plus a few more conventional ones.
all of them are obvious, but it would be surprising
to miss all
fourteen. And the question that springs to mind
is why such tiny
sheepfolds, most having no apparent way in for sheep, would ever have been built around such large,
than a bit of fun for children and old fools to climb
into and onto, what is their purpose?
more importantly, who paid?
the money come out of our taxes?
so, letter to George Osborne with suggestion of a good
place to start with spending cuts.
the eleventh, the central stone was particularly large,
big enough for four old fools to climb onto and have
a team picture so I set the camera up precariously on
the wall on the opposite side of the lane whilst the
other three climbed into the fold. Tony made it
up onto the rock but John and Philip thought better
of it and just stood to the side. My goal was
to carefully trigger the camera, making sure it did
not fall off into the brambles in the process, rush
across the lane, climb the stone stile, go round to
the side of the stone, use a small ledge as a launching
pad onto the top and stand before the ten seconds delay
number one went very smoothly and I achieved the standing
position but unfortunately was about a second too late.
number two flopped when my foot slipped off the ledge
and I failed to make it onto the stone.
number three got off to a flying start and I hurled
myself onto the stile only to give my knee a great whack
on the wall in the process. Despite this, I did
manage to limp onto the stone on time in an almost standing
position but, for some strange reason, the camera over-exposed
the photo and the great effort was to no avail.
this time the others had had enough, and so had I. So
the photo used is the first where I can be seen one
second before being where I should have been!
lane met the road, which doubles as the Cumbria Cycleway.
John’s knee, which has been re-engineered twice, was troubling him so we decided to
take the short cut back to the car.
Pike from the Cumbria Cycleway
continued along the lane, past the rather fine house,
and with the rather fine Barbon
Manor in view
(availalble to rent if you have a spare £40k per
annum), back to the Barbondale road and Blind Beck Bridge.
Stuart and grandchildren had moved on. Probably
not to Barbon Manor.
had been good walk on a beautiful if somewhat hazy day.
We are grateful to Christopher Summerville for
bringing it to our attention but are still surprised
that no comment was made about the sheepfolds.
if he, or anyone else, wants to know more about the Goldsworthy
sheepfolds, have a look at Sheepfolds
2nd September 2010
subsequently visited Christopher's Summerville's website
and found a page where visitors could leave comments.
On it was a posting
from a lady who had enjoyed his walk but had been intrigued
the sheepfolds and wondered if he had any information
about them. I entered
a comment that we had also enjoyed the walk and had
wondered why they had not been mentioned. I added
a link to this BOOTboys
page as a place where information about the Goldsworthys
could be found.
led to the following response from Christopher Summerville:
Thank you for getting in touch. I'm not sure I care
for your insinuation in your online Bootboys page that I
would use a walk I'd done ten years ago as one of my Times 'A Good Walk's,
without rewalking it. Hopefully it was made with tongue firmly in cheek!
did in fact do this walk in early July this year. Not
everyone who does the same walk notices or comments
on the same thing, you know! The walk I wrote about
was the one that I personally did, enjoyed and noted.
That's the beauty of walking - we all make something
different of it. Next time I pass that way, thanks to
you, I'll notice and appreciate the Goldsworthy sheepfolds
would be grateful if, in the interests of balance, you
would post this on your Bootboys page, so that anyone
who reads your assertions can also read mine!
walking, and good wishes,
climbed in feet:
& Stan: 2, Bryan:
7 (all unchanged)
Don, John, Philip, Tony
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB1033.
see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing
For the latest totals of the mileages and heights see: BB Log.
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This page describes an adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature
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of new BOOTboys reports.
Thursday 14th January
A Snowy Equipment Test
Thursday 21st January
Leave It To The Professionals
Thursday 28th January
That's A Lyth Record
Reasons To Be Cheerful
One, Two, Three
Thursday 11th February
Can You See Clearly Now?
Thursday 18th February
In Memory Of
Almost a Mountaineer!
The Beginning Of The End
Thursday 11th March
The Free Men on Tuesday
We'll Get Them In Singles,
The Fools on the Hill
The Windmills on the Moor
By Lake, Ridge and Wainwright
The Ten Lake Tour (+5Ws)
The Kentmere Challenge
Saturday 24th April
Winter in Springtime
Thursday 14th May
Red Screes and Sausages
The Mile High Club
What A Difference A Day Makes
Rendezvous on Haycock
The Men of Gragareth
The Smardale Round
Don't Shun The Shunner!
All Around the Edge
The Return of
Nick by Haggis
And Then There
A Surplus of Sheepfolds
A Good One For
Saturday 30th January
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see which Wainwright top was visited on which
outing see Which
download a log of heights and miles and which Wainwrights have
been done by which BOOTboy
in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent
anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know
and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!