Lorna’s Weaving Walk – Day 3

Image by Lorna Singleton: Stripped pieces from a hazel rod coiled and fixed to the front of an orange rucksack, which has wooden-handled tools in the pockets. The bag is laid on the woodland floor, with dried leaves, earth and green wood sorrel in view.

Lorna Singleton, who was commissioned to respond to her Artful Way, shares notes from Day 3 of her 3-day walk. The last section of her route runs from Roudsea Woods back to her home in Grizedale Forest. (If you haven’t read about the previous days, check them out here: Day 1 and Day 2).

A swill (basket made of oak bark) resting on a low glass house in a vegetable garden, with fields beyond.

Waking up surrounded by the smell of willow and looking out on a gorgeous garden was a delight. Having breakfast and a coffee brought to me made it even better. This B&B was great! Or was it B&B&B? Baskets and bed and breakfast.

I didn’t hang around too long as I had a long walk ahead. Susan gave me a lift up to Roudsea Woods and I set off. Today’s path took me through a bit of woodland, along the river Leven, across the estuary and alongside the Rusland Pool.

The oak baskets I make are sometimes known as swills because of their use for cockle picking on Morecambe Bay. Cockles were flicked into the baskets and then, in a hole dug into the sands that would fill with sea water, the basket was submerged in water and swilled around to clean the sand off the cockles. Sadly they’re no longer used for this purpose, but the name lives on.

A view across the estuary: there is a grassy bank in the foreground and a watery channel - the tide is out so there is a lot of exposed wet sand. There is a grassy hill in the distance.

Over the main road and across a field the path headed into woodland and I soon found a fine looking hazel sunshoot to cut and process into strips. As I was sitting there a man with a couple of dogs came around the corner.

‘Are you Wayne’s sister?’

Erm, yeh.

‘Thought so. He’s always banging on about you making stuff out of sticks.’

There’s no hiding.

Strips of hazel coiled up and fixed onto an orange rucksack, which is lying next to a path in the woodland.

Once I’d finished processing the stick I coiled up the strips, packed my tools away and carried on to Bouth to meet a friend, Amy, who was going to walk some of the way with me. We had an icecream from Old Hall Farm and then set off. This was a last-minute arrangement as I thought I’d be walking alone, and that I’d prefer to, but it was really nice. Amy is a musician and incredibly creative so walking with her didn’t distract me from the aim of the day. In fact we had interesting conversation all day, stopped at times to sit and look at the trees, to chat about what weaving means, to talk about where pandemic life has taken us and how it has allowed us to be more creative and how it has limited us.

One part of the walk took us longer than expected when we couldn’t see the path through the overhead bracken. Every time we emerged out we had to stop and remove dozens of ticks before we set off into another patch. The stuff of nightmares. We were both very glad to get to the top of that hill and onto the fire road into Grizedale Forest.

A photograph showing a woman in hat walking through shoulder-high bracken, with trees on either side. a

At one point I remembered an old ironworks marked on the map that I’d wanted to find, and it turned out we were right next to it. It is a big flat area and when you look closely its covered in lumps of iron slag.

Ancient remains that are relatively unmarked. Where did the iron ore come from? Who mined it and moved it here? Who chopped the trees and made the charcoal needed to smelt the iron? And what was the finished iron used for? Yet again I was struck by how this calm, idyllic patch of forest was once full of industry and valued for its natural resources.

An image of a pock-marked piece of iron ore held in a hand.

We walked on. Stopping to sit next to Farra Grain Gill to watch the light reflecting back up onto big sycamore leaves. And then homeward.

I love the fact that whenever I stopped still and didn’t pause the GPS tracker it went on its own little wander. So as I was sitting and weaving, the tracker left a weaving mark too. It highlighted to me how my ‘Weaving Walk’ was weaving in more than one way. I was weaving baskets, weaving a path through the landscape, and weaving pieces of myself back together like I had hoped for. Meeting people from different aspects of my life, slotting together my different interests. Time for quiet contemplation and letting the gentle rhythm of one step after the other tease ideas and realisations out of my brain.

I didn’t finish a basket on this last day and that was just as it should be. I finished the basket later in my studio and as I was weaving, reflected on the walk.

A close view of a hazel basket, with light shining through it. the basket was made by Lorna Singleton for the Artful Ways project.

To find out more about Lorna and her Artful Way walk, visit her ‘My Artful Way’ page here.

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