Sunday, 4 April 2010

The High Places IX: Washbeck Green and BAR 24

It was late in the afternoon and I began to think about the walk back to the car. A footpath, Badger Way, crosses the moor from east to west and I decided that following this back to the Stang would be easier and ultimately quicker than a direct line across the contours. As I turned to leave BAR 19b I saw a massive storm front, a vast billowing, towering cumulus coming straight over Osmonds Gill. The gods of weather and wind were thought to live in these High Places and as the sky darkened and threatened rain I headed west along the track, through the line of grouse butts and onto the track. The wind was picking up and my decision to ditch the heavy goretex in favour of lighter ventile was starting to look like a mistake. I picked up the pace and found myself amongst a small field of erratic boulders on the west side of Wash Beck.
Here I found a strange rock that reminded me of a butterfly, a line of linked cups running down its centre. From the gazetteer included in PRAND I suspect this to be BAR 24, described as a wedge-shaped boulder with two cups and three natural depressions. The rock was heavily encrusted with thick lichens, red, yellows, greys and whites – encouraging the likeness of the butterfly. Here was a real symbiosis of form and meaning, an artist had sought out a rock with a particular shape and described a line which brought out the symmetry and natural quality his medium. The thrill of viewing and the fleeting tatters of meaning that ran through my mind rooted me to the spot in wonder.

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