/ NEWS: Stanza Stones - Poetry On t' Moors

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UKC News - on 30 Jul 2012
'Rain' at Cows Mouth Quarry, 4 kbIs it art or graffiti? Stanza Stones is an unusual collaboration between poet Simon Armitage and Ilkley Literature Festival, in association with imove, a Cultural Olympiad programme in Yorkshire

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67307
Jim Brooke - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Frankly, I don't give a shit if it's pretty poetry, I'd much rather our limited wild spaces remained untouched as long as possible. I find this depressing.
Jim Brooke - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Jim Brooke:

Actually, is it all on quarried rock? Doesn't say... I am less depressed if so.
Marcus Buckley - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Jim Brooke:
> (In reply to Jim Brooke)
>
> Actually, is it all on quarried rock? Doesn't say... I am less depressed if so.

I still strongly disagree with this whole project.

The quarries are no longer worked, I was outraged to hear hammer and chissel whilst soloing one quiet afternoon. The fact that the chissel was being used for what is clamed as an artistic project changes nothing in my mind. This is now a permenant feature on the rock, in a rock type that most of us do our upmost to minimise our impact upon.


JH74 - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

It's possibly not 'art' but I think it's great. Looks much nicer than a load of chalked holds one could argue.
Double Knee Bar - on 30 Jul 2012
So, if I went up to Millstone with a hammer and chisel, with permission of the landowners, and wrote a verse from "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts" on the embankment wall, That'd be cool with you guys?
After the massive uproar of dry tooling scratches a few years ago, I think this is tremendously worse in comparison.
Frogger - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Double Knee Bar:

Exactly the point. If you condone this type of thing once (context doesn't matter, because everyone has a different reason, don't they?) then expect more to follow.

And who is to say which bits of rock can or shouldn't be touched?

mike kann - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: Deary me - is that the imprint of a nose on your knees I can see? Chalk, erosion, litter - we all have an impact whether you want to admit it or not. I somehow doubt this is about to become common place. Seeing as these crags don't belong to anyone here, surely it's upto the land owner what he see's fit to do with his land? End of the day he could be applying for quarrying rights, or closing the land off like has happened at Vixen Tor...
JH74 - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Frogger:

Do you mean people all over the land engraving poetry into rocks? I doubt it'll happen, but if it did it might be quite nice especially if it's done in such a skilled way.

Still looks better than a bunch of chalked holds one could argue.
Double Knee Bar - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to JH74: You think it'd be quite nice if someone chiseled a sonnet into Meltdown?
Marcus Buckley - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to UKC News) Deary me - is that the imprint of a nose on your knees I can see? Chalk, erosion, litter - we all have an impact whether you want to admit it or not.

Yes I understand but we do try to keep these impacts to a minimum, we take our litter home and do not drive 4x4's to the crags.

Chalk washes off, this will not.
JH74 - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Double Knee Bar:

I don't think that. I do think this engraving looks fantastic though. Climbers don't own all the rock in the land. I consider it a thing to share.
JH74 - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Marcus Buckley:

One could argue that the chalk will only properly wash off if climbers stop using the rock, and that the chalk is therefore permanent.
jfmchivall - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Marcus Buckley:

It's not mentioned in the article, at Cow's Mouth the text is deliberately sited so as not to affect the climbing. From the walk guide:

"The old quarry is very popular with rock
climbers so we identified the best place for
the carving with the help of local climbers
and the British Mountaineering Council.
As it’s the very bottom section of a climb, a
local expert came out to show lettercarver
Pip the ‘hand and foot holds’ so she could
lay Rain out round them."

None of the other poems are on rocks that you would climb, unless you're two feet tall.

I think it's a wonderful project. Simon Armitage is a fan of Britain's wild places - he walked the Pennine Way recently, giving poetry recitals on the way - there was an interview with him about it in TGO a while ago.
mike kann - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: Puddle stones are reclaimed grit from mill flooring.
Dew stones are quarried grit installed in a gateway
Mist stones are on installed stones
Snow stone is at Pule hill Quarry. I.e. not natural.
Beck stone will be on Ikley moor and installed.
"The rain Stone - Simon has often been up here in a downpour and wrote rAin with this exact spot in mind.The old quarry is very popular with rock climbers so we identified the best place for the carving with the help of local climbers and the British Mountaineering Council. As it’s the very bottom section of a climb, a local expert came out to show lettercarver
Pip the ‘hand and foot holds’ so she could lay rAin out round them."

So in reality it's 6 current locations, with an undisclosed extra (most likely in the back of beyond where most will not see it unless the look hard enough), 2 of which are permanent. 1 was done in consultation with the BMC and local climbers, the other sounds as though it does not affect any climbing.
Kemics - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Frogger:
> (In reply to Double Knee Bar)
>

> And who is to say which bits of rock can or shouldn't be touched?

Possibly not climbers? We get our own way on 99% of most of the stone in this country ;)
alan_davies - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Double Knee Bar:
> (In reply to JH74) You think it'd be quite nice if someone chiseled a sonnet into Meltdown?

The idea that doing something like this:http://i.ukc2.com/i/202310.jpg?v=398

Somewhere like this:http://www.lastrefuge.co.uk/images-database/Adrian%20Warren/aerials/AW27-10-Llanberis-Quarry.jpg

..is an act of vandalism against nature, just shows how skewed our views can be as climbers. I love climbing on the slate, quarried grit etc.. but seriously its not the immaculate and untouchable rock, provided for us climbers alone and nobody else, that it's often made out to be.
Also it seems some real thought has been put into the one instance where this occurs near to climbing, in consultation with the BMC.
I'm often much more embarrassed/worried by the impact we have as climbers relating to wear and tear on the rock, chalk and tick marks, erosion at the base of climbs, over eager gardening and wire brushing, erosion at the top of climbs, litter, human waste (poo and the lovely familiar whiff of pish on a sunny day at certain popular venues) etc etc..
Granted most of us try to minimise or even rectify the above problems, but there are still lots of examples of the above issues. I think we should get our own house in order a bit more before getting our kecks in a twist about the OP.

alan_davies - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to alan_davies: p.s. I'm aware the OP is on grit, not slate.. was replying to the suggestion of a sonnet being engraved on Meltdown.
The Pylon King on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

i think it looks f*cking ace!

nice one.
grubes - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to JH74:
> (In reply to Marcus Buckley)
>
> One could argue that the chalk will only properly wash off if climbers stop using the rock, and that the chalk is therefore permanent.

You clearly do not climb on the moors very often.
9 times out of 10 when I go to moorland crags I will not see any chalk on the holds except for maybe on a classic. Also at moorland venues chalk is not pasted on like on popular routes else where.
I was at pule hill where on of these poems is and the classic of the crag had no chalk on it. I did not see any chalked up holds all evening.
Chalk is temporary chipping is permanent.

Have to say this seems like more of Simon armitage self promoting himself further to keep his GSCE syllabus contract going, pissing off more and more 15-16years olds every year with his wank poetry.
katherinesydney - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

i like it

i understand being wary of damaging places which are 'wild' and wouldn't want crag-carving to take off as a popular form of self-expression, but it's been done well and is an invitation to consider the landscape in a new way. pretty much everywhere you look in england (i'm exempting wilder bits of the uk), human influence is blatantly obvious, even on the (managed) moors. and people have been marking rocks, prettily or otherwise, for years and years and years. not everyone will like it, sure.

remember that by climbing, you're choosing to experience the landscape in a very specific way; and your being there changes other people's experience of it: you leave trails, make noise, polish rock, remove vegetation; claim it as your own by putting it in a guidebook. and why not? but places are for sharing, on small islands...

mike kann - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to grubes: So having seen the poem at pule hill, is it deeply offensive and an eye sore, or under a bunch of ferns and moss as indicated on the website?
Double Knee Bar - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to alan_davies: I understand what your saying about our skewed opinion, but my intended point was that chiseling like this has the potential to destroy historically important climbs if done in a misguided manner. Even if done with the permission of the landowner and on quarried rock.
Tall Clare - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to mike kann:

I suspect Grubes' take on it might not be entirely objective, judging by his post here.
mike kann - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Double Knee Bar: Yes. It does. Just like people putting cams behind the flakes on Sloth. You still see plenty of climbers doing that. How many poets out there do you think are dying to get their poems hewn onto a piece of moorland rock? Paper is far more accessible to most. It's a far more convenient way of carrying around poems rather than on a tablet of millstone grit.
mike kann - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: Next he'll be telling us grit is gods own rock, when clearly granite is.
grubes - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to mike kann:
The chipping at pule is out of the way on the side of pile of boulders in an area no one goes.

However the viewing stance they built looks is out of place and context with the area and the pile of rocks that appear to have been dumped there left over from building it is an eyesore.

Can't confirm the pile of rock is left from it but it is the same colour as the stance (different to that of the quarry) and 10m away at the top of the track up to the crag.
mike kann - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to grubes: So you're basis for complaint is that the anti erosion actions they have taken looks out of place in the quarry?
Michael Ryan - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Jim Brooke:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Frankly, I don't give a shit if it's pretty poetry, I'd much rather our limited wild spaces remained untouched as long as possible.

Hmmm untouched?

At Cow's Mouth yesterday; We parked up at a pub, next to a house on the moors with a wind turbine, we could see clusters of wind turbines and the industrial spread of Manchester. Around on the moors were man-made reservoirs and marching pylons, we approached on a broad man-made path. Crossed a beautiful man-made arched bridge.

The letters are precisely carved and the exposed virgin rock of the one we visited was golden....which will weather with time as many stone carvings do.

It is a mixture of man-made ugliness and beauty up there as well as the splendour of the wild moors which as Simon says in this particular poem...'where the front of the mind distils the brunt of the world.

'

Some videos here, which offer further explanation: http://www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk/test/



grubes - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to mike kann:
My complaint is the precident this sets.
It says its okay to leave man made message at crags in rock.

What would the opinion be if someone went to stanage and chiseled "Joe Bloggs was here 2012" on a bit of rock no one climbs on the precident says you are free to write what you want on rock.

My other complaint is the veiwing platform they left looks out of place. It messes up the whole eerie (sp?) nature of an abondoned gritstone quarry high on the moors
Also the mess from the stones left behind is my other problem with it. If it was a pile of cans left by a group of teens at least you could carry that out and clean it up.
mike kann - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to grubes: What, you mean like this? http://www.peakdistrictonline.co.uk/images/ah-image7.jpg
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-506yhDfIdS0/TYp1Z4vbykI/AAAAAAAACCc/1T47DEdubKU/s1600/Black+Rocks...
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2075/2590374045_6aecdbc68c_m.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chill/4893821368/in/photostream/

It's not the first time people have carved or painted something into rock. I doubt poets are going to be queueing for the next available lump of stone. What precedent does this set that has not already been established by numerous other bits of rock graffiti?

End of the day, it is a quarry. Like any other quarry, whether it's at the top of a hill or not. The place is man made, and as a legacy, I would say that a poem about the beauty of nature in somewhere that his itself at odds with nature is exactly the point of it. That the viewing platform is slightly incongruous will fade with time as it all weathers, but again at the end of the day it's a quarry. If you don't want to be somewhere that is out of sorts with the surrounding nature, don't climb in a quarry. And why can't you carry out the stones? If it offends you that much?
jfmchivall - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to grubes:

1831:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=49834

There's something of a precedent here.
Frogger - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:
> Hmmm untouched?


Definitely not untouched..!

Hence why we should not let even more non-natural things clog up the natural scenery..


As an aside, does anyone like the graffiti at Lawrencefield? Quite a colourful addition to the quarry since I went there last!

ERH - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I guess I'm not so bothered about this, but I saw a fresh "--- and--- 2012" on a rock at ilkley and almost had a fit... If I saw someone try this somewhere I've been and know about then I might have a more informed opinion, but one thing I know is that if I ever saw a man with a chisel at. Almscliff I would brain him with a massive cam. Might have to get there first before the lynch mob find a place to hang him tho.
Double Knee Bar - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: Fools with tools. Only this time its with a chisel and hammer and it's causing less of a stir than crampon scratches.
jwa - on 30 Jul 2012
I'm not a big fan of this type of thing but like many others have said these places aren't exactly totally natural. I've seen lots of carvings of names around the place. We all have an impact on the environment with our activities and while we should do all we can to minimise this impact I don't think one poet having a few lines carved here and there will encourage every Tom, Dick and Harry to do it. How many people are even going to know?
Jon Stewart - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I haven't seen it yet in person, but from what I've seen here I like it.

I can't see how something as clearly meant to give something to the public could be viewed as taking anything away. How could someone's day out climbing be worsened by there being some poetry carved in the vicinity? I just don't get it.

Encourage graffiti and chipping? This is Yorkshire we're talking about!

I just think climbers fetishise the rock they climb on, even if it's in a bloody quarry.
Darren Jackson - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

It's the thin end of the wedge IMHO. Armitage, you have become death, destroyer of crags.

My biggest fear now is that Marc C is going to take this all as a green light to go crazy with a pneumatic drill and verses from The Owl and the Cragrat.
Wiley Coyote - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:
If you argue that because somewhere is quarried and therefore man made, then it is fair game then nowhere is safe because there's probably nowhere in the UK that has not been created by Man, if only by clearing the forests. Artists will always want to leave their mark, like dogs marking their territory, and every time it is allowed to happen it makes the next time harder to stop. This time it is words carved in stone next time it may be some huge sculpture on a fellside or summit.
We have precious few semi natural places and we ought to treasure and preserve the ones we have left. Just because they have been trshed before is no arguement to mark them further.
I've met Armitage and liked him but as a lad born on the moors and a keen walker he ought to know better and should have left his ego at home.
Andy Moles - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

The only 'impact' this has is visual, and it looks better than it did without so...

In Sicily they paint the names of routes at the bottom of the crag, it's brilliant.
Frogger - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Andy Moles:
> In Sicily they paint the names of routes at the bottom of the crag, it's brilliant.


Good point, although I wouldn't go as far as saying it's 'brilliant'...

Makes you wonder why we don't do it on our crags. Seems like the general consensus on this thread is that chipping or painting words on the rock would be okay. No..? ;-)



(of course there would be some kind of outrage if it happened, but
Mooncat - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I always said those neolithics were the thin end of the wedge, look what it's come to now.

I like it.
rtinma - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: There is a strong connection between poets and rock climbing if you think of Coleridge or John Muir, and the shapes of gritstone have inspired sculptors such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. The arts of rock climbing, sculpture and poetry complement each other very well. It's good that the poet has not been imported to the landscape, but writes from his indigenous experience. Although I haven't yet seen them, they look to be sensitively sited. I can't wait to go to Pule Hill and Ilkley to climb the rock and to read what are beautiful poems. We need to remember that we have no divine right to climb let alone own the rock.
Marcus Buckley - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

The thing is... Yes these are quarries but a. they are no longer worked and haven't been for decades b. they have been reverting to as natural a state as is prctical within a managed landscape.

If I had wanted to read the poetry of Mr Armitage whilst enjoying the solitude and spectacular views that can be had in some of these places I would take a copy of his book with me. This way I would not be imposing my personal taste in poetry on every other user of the venue.

The chipping itself may not be on routes and may even be hidden but the wall that has been built on Pule Hill is not constructed from local rock and is clearly visable from quite a distance. I can only hope that it weathers to a more fitting colour.

As has been previously mentioned in this thread the unused rock from the construction of the wall has been dumped at the top of the approach to the crag, having been carried there with the use of a quad bike and trailer. Surely this non local rock should have been removed after the wall was finished.

Not only has the new wall been constructed from non local rock but a old origional wall built whilst the quarry was still working has been partially dimolished to facilitate the new construction.

I can appreciate that these are small niggles in the grand scheme of things and that some people may see these things as improvements, i do not.

If anybody would like to carry some of the dumped rock down the hill then I will be only to happy to help. It will be quite a task considering the amount of rock, and I'm not sure that dumping it in the layby will be appreciated by the local council. Perhaps some enterprising dry stone wall builder could make use of it?
misterE13 on 30 Jul 2012 - m176-71-170-17.cust.tele2.se
is it art or grafiti? ...grafiti is art

what you define as grafiti/art or vandalism is up to you
ctodd - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

It's Fking cool.
colin struthers - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

As I understand it, none of the poems are inscribed on rock that anyone is ever going to climb on. The opinions of climbers therefore carry no more weight than those of anyone else who might come across them.

I suspect that many people will be pleasantly surprised to find the poems. Indeed, some of these will be climbers.

Whilst there has always been a hair shirted/philistine faction amongst climbers we also have a very long tradition of climber/scholars involved in art, literature and poetry.

Personally, I think what Simon Armitage has done is neither intrusive nor inappropriate - the poems are, in my opinion, a fantastic addition and I would like to thank him for them.
Legionreturns on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

If this had been an open process, with proper consultation I might have felt better about it. It was far more widely opposed than just by the climbing community when the project was first announced. It was then pulled and reinvented on the quite with substantial public funding to ensure the project managers all got their wad of cash.

The whole thing is a bloody disgrace ... Google will tell you the whole story! Still, now I have carte Blanche authority to scrape whatever shit I want into the rock and call it art!
jimjimjim on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: i will be adding to these pieces of art with my own hammer....watch this space.
grubes - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to Marcus Buckley:
Hi Marcus was up there tonight would be happy to help you get rid of some of it. The weight is the issue plus the hill. Post up on the chew cragsman if you are heading up
JDal - on 30 Jul 2012
In reply to jimjimjim:
> (In reply to UKC News) i will be adding to these pieces of art with my own hammer....watch this space.
That was rather stupid, giving the boys in blue a suspect when some prat eventually decides to have a chiselling session on sombodey elses property.
myserable old git - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: We've got enough sculpture trails already do we really need this crap as well!
StewartBradshaw - on 31 Jul 2012
This is not good. I like rocks, love the moors, walking, climbing... I'd even say that i liked art... But I like to keep them separate.

This is graffiti. Why not read a book on the moors. Its no different to scratching your name into a tree or scrawling on a bus stop.

The alluring thing about wild places is that you get to be away from modern life, rolling news, advertising. You make up your own mind as to the way the place makes you feel. And you move on, with your memories. This tells you what you should feel, and spoils the timeless spaces which we all appreciate in the process.

Its vandalism.......
Iain Smith on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: I agree with Grubes and Stewart Bradshaw. Why more desecration? If the moors and hills do not inspire an individual enough, then one could always take their own poetry book, Kindle or what-ever. This just stinks of pretention.
gsum - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:
This is Vogon poetry that has no place in the countryside.
We have a huge problem on the hills due to this type of vandalism. Everywhere you look these days, there are cairns, memorials, plaques, plastic flowers, litter, shrines and now rubbish 'art' installations such as this. It's not much fun removing these eyesores but we need to act before it's too late.
Dominic Green - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to gsum:
care to provide a critique of the poetry if that is the basis of your objection?
Hrumph this vandalism is clearly a longstanding problem
http://www.lascaux.culture.fr/content/images/fonds/00_01.jpg
bit too late for your argument
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/6/6a/GuaTewet_tree_of_life-LHFage.jpg/220px-GuaTewet_...
http://www.lanzaroteinformation.com/files/Chalk%20hand%20prints.jpg
Philip Gibson - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: Talk about poetic license.
What a pity that Mr. Armitage has chosen to carve his scroll across the rocks that he perpetrates to covet. Not only does it smack at egotism, but is also pretentious: gold emblazoned.
His work should have been left in print, and for the sake of the literary festival, transported to these places in a more transient manner.
Oh please, we already have Mr. Gormley, Mr. Hirst and Banksy, and please don't encourage him.
Enough said.
Bulls Crack - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Excellent. I'll go and have a look. It won't deter from the place.
StuartG - on 31 Jul 2012
As this work has been undertaken with the relevent permissions, anyone who takes matters into their own hands and damages it is indeed guilty of vandalism and not a small amount of hypocrisy.
I always find climbers objections to these things ironic. To believe that climbing has no negative impact on wild areas is naive in the extreme.
They just don't want anyone affecting THEIR enjoyment.
We don't own it and shouldn't act as though we do.
AlanP - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News: This sounds like a really interesting bit of art. I'm surprised some climbers are so anti art, because as climbers aren't we just satisfying our own egos by inventing our own games climbing up bits of rock and in the process modifying and documenting the landscape to suit our own needs
ads.ukclimbing.com
Michael Ryan - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to AlanP:
> (In reply to UKC News) This sounds like a really interesting bit of art. I'm surprised some climbers are so anti art, because as climbers aren't we just satisfying our own egos by inventing our own games climbing up bits of rock and in the process modifying and documenting the landscape to suit our own needs


Shropshire Hills pylons anyone.....wind farms in the munros and corbetts; 200 applications for new turbines in the last two weeks.

MCofS chief officer David Gibson said:

“It represents the industrialisation of landscapes that form a uniquely important part of Scottish culture and identity.
Jon Stewart - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to StuartG:

> I always find climbers objections to these things ironic. To believe that climbing has no negative impact on wild areas is naive in the extreme.

Indeed - in this case it's more than ironic, it's absurd. This is an area which isn't a wilderness, it's a landscape characterised by the interaction of people with the natural, wild environment. It's also one with a lot of chalk, chipping, erosion and litter!

> They just don't want anyone affecting THEIR enjoyment.
> We don't own it and shouldn't act as though we do.

Well said. It seems to me that people perceive public art (or maybe Simon Armitage's poetry specifically) as 'not their thing', while climbing and wild landscapes are 'their thing'. So maybe it feels like an unwelcome intrusion of something other people connect with and enjoy into the climber's territory.

I think public art is really important to us a society - it shows that there's more to us than function, making the economy work, and buying stuff. Art gives many people what climbing gives to climbers. And with art, you have to see quite a lot before you find something that you like, or that connects with you (well I do anyway). If it's all in art galleries, it's tucked away in a corner that people only look into if they consider themselves 'arty' - and the point of public art is try to introduce people to something they might enjoy, that might make their day memorable. I don't like every bit of public art I see, but I really like the odd thing. And seeing the odd thing I like means that I take more of an interest than I otherwise would in art generally. This adds something to my life, and I'm only one of millions of people who see those works.

This thing is going to be enjoyed by an awful lot more people than the chalk-plastered eliminates on the Back of the Calf. Seems to me it's a lot less like vandalism too.
Legionreturns on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

...half a million pounds of public money paid for this project... despite huge public resistance at its inception, and I'm not talking about climbers, just people who live near and enjoy the moors. My resistance to this does not stem from my being a climber, it is forced upon every user of the moorland, whether they like it or not, using our tax pounds.

Add to that my personal view that Simon writes twee drivel that is nevertheless now timeless and you can see the extent of my ire. Ask yourself if we would still be reading his particular brand of shit in a hundred years if it remained purely on paper? Legend is earned by the quality of the work, not by the permanence of the medium used to portray it. Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Chaucer etc did not need to graffiti their work to achieve longevity so why should a two bit scribbler the his hand in the public purse be allowed to?
Andy Moles - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Legionreturns:
> it is forced upon every user of the moorland, whether they like it or not

The same could be said of anything publicly visible. Which includes quite a lot of things.
Tall Clare - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Legionreturns:

I'm not sure your contempt for Armitage's work is widely shared.
andyathome - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Double Knee Bar:
> So, if I went up to Millstone with a hammer and chisel, with permission of the landowners, and wrote a verse from "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts" on the embankment wall, That'd be cool with you guys?


Which 'guys' are you talking about? Only one post above yours suggested any support for the project. And I think that the suggestion that this is comparable, if not verse, to dry tooling scratches misses a few points about 'intent'?
Legionreturns on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

Absolutely correct... but neither does he receive the level of acclaim that would warrant the permanency of these installations.
Iain Smith on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: This is not Coleridge, Wordsworth etc. It is now only timeless due to the indelible nature of its text. This is cynical posturing in the name of art - it is no more than an exercise for an ego. Many places have been changed by man including the quarried rock upon which these texts have been chipped. It would perhaps have been a greater testament and demonstration of man's restraint and integrity to leave those places alone and allow them to revert back to a more natural condition and blend in with the surroundings.
Jon Stewart - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Legionreturns:

It's quite a tricky aspect of it. I think it's well chosen as a piece of public art, because it's accessible to people here and now. Somewhere the balance has to be struck between the populist and the elitist ("oh just you wait, a hundred years from now this work will be acknowledged as ahead of its time"), and personally I think Armitage's poetry is roughly spot on.
andyathome - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Mooncat:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> I always said those neolithics were the thin end of the wedge, look what it's come to now.
>
> I like it.

Not quite Neolithic; but those bronze age vandals were buggers in Italy as well. http://www.archeocamuni.it/cemmo_boulders_en.html

I was in the Val Camonica, on the edge of the Adamello, last week; the ancient, figurative carving (you can stuff your abstract 'cup and ring' allusive, UK, stuff for modernist nonsense) was awesome.

Oh. Please don't try bouldering around there. The locals probably wouldn't just confiscate your mat and chalk bag: they are MAD keen to preserve that carved, recorded history and climbing or walking on the rocks is seen as a grave transgression against our heritage.

We do sometimes take quite a blinkered view of things don't we.....

And to lay all my cards on the table anyone I find dry trolling on grit routes will get a kicking.
andyathome - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Legionreturns:
I have a great deal of sympathy with your objection to the milking of the public purse to fund this project. Though, given the locations (Cows Mouth for god's sake!) I'm not sure that it is really being 'forced' upon many people at all. And, to be fair, I don't really think that a great deal of that can be laid at Armitage's door; rather to those that conceived the project and then selected him.

But do you really think that in 100 years time anyone, anywhere, will know that these carved stanzas exist?

p.s. I did take some delight in the concept expressed above that if you want to enjoy poetry in the untrammelled, unspoiled wilderness that is our great pennine fastness then you should take your 'kindle'... :-)
Legionreturns on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to andyathome:

Cows mouths stanza is a few feet from the penine way in full view of all who walk that section.

I liked the kindle comment too... but here's a though; if the moors inspire you to a certain verse, memorize it and think it whilst admiring the view! (granted, the view from cows mouth is rochdale... and sadly its not always on fire!)
AlanP - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH: Not really sure I was promoting more industrialisation of the landscape, just saying that as climbers we are not to different to artists. Doing our bit of performance on routes, documenting these in guidebooks, listing 1st ascentionists etc. This is slightly bizarre to non climbers.
But as climbers feel the need to climb, artists feel the need to make art. Bolts and pegs have always been placed and stone has always been carved mostly in the studio, but in this case in situ.
Andy Moles - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Iain Smith:

What is this fabled 'natural condition'?
Simon Caldwell - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:
Am I the only one whose first reaction was to start thinking about the logistics of running the whole trail?
colin struthers - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Iain Smith:

Glad you decided to invoke the names of the Romantic poets. You may be interested to know that;

There is a very prominent carved memorial at the top of Striding Edge which commemorates the fall of a young poet called Gough. The plaque specifically refers to the poems entitled Fidelity about this incident that were composed by both Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott

Further down the hill near Seat Sandal is a poem of Wordsworth's which was
engraved in the 1880s to commemorate the fact that he last saw his brother at this spot.

Above Thirlmere itself there used to be a quite substantial piece of rock into which Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy, Coleridge and several other friends had carved their names (it was moved to Dove Cottage when the valley was flooded).

I find it very hard to imagine that any of these poets would not have thoroughly approved of Simon Armitage's project
colin struthers - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Oh yeah, and before we, as climbers, get too worked up about poets messing with our precious wilderness with their engravings perhaps we ought to consider removing the slightly more visible intrusion that is the CIC hut at the foot of Ben Nevis.
pdhu - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to UKC News:
Well I think it's great and appropriate. People have used rock as a medium of expression for 1000s of years. That's not going to change as a consequence of climbing emerging as a... whatever it is. This part of the central Pennines has a tradition of rock carving going back to the Bronze Age. Ilkley / Rombalds moor is dotted with cup and ring carvings etc.
The main thing that's degrading our increasingly threadbare crags is climbing not poetry FFS.
Craig Smith on 01 Aug 2012 - AToulouse-257-1-50-166.w90-5.abo.wanadoo.fr
In reply to UKC News:

What worries me about these 'works of art' is that there is a subtext to the general public that it is OK to chisel and carve crags.

C
Double Knee Bar - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to andyathome:
> (In reply to Double Knee Bar)
> [...]
>
>
> Which 'guys' are you talking about?
I meant UKC, the article paints the chiseling in a positive light.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Sir Chasm - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to UKC News: I hope the chiseller used apostrophes correctly, unlike the person what wrote the thread title.
Iain Smith on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to colin struthers: Actually, I would prefer that no 'permanent' text were left on the hills regardless as to whether they are deemed to be classical poets or not. Past actions are no defence for current or future actions. I enjoy poetry and public art a great deal, and would like to see more civic artworks such as in Spain, for example, but to 'escape' to the coutryside and then come across man-made text is no 'escape' at all. If everyone left memorials to their loved ones, we would have a countryside scrawled with writing. Ashes to ashes etc. Leave nothing behind.
Iain Smith on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to pdhu: Why add further to the damage then? Neolithic man had no other way of recording. I dare to believe that we have become slightly more advanced, however, I doubt it when I see and, hear of, such things.
Iain Smith on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy Moles: Actually, the quote was 'a more natural condition'. Obviously, the quarried rock cannot be returned to it pre-existing condition as most of it is probably in the wall of some local farm house. However, allowing the rock to become weathered without some further man made damage e.g. carved poetry, would allow at least a semblance of natural appearance. Take the poetry in your head and leave nothing behind.
Iain Smith on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to andyathome: Maybe 'Kinder' would have been more appropriate. We should talk to Amazon. (all right reserved... etc.)
In reply to Sir Chasm: Should it be On T' Moors? I don't speak good northern, I might've got it wrong.
Bulls Crack - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to UKC News:

The question for me is whether it add anything to the landscape - which is after all a term for the combination of natural and anthropomorphic features and semi-natural features modified by our actions. Clearly many on this thread don't think it does and/or that rock - even a quarry - is somehow sacrosanct. I haven't been yet (I will) but it looks tastefully done and much less unsightly than chalk and peg scarred cracks.
Michael Ryan - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Iain Smith:

> (In reply to andyathome) Maybe 'Kinder' would have been more appropriate. We should talk to Amazon. (all right reserved... etc.)

Which isn't that far fetched as the commodification and branding of the outdoor places has already began.

We have The North Face Car Park at the base of Ben Nevis, the Tetley Trail
and now.....

The Gore–Tex Scottish National Trail, a 470 mile walk from Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders to Cape Wrath

http://www.mountain-media.co.uk/blog/scotland-end-to-end/

mike kann - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Iain Smith:
> ( for example, but to 'escape' to the coutryside and then come across man-made text is no 'escape' at all.

Oh come on - you're seriously suggesting that during your escape you want to witness no trace of human past or continued alteration to the landscape, because I'd suggest you would be hard pressed to find a many spots like that in the entire country. We have changed our landscapes beyond all recognition, and it's a totally idealistic/unrealistic dream that you think you can go anywhere without some form of human intervention as far as this country is concerned. To do so you would have to walk there not using roads or paths, undo all the farmland, remove the walls and styles, drain the artificial lakes, ponds and reservoirs, make good all the rough tracks, remove electricity pylons, fill in the quarries, remove the gritstones left lying around... etc etc etc.

You need to accept that humans including you have a profound and continued effect on our environment and that as such what you refer to as a natural landscape is not natural at all - we coexist with nature and as such we therefore are stewards of that landscape. We can exercise that stewardship in many different and valid ways, some of which you won't agree with, and some that you will.

At the end of the day, this will give pleasure to many, and displeasure to others. However, it is an isolated case, I don't believe for one second that people will start carving stones all over the place. Indeed there are actually only 2 cases in which these poems have been made unremovable, so most of them will be transient at best. Just like you choose to ignore the fact that you walk on paths, or shelter behind a drystone wall, 2 poems carved into rock will be easy to look past. It's highly hypocritical to imagine that our everyday actions which we take so lightly don't have an equal effect on our landscape!
tedalaki - on 01 Aug 2012
You lot are pathetic, I cringe sometimes in calling myself a 'climber' and lumping myself in with such single track minded people. I'm sick of hearing the argument that this has ruined the landscape from people who are happy to use man made car parks, man made paths, then spend a day polishing and chipping the rock.

At the end of the day the rock does not belong to climbers, it belongs to everyone so get off your bloody high horses and accept the fact that someone else may want to enjoy the rock in a different way to the way you do.
Andy Moles - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Iain Smith:

If you're defining 'natural' as showing no evidence of human activity, then in Britain you may be dreaming of a lost cause. A small engraving on a rock face is a drop in the ocean.

It's not like everything 'nature' does to a landscape independently of us is good either - if we're talking aesthetically, and we are, this is far less obtrusive than a big ugly landslip.

The only reason it matters to preserve a 'natural' appearance to the landscape is to satisfy our own aesthetic ideal. So in my opinion it comes down to a decision of whether you like this particular engraving, rather than a matter of principle.
Sir Chasm - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com: Aye, tha'd be reet lad.
Roberttaylor - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to UKC News: Predictably, women are all for this but men are against it.

In my experience the ladies love chiseled features.

Robert
Simon Caldwell - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to colin struthers:
> before we, as climbers, get too worked up about poets messing with our precious wilderness with their engravings perhaps we ought to consider removing the slightly more visible intrusion that is the CIC hut at the foot of Ben Nevis.

There should be a UKC version of Godwin's Law - the first person to mention removing the CIC automatically loses the argument
In reply to Sir Chasm: Ta verry mooch
Iain Smith on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH: What about 'Outside' - holy, moly! now everywhere not inside is branded.
Michael Ryan - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Iain Smith:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH) What about 'Outside' - holy, moly! now everywhere not inside is branded.

Clever bloke that Dick Turnbull.....and every north face is branded of course

Iain Smith on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to mike kann: Er, actually, no, I did not suggest wishing to see no trace of human activity. You need to re-read my thread. However, it would be nice to see fewer additions of human activities. We all impact our environment, but it would be nice for more people to try not to leave a trace or as little trace as possible of their passing, be it toilet paper, rock sculpture or whatever. That should be our individual and collective responsibility. Why not see fewer additions of damage? I include climbers in that. We should strive to improve. Why not go to place and return without leaving a permanent mark? There are enough pressures on our green spaces as it is.
Iain Smith on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH: I'm quite suprised he hasn't popped up on this thread yet. Come on, Dick!
Iain Smith on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy Moles: No, I didn't define natural as showing no evidence of 'human activity', but I would like current and future damage minimised. We accept that to access beautiful places we change their 'nature' i.e worn paths, transfer of seeds, day-glo cagoules etc., but shouldn't we strive to minimse our impact?
ads.ukclimbing.com
Roberttaylor - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to UKC News: Go outdoors have their ownbrand kit...

The North Ridge is taken then.

R
mike kann - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Iain Smith: No, that is what you imply. If you say you want reduced human impact, which is perfectly admirable etc. it implies that all human impact should be reduced, including paths, roads, walls, other permanent boundaries, unnatural water features etc ad nauseum. You can't claim that you want only one type of human interaction to reduce - that is what I say is highly hypocritical. Roads, paths, farming, leisure activities all have far far greater and permanent impact than these poems. If you want pressure on green spaces to reduce, maybe you should be keeping off the hills, restricting farmers from allowing their sheep to overgraze, banning chavs from driving 4x4's up tracks unnecessarily.
Pursued by a bear - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to UKC News: Saw the piece on the Guardian website before I saw this thread (which it references and quotes).

Graffiti, no matter how cultural, is still graffiti. Bad call from those responsible; there are lower impact ways of achieving the same end.

T.
Jon Stewart - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

Is graffiti a bad thing if the vast majority of people who see it like it?

I don't understand what's inherently bad about graffiti as implied by your post. And I thought the difference in an urban environment between some art on a wall and graffiti was whether or not the artist had permission. (The fact that most graffiti not liked by the vast majority of people is beside the point here).
Andy Moles - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Iain Smith:
> No, I didn't define natural as showing no evidence of 'human activity', but I would like current and future damage minimised. We accept that to access beautiful places we change their 'nature' i.e worn paths, transfer of seeds, day-glo cagoules etc., but shouldn't we strive to minimse our impact?

What do you mean by natural then?

If not human impact on the landscape, then why do you call this 'damage'?
Michael Ryan - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Pursued by a bear:
> (In reply to UKC News) Saw the piece on the Guardian website before I saw this thread (which it references and quotes).
>

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/the-northerner/2012/aug/01/blogpost-stanza-stones-simon-armitage-ilkley...
Pursued by a bear - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to Pursued by a bear)
>
> Is graffiti a bad thing if the vast majority of people who see it like it?
>
> I don't understand what's inherently bad about graffiti as implied by your post. And I thought the difference in an urban environment between some art on a wall and graffiti was whether or not the artist had permission. (The fact that most graffiti not liked by the vast majority of people is beside the point here).

Hi Jon,

To change an appropriate quotation to fit the topic (assuming that google translation is up to the job), petram est diu, sed ars est brevi. Or, put another way, the medium is not appropriate to the message. Today, this may be thought a good thing. Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow after that, views may change. Why inflict a change on the rock which erosion will take centuries to undo when the message could have been delivered another way?

T.



Pursued by a bear - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH: Thanks Mick. I was posting from a phone earlier and the technological understanding required to post the link was beyond my capabilities. My phone can do far more than I can (and can probably climb better too...).

T.
Michael Ryan - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

ta for flagging it up
jimjimjim on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to JDal:
> (In reply to jimjimjim)
> [...]
> That was rather stupid, giving the boys in blue a suspect when some prat eventually decides to have a chiselling session on sombodey elses property.

It'll be rather hard to prove it was me though wont it...
Michael Ryan - on 01 Aug 2012


Cost of the project?

"The Stanza Stones project has cost £170,000 and was co-ordinated by the Ilkley Literature Festival. "

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-17895003

and, bit of a long read.....

Our Concerns About the Stanza Stones Project of the Ilkley Literary Festival.

http://stanzastones.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/ss1/
JDal - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to jimjimjim:
..
> It'll be rather hard to prove it was me though wont it...
I didn't mean it would be you chiselling, just that it may be you in the cells ;)

Jon Stewart - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

Sadly the quote went above my head...

But the whole point of the piece of art is the permanence of it, as it is with any monument. It's says "the people around at this time thought like this". We don't go building crap like Nelson's column these days, it would be seen as high camp - but we're glad someone did because it records our history and gives us something (albeit utterly tasteless) to look at. In contrast, this is an understated monument commemorating the landscape itself. My view is that the medium couldn't be more appropriate for the message.
Jim Brooke - on 02 Aug 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:

If I had known I was going to be quoted by the Graun, I might have been more careful in my choice of words... (They don't need to be carved into stone to achieve some kind of digital permanence).

Anyway, the point is this. For some people the artistic merit of these words will outweigh the negative factor we all might normally associate with wilful alterations to our less-urban spaces. But their artistic merit being wholly subjective, for some people the balance will not be struck, and they appear a rather verbose "Simon Armitage (poet) was here, 2012".
Iain Smith on 02 Aug 2012
In reply to tedalaki: Don't you want to minimise your effect on the environment?
USBRIT - on 02 Aug 2012
In reply to UKC News:Well no matter what the impact these carvings have on bits of quarried rock they will never have the visual impact that chalk has inflicted on rock through-out the world.Maybe some times it washes off but in many areas it stays and looks like buckets of white wash had been poured down the crag (or boulders)... and think most climbers will have to agree chalking up is most times an unnecessary habit.Perhaps its time we thought of joining the clean hands gang and help clean up the environment.
colin struthers - on 03 Aug 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Hm, the Guardian piece. Culling an entire article from a single thread on one website is an interesting method of journalistic research.

But never mind eh, thanks to the author's diligence, at least the World now knows that "for many climbers and outdoor folk, a Cultural Olympiad-sponsored poetry and scupture trail on the West Yorkshire uplands spells 'trouble at mill"

Was this the same thread I had been reading? I thought I would do a little counting:

Those opposed to the poetry project 16

Those not clearly expressing an opinion either way 12

Those in favour 19

Still, I suppose "A very clear majority of climbers seem to either like or are not that much bothered by Simon Armitages Poetry on the Moors"

isn't as good a headline as "Climbers scale the heights of indignation."

Even though it's true.
Frank the Husky - on 05 Aug 2012
In reply to UKC News: These are great things to find and see and read and Simon Armitage should be congratulated for the effort and heart he's put into them. The nonsense being spouted about "untouched" landscapes is comical, a little blinkered and, dare I say it, ignorant of the facts of how the British landscape has come to look how it looks. Climbers are a very small subset of outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of wild places, and have no special claim to anything (whether they can haul their lardy carcasses up it or not).

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