Folding in the land: a 7-day walk between treefolds


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Posted on June 16, 2018


We’re on the verge of leaving the comfort of our house, the surround of walls, the glow of computers, the convenience of electricity … and will be heading off tomorrow for a 7-day walk across the Lake District. It’s time to simplify our possessions and our days: one bag each, simple food, and only the necessities.

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In 2016 we walked for 7 days to link up the 7 trees from The Long View (there's a blog about that here). This year, our walk will link the three treefolds that we created as a legacy of The Long View. Each treefold contains stones carved with a section of a poem; each section stands alone, but when the three are read together the poem is complete.

There’s a bigger poem here, though: one that includes the land between the treefolds and the experience of passing through that land by foot. This midsummer route will open our eyes to new places and to new experiences. During the walk I will be working on a longer poem that emerges from the space between the treefolds, and Rob will be capturing the journey through photographs.

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Our route: June 17 - June 23

We’ll start at treefold:east on Little Asby Common and set a direction for treefold:centre in Grizedale Forest. Along the way we’ll have to resort to our only bit of motorized transport, and take a ferry across Windermere. From Grizedale we will head north, passing through the Langdale Valley and then walking up and over the Helvellyn Massif and along the shore of Ullswater to treefold:north. Our final day of walking will take us onto Glenridding Common and then we’ll walk along the Dodds and end up on the flanks of Blencathra, behind Threlkeld.

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A public presentation on the last day: June 23rd

We’ve set ourselves the perhaps not so small challenge of giving a presentation about the week’s walk a couple of hours after we reach our final destination. We’ll be at the Blencathra Centre on June 23rd ready to share stories, images and poetry from our walk, and lessons we’ve learnt along the way, so do come and join us if you're in the area.The talk is part of the nationwide series of events hosted by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Details here.

We will have walked through forests, wood pastures, villages and towns, crossed and walked beside lakes, camped on high tree tops, passed through farms and across different commons, and we’ll have had plenty of conversations along the way. The land and issues of land will gradually be revealed day by day.

Rain?

We’ve had about 8 weeks of warm and sunny weather here in Cumbria. Just as well we didn’t get complacent - the forecast is looking a bit shabby, to be honest, with drab and even drizzly days. Such is the nature of midsummer. We will take what's thrown at us and hold out for some magic moments of light, and the chance to dry out between showers.
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More information & keeping up to date:

If you're curious about the treefolds there's more about them here, with Grid References and links to Google Maps so you can find your way.

More on The Long View here.

Artwork featuring the three treefolds, and a wooden sculpture inspired by the Light Walk (2016) are currently on show with Common Ground in Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

You can follow our progress during the walk through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, where we'll post updates from time to time.

... and poetry

We're curious to discover what poems emerge from this trip. We know that while we will learn about land and that comes together that's called 'geography', how we feel along the way, with downs as well as ups, is at the core of the experience. Here's a poem that reflects this, written midway through the Light Walk in 2016, in resopnse to someone's quizzical comment: 'I just don't know why you do this ...'

A long walk

there are those who wonder why we'd do this
see only hardship, feel the weight of the bags
dislike the idea of sore feet
overlook or just don't know
the way some things make me
 
feel alive
 
discover the truth of rock and bog and wind
that cannot be told in maps
 
lose sense of time and self
find a rhythm inside that is shaped by land,
the pleasure of warm, simple food
two cups of tea from the one teabag
 
all things pared down
excess discarded
there is no room for wanting
when you know you have just enough
 
and in the absence of wanting more
comes the presence of being here
 

~

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