Knott Hall Farm : Members’ Meet 17 & 18 June 2017
For our 5th branch meet of the year, the intrepid wallers from Cumbria Branch tackled walling in the Lune gorge. We were working on a steep (OK steepish!) hillside high above the M6 and the main railway line, with the River Lune completely out of sight below us at the bottom of the gorge. The location may not have been quite as vertiginous as the Himalayas, but nonetheless it was a beautiful and dramatic setting, with views across to the Howgill fells.
We were there to repay a generous favour from John Holmes, who had provided invaluable assistance to the Branch with our recent wallathons at Staveley and with the Crooklands footpath in March this year. Without his digger/excavator to dig out the footings and move stone around the site to where it was needed, the wallathon would quite literally never have got off the ground.
John’s family have taken on the renovation of an old semi-derelict farmhouse and we first held a members’ meet there last year to start rebuilding a collapsed boundary wall. We returned this year to carry on the good work and made excellent progress. Thanks to an encouraging turnout of 15 members on the Saturday and 10 on Sunday, some 30 meters of wall were completed. As well as our regular wallers we were able to welcome some newer and younger members to this meet and hope to see them again at future meets.
Our efforts were assisted by 2 days of fine hot weather, tempered with a cooling breeze. A big thank you must go to Heidi and Heather, who laid on splendid refreshments for the walling party – without all those pies, pasties and home-made cakes the wall wouldn’t have gone up anything like so quickly! The only difficulty was persuading the wallers to return to work rather than enjoying just one more slice of cake.
On the walling front, our thanks go to George who ‘walked the wall’ over the weekend and kept us on the straight and narrow, so to speak. John, his son Nathan and grandson Toby operated a splendid delivery service, bringing dumper loads of stone to where it was needed – as well as setting many of the massive foundation stones. Nathan & family say “they are very grateful for our help in reinstating boundary walls – it is a pleasure to cater for us and enjoy our company and “crack” and we are very welcome at any time at Knott Hall.”
We reckon that one more weekend should complete the wall and this will be arranged as part of next year’s programme. The final stretch of wall is on a steeper slope and we shall have to be careful not to lose too many stones down the hill – it would be a little difficult to retrieve them from the central reservation of the M6!