Bracing (some call it feckin’ freezin’) walk to the Coldstones Cut

Coldstones Cut 05
Liz at the East end of the central corridor of the Coldstones Cut

We woke this morning to a frost with hazy golden autumn light flooding the world and showing beautifully the glory of the Dales. The views from the road from Cracoe to Coldstones Cut were absolutely splendiferous.

The walk up to the art installation called Coldstones Cut was rather bracing, to say the very least. The wind was very strong with a high wind-chill factor. It certainly helped to blow away the cobwebs left in our heads by a night’s sleep. The path to the Cut was quite steep in places, well for one who’s not all that fit such as I, Angela.

The first thing I saw of this installation was the beginning (or end) of a long, straight, open-roofed and open ended corridor that runs E to W. The corridor was huge and made me feel quite small. It was high, solid, sturdy and built of big blocks of sparkly limestone from the Coldstones Quarry.

These walls seemed to force my attention along them, towards the West. Each step taken opened the view up a little more. Taking that final step out of the corridor magically revealed the amazing views all around from the South, to the West and then to the North. With this step, there was a sense of liberation from the oppressive nature of those towering, heavy limestone walls; a sense of relief from the suspense of being able to see the whole view, a kind of enlightenment, maybe.

The same experience was repeated when walking towards the East.

This corridor is the only part of the Coldstones Cut. At the centre of the corridor there is a raised red dome, and leading away towards the North and South are two more corridors that  curve away from this dome.

The curving walls, as massive as the central corridor, obscured my view of the landscape and only afforded a narrow view of the sky directly overhead. As I walked along this uphill spiral path, more and more sky became visible, then a tiny sliver of the most distant hills, then more and more until one step took me onto a circular viewing platform. The sky was fully open to my view now and I could turn around in a circle to see the landscape in all directions revealed to me.

I could see the natural landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, where the Vale of York lay just over a ridge of hills. I could see the manmade landscape of the quarry, a huge hole in the Earth, revealing the secrets of what lies beneath our feet.

And that’s what it felt like, exploring this installation – it revealed ‘truths’ to me in each compass direction, but also above and below.

Walking back down the path to the car I realised that the path on the way up, if I’d not stopped and looked around, also served to obscure my view of the world around me. Walking downhill allowed me to see what was around me, just as the experiences in the Coldstones Cut had opened my views, my perspectives, my mind.

I couldn’t express this in spoken words. It’s taken much of the day and a chance to slow my thinking down, spend time with my experiences and type out my thoughts to get these impressions out. I have the feeling that there’s more there, floating through the depths of my subconscious.

I really recommend a visit to this installation. I’m sure that different people have different experiences at this place. The creator(s) of this artwork, this installation have done a very, very clever job.

Here are some more photos that I took this morning.

Coldstones Cut 04
The altitude of Coldstones Cut
Coldstones Cut 01
A view across the quarry from one of the viewing platforms. It looks like ancient Egyptian remains in the desert, doesn’t it?


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