Saturday 4 February 2023

Giggleswick School Chapel - Summit of First Day of the month - Climate Walk - Feb 2023


Wednesday 1 February 2023: the destination of our walk is Giggleswick School Chapel, with its landmark dome seen from so many places around Settle. It is one year since our walk in Feb 2022 which involved walking from Giggleswick and over the hill just to the south of the Chapel grounds 

All are welcome to come on these walks.  They are publicised through Churches Together in Settle and through Craven Conservation Group  (All are welcome including people who are not naturalists and who are not Christian or religious)  

We discover and learn about our environment - both natural history facts - and about new places near where we live.

We take litter collecting bags and usually pick litter en route..

We raise awareness about Climate change - We usually have a short stop for reflection on route and use the latest sheet produced by a group called "Prayandfastfortheclimate" and sometimes Green Christian's monthly guide

Because history is happening so fast in these strange times that the world situation will be different again by the next months -I'll just mention some of the items in the sheet for this month: 

1. On the 24th of February, it will be a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. 

2.  Fairtrade Fortnight starts 27 Feb. This year February is being treated as Fairbruary   At present, there is profound injustice. Many small producers contribute little to climate change, yet are suffering some of the worst impacts, as smaller yields and crop losses affect their livelihoods. The Fairtrade Foundation is asking us to contact our politicians to ask for proper funding for climate action in low income countries, ideally with a focus on helping farmers.

3. In recent years, California has been in the news because of its drought and forest fires: this year, however, has started with epic rains and floods. A sequence of storms, known as ‘atmospheric rivers’ because they originate from long currents of exceptionally moist air, has left more than half the state’s counties as disaster areas

4. Warming oceans and melting ice have the potential to lead to tipping points

Here shortly I will put a nice picture I took of Giggleswick Chapel (I think from above Mitchell Lane above upper Settle)

So, to our walk:

We have obtained permission from the School - and  the key- so that we can look inside. This proves a good choice of venue since it is raining - This is only the second time in the 26 walks we have walked, that it is raining. But only intermittently. The sun does break out once on the scenic way down:

Before entering the chapel we look at the gritstone rocks and some the plants growing on them - Heather and Mat-grass, and other moorland plants able to grow just here where there is no grazing by sheep, (a contrast to the sheep pastures outside). There is Springy Turf Moss in the lawn grass beside the road.  

Pictures in the new book "Giggleswick School Chapel" (obtainable for £12.50 at the School in aid of the Chapel Fund or readable on the internet here and published November 2020) show a picture on page 9 of the chapel being built - on the natural platform of the gritstone outcrop here.  There was a big celebration when the foundation stone was laid in October 1997 in the the Jubilee year of Queen Victoria.

This guide was written by Barbara Gent, keeper of the School Archives. I am really pleased that she invited me up to see the carvings of plants carved in the wooden furniture.

I read the book. It pays great tribute to Walter Morrison. I had not realised what a very big part he played in the building of the Chapel.

Walter Morrison , MP, and philanthropist lived at Malham Tarn House which he was given on his 21st birthday (ish) which became Malham Tarn Field Centre in c 1948. There was a picture of him above the Fireplace in the Library when I worked there, and each "First evening" we told students about Walter Morrison and the important people who came to visit the Centre. 

More than that, I met Harry Gill, the old field centre gardener, who retired the year I joined the field centre.  When Harry was 18 he had worked for Walter Morrison - and had helped when the cutting was dug out at the field centre to make the drive gradient gentle enough for Walter's first car to be driven up.

Sadly last August the Field Studies Council withdrew from renting and running the field centre - with all the tradition of over 70 years of school, university and research students and expert amateurs (more knowledgeable than many of the University lecturers on natural history) now finished. I don't know what has happened to the picture of Walter Morrison.

Anyway, I was delighted to see his picture in one of the stained glass windows.

I admired the pictures in the west window of Creation - lots of animals in the air land and sea - the artist had had fun - and I hope my generations of children have enjoyed looking at it.

I looked at the carvings on the pew edges again.. and wondered about presumably all the tropical hardwood used to make them... Taken for granted 120 years ago - Now it is heart wrenching as big trees are pillaged from the world's remaining areas of forests.  Indeed the benches in the science lab at my old school and many other schools were made of wood from tropical forest.  They have now been replaced with plastic.

Actually I read just now in the Chapel guide that all the Chapel furniture is of cedar wood imported from the province of Tucaman in Argentina. this wood is known for its scent and its fine sheen.  Wilipedia says the alter is Brazilian Rosewood.

(a) You could see a video of Ben Okri speaking at Settle Stories Festival 2022 - lamenting the trees removed whilst he was a schoolboy in Nigeria. But that finished this Feb 5th)

Two members of our group told me of the concerts they have enjoyed here.

We were privileged to look round.

We are privileged to live here at Settle

Looking at mosses  
on the grit on the way down
(NB - the grass on the thicker soil between  the rocky outcrops in this field
is botanically not species rich - but, hmmm,
it supported a rich abundance of colourful waxcaps in autumn 2022!



No comments: