Thursday, 25 March 2010

11. Wednesday 23 March 2010

It was a bit of a murky morning, but that didn’t deter our newest UWHG member, Vera, who thoroughly enjoyed her first day out field surveying.

Despite the slightly grey day, spring is clearly on its way, as the frogs were very active in all the streams and ponds (as only frogs can be!), and there are an increasing number of walkers, who are naturally very curious about this little army of people wandering around in hi-vis jackets wielding tapes and clipboards.

We continued the measuring and drawing of the mill ponds and water systems on the moorside. There’s still a lot to do, but it’s starting to all come together.

Alan and Phil spent some time on the Embsay Reservoir side of the boundary wall in order to set up a base line for when we leave the moorside. We only have a short time left before the grouse nesting season begins, and we will need to leave the moorside in peace.

We had two finds today – a piece of a clay pipe bowl which was obviously made from a mould; and a rusty old car horn from the early 20th Century, which was blocking one of the culverted streams.

Jane Lunnon, UWHG Archivist

Sunday, 21 March 2010

10. Saturday 13 March 2010

An extra day for those people who are unable to come on a Wednesday and also to help to make up for the days lost due to the snow earlier in the year. So, a small but select band of 7 set forth on another pleasant spring day.
We also had the pleasure of the company of Kathryn – an archaeology graduate from Bradford University who is contemplating the possibility of using the Whitfield site for her dissertation for her M. A.
We separated in 3 teams of 2 with Phil taking Kathryn on a tour of the site. Work progressed, accompanied by what sounded like the roar of distant motorbikes, which we eventually realised was the croaking of a great number of frogs/toads frolicking in the ponds - spring has come!
Another enjoyable picnic in the sun (Ruth nearly lost her sandwiches to a very interested and obviously hungry dog!) and with a slight adjustment of teams, as two people had to leave early, work resumed for the afternoon.
Again we were pleased with our progress – David’s team made great strides with the big mill pond, Pat’s team completed their area of the lower pond and Ruth’s team managed to record the southern bank of the ‘Bog-bean’ pond without anyone falling into the water!
The two members who had not surveyed before said they had enjoyed the day and asked when are we going to do another Saturday?!

Ruth Spencer, UWHG Chairman

Thursday, 11 March 2010

9. Wednesday 10 March 2010

It was a beautiful morning – clear blue skies and just a slight, fresh breeze. As some of our team were at a meeting elsewhere, it was a smaller number of volunteers who turned up this morning. But we managed to get quite a bit done – David continued working on the largest of the mill ponds on the moorside, using the alidade.

Alison made a close inspection of the walls around the Whitfield site, and wandered up the moorside alongside Crookrise Crag – she returned full of enthusiasm and lots of questions about clues she found to the richness of the industrial landscape of the area. With her sharp eye she is already piecing together the clues regarding the stone quarrying, the sled runs, and the development of the boundary walls.

Janis investigated the hollows on the moorside to the north east of our site, and agreed they were probably potash kilns.

Surveying continued as we focused on the water courses and possible sled runs to the west side of the old mill ponds.
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch, entertained by the toads who were venturing out into the spring sunshine. There is already a lot of frog spawn in the mill ponds.

In the afternoon we made a start on the surveying of the embankment of the westernmost mill pond.

Jane Lunnon, UWHG Archivist

Sunday, 7 March 2010

8. 3 March 2010

Field Survey

At last a more promising day with no snow and a good, if somewhat chilly forecast – we could really make a start on the surveying!

© Jane Lunnon

Having discussed the plan of campaign, David and Helen Mc. set off with the alidade to survey the banks of the largest mill pond. Ruth, Jane & Peter opted for the area to the west of the site; and Pat & Helen S. took the area to the east; Phil to act as co-ordinator.
Progress was slow to start, with various interruptions - as expected much interest was shown by passers-by, including a welcome visit from the local farmer’s wife; less welcome were the teething problems with the new tripod which gave us a wobbly drawing board – “Where did we put those spare washers for safe keeping?”; and an interesting compass needle which followed both Jane & Ruth around! However at last we were under way and suddenly it was lunch-time.
Sandwiches were eaten in a sheltered hollow by the wall, sitting in the sunshine and with all those thermals on, one could imagine it was summer (well, almost!).
The afternoon saw some re-adjustment of the teams as Helen S. had to leave early and Helen Mc. didn’t fancy sliding down the steep bank into the pond!

© Phil Carroll

Three o’clock arrived all too quickly, but we all felt we had had a good first day. Both teams had succeeded in plotting in the wall and path and David had made good progress on the alidade with the big pond – fingers crossed for next week!

© Jane Lunnon

Documentary Research
The same evening 6 of the Documentary Research team met for a palaeography workshop. Jane had prepared various scripts for us all to transcribe collectively, and under her patient tuition and fortified with tea/coffee and biscuits, we were all surprised how quickly we improved. We were also delighted how much easier the peculiarities of the scripts were to decipher, with practice. We all took copies of several documents home with us for further practice – will it be as easy on one’s own as it was with help from everybody else, I wonder!

Ruth Spencer, UWHG Chairman