Subterranean is a soundwalk, workshops, discussions, cave explorations with the public, large scale drawings and the opportunity to connect with the underworld, the deeps of meaningful spaces. I will be undertaking a residency with Dales Guides in spring 2022 to further explore meaning in the cave landscape.
The Gathering (A Journey in sound to Great Douk Cave)
This soundwalk can be downloaded, or experienced as a series of GPS located zones and streamed whilst on location via the Echoes app. This soundwalk takes the listener back in time to the Mesolithic era approximately 7,000 years ago. The soundtrack imagines people traveling through the landscape visiting locations of ritual importance to their tribal communities. The walk allows you to hear the 21st century soundscape around you, the walk the artist took in the Summer to create the soundtrack, and gradually introduces the landscape and sounds of 7,000 years ago. The sound walk imagines tribes gathering together at certain times of year to celebrate the mountain, the cave, their ancestors and new lives. You will be immersed in a soundscape combining all these aspects. On this walk you will visit the cairn field or burial site adjacent to Great Douk cave and then the cave entrance itself where you will hear the finale to the soundwalk. Take great care when entering and leaving the area of Great Douk cave.
An Information pack is available here. For those with hearing impairments this walk has been created to allow for ease of hearing the narration. The text for each narration is provided at the head of each GPS zone as you walk with the soundtrack. If you have downloaded the complete soundtrack then you will find the narration and details of what is being played, in the pdf info pack accompanying this soundtrack. We recommend that this is printed out and read at each zone on the walk. Pause your audio whilst you read.
This soundwalk is suitable for use with in ear or over the ear headphones whichever is suitable for use with your hearing aid, if you wear one.
Take Low sleights Road and travel towards Ribblehead for approximately 6 kilometres. Park in a small layby on the l/h side of the road. If you get to the Station Inn you have gone too far. Please note the layby can be busy but sensible parking on the side of the road is permitted. Cross the road carefully and start the walk at the gate entry to the prominent footpath marked for Ingleborough.
The path is also marked by a useful information panel.
Follow the path through two more field gates before turning left at the sign post for Great Douk Cave.
When you get near the wall surrounding Great Douk Cave, walk clockwise around the perimeter of the dry stone wall enclosing the cave to find the Cairn Burial field. The burial cairn field is on the south west side of the cave area.
Return to the stone stile entrance of Great Douk Cave and make your way carefully down the steep track until you reach the bottom.
Take extra care when crossing the slippery rocks to approach the main cave entrance.
Do not attempt to enter the cave - the sound track will take you in there as part of the finale of the walk.
These instructions can be downloaded here as part of the soundwalk info pack
Subterranean Project Research
The cave is to be experienced through sight, touch, smell, and hearing. Headlamps highlight exactly the spots we want to see and in so doing create labyrinths of intense and confusing darkness.
We not only connect with a place of potential spiritual importance that ancient peoples may have also experienced, but we connect with the very bedrock of the earth. We become closer connected to the sources of power and essential mutability of the Earth, the very thing that creates and sustains us and everything we know.
In much earlier times and in some more recent cultures in the Americas and Africa, the dark caverns underneath represented spiritual themes significant to those cultures. On the slopes of Ingleborough, that dominant mountain on the Western Yorkshire Dales skyline, is Great Douk Cave. The mouth of this cave is in a deep lush sunken glade, reached by a tiny path that winds its way down between saplings, moss and rocks. The cave entrance itself is wide and generous, with a gushing stream flowing out. To enter you must crawl along a raised shelf a couple of feet wide. or climb a short waterfall. It’s not a cave of open caverns but of long and twisting easily accessible passage ways. Visually the cave entrance references the human female body and this would surely have been a key element of the importance of Great Douk Cave to ancient peoples.
"It is when we close our eyes that we most readily experience our body as a place: that experience of interiorised darkness is not so different to the darkness of the night sky; the darkness of the body and deep space are a continuum"
Antony Gormley on Cave (sculpture) 2019
Catalogue 2019, Royal Academy of Arts
Lower Long Churn Cave in Sound and Image
Recorded in Lower Long Churn, this is the distant sound of the force of water surging through Diccan Pot, the adjacent pot that now carries the main stream. Headphones are advised.
This is the sound of the derigging of the handline from the rift above the Cheese Press. The recording device is 15 metres away from the site of the sound. This demonstrates the clarity with which sound travels underground.
Hanging Form, Charcoal on paper, June 2020
Image 1, The entrance to Lower Long Churn. There are several caves in the area linking together under the ground
Image 3, This passage heads to Upper Long Churn cave. The water from recent rain is exiting from that cave.
Image 2, The limestone is worn smooth by the feet using this step to enter Borrins Moor Cave
Image 4, The side walls resemble vertebrae
Image 5, The deep pool of Double Shuffle
must be skirted by gripping the rocks above
Image 6, The cave is rigged to safely navigate the rift drop to the Cheese Press.
Image 7, The Cheese Press. A very tight squeeze between two bedding planes of dark limestone. The body must relax and use the feet to shuffle forwards another few inches.