Lorna Graves: Memories of Belonging
1 March 2018 - 1 June 2018
This exhibition celebrates the work of Lorna Graves as a widely recognised 20th century Cumbrian artist and her relationship to the Eden landscape. Her work concentrated on symbolic and archetypal themes: the Pennine woman, animals and standing stones. These are the focus of this exhibition which looks at her working process and her life in this part of Cumbria. It draws on a remarkable archive of photographs and sketches which have largely remained unpublished.
'Because of that need to belong, I returned home to Cumbria, not a return to people but to a place - the Eden Valley. As a child I lived here with farming people close to the land and animals.'
1 July - 1 November
The Lakeland crags are only part of the Cumbrian history of rock climbing: This exhibition adds the story of the Eden Valley crags which also found their way into print as climbers' rocks. It marks a time when rock climbing is carried one stage farther away from mountaineering to a point where the mountains themselves were no longer needed - the next logical extension of the sport of rock climbing. The 1970s was the period of increasing activity on the outcrops in the Eden Valley. A first interim guidebook appears and the Eden Valley mountaineering club is formed. The Penrith sandstone of Armathwaite and the ubiquitous 'Armathwaite Pockets' are responsible for the best of the harder routes. Armathwaite becomes a meeting place and training venue for the Penrith and Carlisle teams, who were looking to make their mark on the British crags.
The exhibition features Ron Kenyon's original drafts of the Eden Valley guidebook and material on loan from the Fell and Rock Climbing Club.
'My first thoughts about this guidebook occurred one evening in 1979 when I made my first visit to a crag near Lazonby, in the Eden Valley, with John Workman. I was intrigued by his talk of a massive sandstone buttress rearing above the River Eden. John, Alan Beatty, John Simpson and Dennis Hodgson had climbed two routes, Merry Monk and Gadzowt, the year before, but had left the crag for the "real" climbing in the Lakes. After walking across a barren moorland, with no crag in sight, I thought John was having me on. Suddenly a buttress of rock, like a Transylvanian castle, appeared out of the evening gloom, guarding a bend in the river: 100 feet of vertical and overhanging rock with lines remain waiting to be climbed.'