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How to add more sparkle to your walk in the landscape by Helen Johnson Artist

You may have seen my ‘A Glint of Sunshine’, where I placed carved and gilded stones in the landscape and river beds of the Nent and the South Tyne, upstream from Alston Town.

I did this as a project responding to the Spring Solstice on March 21st 2021 and have followed the progress of the stones since that time.

If you walk from Alston along the Nent river towards the Seven Sisters waterfall you may still catch a glimpse of the stone placed just in front of the waterfall. This is one of six stones and the one that is still most prominent.

Carry on along the river, with the Seven Sisters on your left, along the field and through the kissing gate, you will eventually arrive at Paradise! This stone has already had somewhat of a journey, as it fell in the river, and was then rescued by a member of the public and placed back on the stone. It has since been propped up to give a better view, and although tarnishing slightly is still adding an extra sparkle to your walk. Here is a photo of it on 22nd April 2021 before it was propped up for a better view.

There are two further stones at Nenthead Mines where the landscape spreads out far and wide and shows an interesting history of the mining past of the area.

The easiest one to spot is a toothlike stone completing the top of a mine shaft, and whilst it has no carvings, is the biggest piece of ‘gold’ of all the stones! The other one can be found on the footpath to Flinty Fell and shows a symbol of either water or air, depending on which way up you look at it

Last but not least are the Garrigil Stones, both on/ in the South Tyne River.

The stone at Champagne Bridge has moved and tarnished over time, but is still visible from the bridge. Unfortunately, the river has claimed the final Garrigil stone – and it is no longer where it was originally placed, just off the road along the river outside Garrigil, close to Beldy Chapel. That said, it makes for a great game – hunting the gold stone and I have spent many an hour since 21st March wandering up and down that stretch of river, looking for a glint of sunshine amongst the many other stones. If anyone spots it – please get in touch, and have fun searching for A Glint of Sunshine!

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