The installation of the yellow line in Wasdale, running from the Wasdale Oak all the way into Wastwater (a steep slope of almost 120 metres) has been a long time in the planning:previous blog here. Now it’s happening. We have gathered all the materials and a willing group of volunteers, and chosen a day when rain is extremely unlikely.

The material we’re using is a strong twill, and the yellow colour matches the bright yellow of the gorse flowers that are abundant in Wasdale at the moment. The 120-metre length is cut into four so that we can carry it in with minimum back-ache, and it has been pierced with eyelets every 50cm. We’ve packed 450 very strong pegs to hold the material in place and all our tests suggest that it’s going to stay exactly where we put it. We’ve had a poem printed onto the material in segments so that it will begin at the oak and end in the water.

Last week we were with the oak, checking the ground to ensure that the installation of the cloth won’t inhibit any plant growth. We’re going to have to cut around a few birch saplings and one or two very young oaks, but apart from this the way is clear – we have trimmed back brambles so we don’t get scratched, and marked out a clear line over grass and rock.

Pegs ready for the yellow line in Wasdale

The ideal place to view the line is from the opposite shore of the lake. You’ll find a board explaining the installation and showing the poem that’s written onto the cloth on the shore of Wastwater close to the black-and-white signpost midway along the lake-shore road (Grid Reference 152055).

So here we are. It’s Sunday. The car is packed and we’ve checked the packing-list several times. This time tomorrow the line should be in place. It will be there for two weeks. Our hope is that it will cause people to pause and notice this environment, perhaps in more detail than they might have otherwise, and ponder: what makes this place so special, what feelings does it arouse, and what attention and care does it need from us?

Wastwater Screes
This is the view that will be changing from May 9th.

Thankyous …

Planning something like this takes a long time and the involvement of a lot of people. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the farming community whose Herdwick graze this particular bit of land; the National Trust and particularly the rangers from Wasdale; Jon Revill at Castle-Embroidery who printed the poem onto the cloth; and KBT Fabrics in Birmingham who provided the right type of cloth, the friends and volunteers who offered to help us put it in place, and the continuing support and encouragement of our partners.

We’ll post a blog later in the week to reveal the poem and give an update on how the line is settling into place.

More on colour transformations

Blog on planning the installation

More on the Wasdale Oak


6 thoughts on “The Yellow Line

  1. Can you take the monstrosity down its like modern day graffiti . What a horrible thing to put in one of my favorite places .It took months of planning ……who by 5 year old kids that have not yet learned to love the landscape .


    1. Brian, thanks for your message and your request and just to reassure you, this is a temporary installation. And we do love the landscape, probably just as much as you do – I hope that you’ve taken time to look through this website and feel that its content reflects our appreciation and celebration of Cumbria.


  2. I’m sorely disappointed ! you have spoiled this beautiful landscape! This is photographers faverate, to have a installation that spoils the enjoyment of others for Your own gain is callus and inconsiderate. If you have not noticed you are not very popular on social media, especially local intrest groups. I suggest you remove your yellow installation. The last thing we need in a beautiful landscape portrait is an usightly yellow line spoiling our shots.


    1. Mark, thank you for your comment and it’s clear you’re not happy with this. The installation is not staying for good, it is only temporary (it would be crazy to be otherwise for all kinds of reasons) and is only there for a matter of days. Your sentiment reflects a feeling of passionate love for the Wasdale landscape and it’s something we share – we love the region and also love photographing it. A week of something slightly different there is not intended to offend, rather it is intended to highlight the environment in a different way. Although you are disappointed we have received messages of approval and support, which helps with the balance and with an ongoing debate about the way we interact with our environment and what art can provoke.


  3. Just to balance out some of the negative comments thought it worth sharing a couple of the more positive views from Facebook today:

    ‘I like the idea of temporary art challenging how we think of our environment. Mixing human creation with the natural world may force people to think about how we all change our surroundings every day. Negative comments may be less considered than the positive ones. Perhaps some people could step outside their safe zone occasionally and try to think more openly, freely and imaginatively. It is very rewarding.’
    Like · Reply · Message · 3 · 5 hrs

    ‘Art needs to have it’s place in our world, it shouldn’t be restricted to galleries where it is only visible if you make a concerted effort to see it, it should be allowed to happen in our natural environment and act as a commentary and offer a new perspective, it makes us look at things differently, that is the point. The fact that it is temporary should really circumnavigate any arguments about negative impact, it happens momentarily but can be subject of discussion for longer than it actually exists. I’m sure there were people who disliked the Umbrella artwork on Ullswater and the red Paper Bridge at Patterdale, some people will object to the painted sheep popping up around the Lake District but it is all an expression of our interaction with the place we live. Art should be available to every-one, whether you choose to like it or not is part of the point, it’s not a reason for art not to exist.
    Like · Reply · Message · 4 · 4 hrs

    Liked by 2 people

  4. i am struck by how much strength of emotion on either polarity this yellow line has caused, particularly since it was only ever intended to be a short lived alteration of a view much loved by all. Personally, i found the vertical yellow line intriguing and made me stop and look at the same view from a different perspective (which i welcomed). I am sure that was the intention. But if the unintended outcome from this piece of art is one of controversy, let us at least embrace that and attempt to learn more about its meaning. Vitriol and hatred have no place here, that is for sure, but a debate about man’s impact on nature and how it affects us does. Thank you for having the courage to engage with your critics from a mature and centred place and thereby modelling the manner in which this important debate should continue.

    Liked by 1 person

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