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Pathfinder - Yorkshire Arts Review

Jim Jarratt is a poet and self-declared Yorkshire nationalist who, although only in his twenties, is keeping alive the dialect of that part of the West Riding where he grew up and now lives. Last year the Arvon Foundation published A View From Wibsey Slack, the collection of his own dialect poems with music about various parts of Yorkshire, all visible from the windy heights of Wibsey, south of Bradford. Many of these songs have been heard on local radio, among them The Trolleybus Lament, Raining Cats and Dogs, the Pinderman of Shelf, the Buttershaw Lullaby and The King of Knurr and Spell.

These poems were a direct result of a course at the Arvon Foundation's centre at Lumb Bank, near Heptonstall, but at the same time another idea started to grow into a much larger project that has been taking up most of Jim's spare time ever since, along with his collaborator, Malcolm Laws.

It was an idea that linked up with a coast-to-coast walk that Jim made in 1973, following A Wainwright's A Coast to Coast Walk, which had been published very shortly before, starting at St. Bees in Cumberland and ending at Robin Hood's Bay.
Jim had found the route rich in both recent history and ancient legend, but it was not until last summer at Arvon that he came across Watkins' The Old Straight Track, with its theory of ley lines revealing a system of ancient communication across the country.

This sparked off a new approach to his walk that resulted in The Pathfinder - The Story of a Journey, a chronicle of poems covering episodes of the journey itself and the wealth of history, tradition, legend and superstition surrounding the places he visited, dedicated to 'those who have travelled the path' and imbued throughout with the power of the ancient ley lines:

Take the stone my mother made,
On a silken thread let it swing free,
To guide you along the lines of force,
From the Western Cliff to the Eastern sea,
Take to the land and follow the ley,

Along the journey there are references to many of the prominent features of the landscape and the legends and events associated with them.
The ubiquitous Robin Hood has one of his supposed graves on the Westmorland limestone plateau in the Vale of Eden, his 'chair' is at the side of Ennerdale Lake and his tower is at Richmond Castle.

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All musical and lyrical material on this site is COPYRIGHT JIM JARRATT & MAL LAWS 2002. No part of THE PATHFINDER may be reproduced or performed for commercial purposes without the express permission of the authors. While it is accepted that parts of the site may be freely downloaded for private use, we ask in return that you respect the ownership of our work.