On Saturday morning I had a meeting at Eskdale Quarry to choose a piece of stone for carving a village way-marker. The idea is to have a large boulder, natural, rough hewn, just as it comes from the quarry with a compass carved into the top. The sizes and design had been discussed at a site meeting earlier, so I took my measure to check dimensions.
This is a local quarry that I have not been to before, the stone is usually used for building, and for carving I could see it would be a challenge. It is heavily bedded, and crumbly in parts with large areas of colouring, banding and marking. This is very beautiful to look at as a boulder, but problematic when trying to carve fine detail.
Despite the acres of stone, I went from one boulder to the next, and next, rejecting as I went due to size, marking, soundness. Eventually, late into the morning, I found a piece, marking it as the one, and organised delivery to my workshop. It will be interesting to see how it behaves.
While looking round for my block, I came across a hole in the quarry face, and this was described by the quarry owner as a jet mine. I crawled and squeezed into the opening (felt very daring) to have a look, but didn't find any nuggets. Jet was mined all along the Whitby coastline and many mines sprang up to cope with demand at the height of its popularity.
So I await delivery with mixed feelings - hope the weather stays fine as it is too big to fit in the workshop, I will be sitting on top of it to carve!