Tuesday, March 08, 2016

3D Impossipuzzles

In its own way, Yorkshire culture is as crazy as Japanese culture. Today's cultural exercise was doing an impossible 3 dimensional puzzle halfway up a mountain (Ingleborough), in the rain. It was also quite cold (the ground was hard with ice as we set off up the hill) although it did warm to a few degrees above freezing later on.

The game starts with a drystone wall. This is a wall of rocks which have been shaped by nature, and which contains no mortar. Clearly such a wall is physical impossibility but in Yorkshire these walls are everywhere and they magically stand up all on their own for hundreds of years. But sometimes the magic spell breaks and this causes part of the wall to fall down. The puzzle is to fully take down the wall and rebuild it using the pieces strewn around your legs so that it will stand for another 200 years or so. The original magic spells seem to have been lost, so modern woman has to achieve this using 3D puzzling. I was very surprised that most of the rocks are quite light so this is a sport which anyone who can stand the cold and rain can take part in. The main skill required is that of mental rock spinning. I've had so much practice packing our van with boxes in the last couple of years that I found this part came quite easily, but it was certainly tiring both physically and mentally. 

This photo was taken when we had almost finished for the day. Our section was not quite complete, but we seemed to have made fairly good progress, although one of the other teams had a much more difficult challenge as they were building on a very steep slope.

Picking up strewn rocks to put in wall... James works hard while the gurus give sage advice.

This is our bit of wall from the side. At the end of the day, our guru pointed out how it could have been done much better - there were many errors! But he also pretended that he wouldn't be out tomorrow to take it all down and redo it, stating that, despite all our errors it "would stand". That's nice - at last we've made a real contribution to something in the world!

The day included traditional Yorkshire feasting: sandwich and a thermos, at a slightly less windy spot.


William M. Connolley said...

Speaking of Ingleborough, have you done the Three Peaks? I may be, at Easter.

James Annan said...

I've been up a couple of them, and plan to be doing the race on the 30th. I presume you didn't mean that for yourself though? Planning to be away over Easter weekend or else you'd have had to come and say hello.

James Annan said...

30th April, that is - Saturday after Easter.

James Annan said...

Btw you will be able to see our wall as it's just off the main path.

Assuming it's still standing, that is :-)

William M. Connolley said...

Not the race, no. I'll be up around 30/3-2/4. Perhaps I should come and say hello. I'll be at http://www.stacksteadfarm.co.uk/ Near Ingleton. Is that near you?

Nick Barnes said...

30th April is more than a month "after Easter".
By coincidence I will also be passing by, on (probably) 28th March and again on 1st April (spending a week near Alston). Will you be about, and open to visitors?

James Annan said...

Yes, you're right of course, lemsip had addled my brain there. We are planning to be here from about 30 March onwards. You're both very welcome to come and say hello, we are about 10 miles from Stackstead farm, I've never quite run to Ingleton from home, but cycle though/past often enough.