I thought I ought to take a close up of the main crag at Roseberry Topping in case a proposal to carve a sculpture on the rock face comes to fruition. The proposal, by experienced Welsh craftsman Ffŵl Ebrill, is to carve the face of the old Norse god Odin on to the rock face. I understand that the face will be about a metre high and will not be on the main face which the geologists say is unstable but will face south west on one of the smaller rock faces. It would not be visible from the car park at Newton-under-Roseberry and would be approached from the Summerhouse.
The name Roseberry is said to derive from the old Norse Óðins bjarg, meaning Odin’s rock. Odin was the god associated with battle and death, as well as healing, royalty, knowledge, sorcery and poetry.
The whole idea sounds utterly preposterous, completely defacing the natural rock but there may well be support from the public who seem to have an appetite for the North East’s Viking heritage and myths. The Odin’s Glow event in 2009, although a one off, was very successful.
It follows of course, I’ll say ‘inspired’, by English Heritage’s controversial Merlin sculpture at Tintagel island in Cornwall which is proving highly controversial with English Heritage being accused of ‘vandalism’.
This would not be the first piece of public artwork on Roseberry, which is owned by The National Trust. The Framing the Landscape sculpture on Cliff Ridge is in a completely different medium, rusty steel, and I for one am disappointed that this has been allowed to be erected. I had thought the Trust’s purpose was to preserve our nation’s heritage and open spaces for future generations not to ‘enhance’ the landscape.
Here is an artist’s impression of the proposed sculpture. Obviously the face of Odin is open to artistic interpretation so any resemblance to any particular person is purely coincidental.
For more details of Ffŵl Ebrill’s work click here.