Bowder Stone Ladder, Borrowdale

CB Arts Chris Brammall was commissioned by the National Trust to design and create a new ladder for the iconic Bowder Stone in Borrowdale.

Referred to as one of the Lake District's quirkiest landmarks the Bowder Stone is a large andesite lava boulder believed to have fallen 200 metres from the Bowder Crag on King How between 10,000 and 13,500 years ago.  Established as a tourist attraction by the eccentric wealthy off-comer Joseph Pocklington in 1798, it has been in the care of The National Trust since 1910.

Chris started his design process with the landscape and environment in mind with the aim of bringing more excitement to the experience of getting on to the stone, as the previous wooden ladders were very chunky and visually overpowered the stone itself.   The new design is much lighter (despite being made from steel) and gives a more open feel which creates more exposure to the users.  The design deliberately makes the stone more prominent and less like it is being propped up by the ladder.  

Further inspiration has been taken from the composition and finer detail of the stone itself with the balustrade based on the fracture lines running through the stone and surrounding quarries and crags from which the stone would have originated from.   The handrail features changes in heights and directions which has been designed to make the balustrade less conventional and add to the user experience. 

The ladder is 9 metres long (with an additional top platform), weighs 1.85 tons with a total of 30 treads.  It is made from galvanised steel with a patinated lacquer to give a mottled grey appearance.  

Client: The National Trust

Groundworks: Terrafirma

Transport and Lift: Gibsons of Kendal 

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