Find the Unicorn Tears – Wasdale Show Competition

John Barrow Unicorn-by Marianne Birkby
John Barrow Unicorn-by Marianne Birkby

Radiation Free Lakeland will be at Wasdale Show this Saturday. As well as actions for people to take to oppose the geological dump we will have exciting competitions for people to take part in.

Find the Unicorn Tears is a competition based on a large 3D map of Cumbria– it is a £1 a pin to put your mark on the map and the winner will receive a painting of a Unicorn by wildlife artist Marianne Birkby : “ it is based loosely on the writings of famous explorer Sir John Barrow from Ulverston”.

‘Unicorn Tears’ are the black pearls found in freshwater pearl mussels which are an endangered species. In the Victorian era they were sold for almost as much as Sir John Barrow offered indigenous people around the world for the body of a unicorn. Freshwater pearl mussels produce the rare black freshwater pearls that poachers used to keep a keen eye out for along stretches of the Rivers Ehen and Irt in West Cumbria. They are endangered and protected but not from the juggernaught of the nuclear ‘industry’ which is eyeing up the areas of Cumbria in which the rare Fresh Water Pearl is found.

Some Unicorn stuff below – not as important as the diabolic government plan to pollute Fresh Water Pearls and the rest of us with nuclear trash… but Interesting nevertheless!

One of these drawings was seen and copied, a few years later, by the English traveller, Sir John Barrow, who was completely converted by it to a belief in the unicorn. His copy shows the head and neck of a creature with the general appearance of an antelope and with a single horn like that of the gemsbok rising, apparently, from the right side of the brow. This drawing was one of several thousands discovered by Sir John Barrow, all of them as realistic, he says, as the skill of the artists would permit. He makes it clear that in this instance there could be no possible confusion with the rhinoceros, which is also depicted in the South African caves, and he argues earnestly that the long tradition of the unicorn, taken together with what he has heard from the natives of Africa and with this drawing, should be sufficient to compel belief.

John Barrow Autobiography
‘The Unicorn’
We entered the division of Tarka, close to a
lofty mountain named the Bambosberg, from which
proceeds a chain of mountains ; in one of these we
discovered a cavern ftdl of drawings of animals of the
larger kind, such as elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopota-
mi, and, among the rest, one of the giraft’e. The Bos-
jesnien had told us that the people, who make these
drawings, live on the other side of the Great River,
^vhicli may account for the drawing of an animal never
found on the south side of that river. From hence we
made a long excursion in the Tarka Mountains : our
object was to find, as we were frequently told there is,
the drawing of an animal with a single horn. One of
our party said he would conduct us to a cavern where
drawings of many animals were on its sides. At the
place indicated, we found sketches of several animals,
and among them one of the giraffe. Still the object of
our search was wanting, and our farmers seemed to be
as anxious as ourselves that what they had told us
should turn out to be true.

We therefore continued our search in the mountains,
and came, in one of them, to a deep cavern, the front
of it covered with shrubbery. One of the boors
mounted up the steep ascent, and having made his wav
through the brushwood, he called out that the sides of
the cavern were covered Avith drawings. I ascended,
and having got the bushes partly cleared away to let
in light, numerous drawings made their appearance;
some tolerably well executed, and among them was part
of a figure evidently meant to represent an animal wifli
a horn projecting from its forehead : all the body was
covered by the figure of an elephant painted over it.
The resemblance of the head to that fanciful animal
which we call an unicorn may, perhaps, have been
sketched by some of the boors; but that there is a
beast in Southern Africa, with a single horn on his
forehead, there can be no doubt ; or that one species of
the rhinoceros, in Southern Africa, is a monoceros ; for
one of the missionaries brought to England the horn of
one he had met with to the northward of the Orange
Kiver, which I saw, and which I think was about two
feet in length. It is now fifty years since the present
reminiscences were originally written; but no other
unicorn has since been discovered, except the one-
horned rhinoceros above-mentioned. In a letter from
Lord Macartney to Sir George Staunton, dated Castk
of Good Hope, July 24th, 1798, is the following:—

” I must not forget to tell you that, from what 1
hear, I am almost persuaded of the existence of the
unicorn, ten feet high; the horn of brown ivory, two
and a half feet long, twisted, and tapering to the point,
thick at the root as a man’s arm, and thick as a man’s
finger at the end ; hoofs and tail like a bullock’s ; a
black short mane ; skin like a horse’s — colour white,
watered with black (I have a pair of slippers, said to
be made of it); very fierce; roots up trees with its horn,
and feeds on the boughs ; an object of worship to the
inliabitants, &c. I have just put down these loose par-
ticulars, as asserted to belong to this wonderful animal.
I am using my best endeavours to come to the truth of
the matter, and I shall send it to you when cleared

Black Pearls of Ennerdale

Wasdale Show

2 thoughts on “Find the Unicorn Tears – Wasdale Show Competition

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