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Belfry News March 2017

The Mystery of Ropesight

The above ability (known to all bell ringers) is arguably the most difficult aspect to master when learning the art of bellringing. Many, having learned how to handle a bell and to ring "rounds" give up at this stage, which is a great pity but perhaps not surprising. To the uninitiated even a definition of ropesight (there appear to be several) assumes so much gobbledegook. This is one of them;

"The ability by which the ringer can place his (or her) bell in the correct position without having to remember the order of which bells to follow"

I think the key word here is "order," that is, a sequence which in change ringing alters every one or two seconds. The novice ringer must therefore find the way correctly through what appears to be a maze of ropes each of which are rapidly changing their own relative positions. Not easy at all, but quarter peals are a useful means of practice for the learner and one was rung at Gedney on Saturday, February 25th with Terry Sansom ringing the treble. Details are given below. Terry learned to ring at Sutton St James and it was his first quarter peal after struggling with ropesight. However, he rang very well indeed and it was a pleasure to hear and participate in 45 minutes of excellently struck ringing. We thank Alan Bird and Sylvia Taylor (Sleaford), David Collin (Swineshead) and Greg Harrison (Heckington) for joining us and helping to make this effort a success. As for the "mystery of ropesight", it is indeed a challenge for the aspiring ringer, however with persistence and effort, in the words of the old sayings, "when the penny drops, it becomes as plain as a pikestaff"

John Bennett