We all know the Crater is far more than simply a hole in the ground. As well as being a huge scar in the landscape and symbol of the violent destructive power of war, it is also now a place of calm and tranquility, drawing in many Pilgrims and visitors where it affords an opportunity, should they wish, to reflect on the past and focus on the future.
For several years Richard has contemplated ways to enhance the positive experience folk take away with them after a visit. Some simply ask for more information about the Crater and the surrounding area, some talk of an almost supernatural atmosphere that permeates, whilst for others it acts as a catalyst to deeper thought.
Over the last couple of years we have been thinking how we might best create something that takes these ideas and blends and enhances them as part of our message of Respect, Remembrance and Reconciliation. To this end, we have spent several months finalising what will become The Lochnagar Labyrinth, a pathway of panels, some overlooking the battlefield, with others nearer the walkway or at linked places around the Crater site. Why Lochnagar Labyrinth and not Lochnagar Maze you ask? Well, a labyrinth has only one route to its goal, whilst a maze has many alternatives. As such, we hope any visitor who follows the panels around the Crater will arrive at the end of a metaphorical journey having thought about what they have seen and read.
A casual conversation with a senior member of staff from Commonwealth War Graves Commission some three years ago proved hugely fortuitous. For they offered to fund and manufacture what we created. Since then we have had a number of meetings at their Maidenhead headquarters and despite a forced hiatus due to our commitments in planning for the 2016 Centenary Ceremony, the panels should be in production by the time you read this. We thank Andy Stillwell and Jonathan Barr at CWGC for their enthusiastic support and assistance with the project.
Over the next few months the panels will be installed and unveiled in time for 1st July 2017.