Prince of Wales unveils Lakeland ram

A new geographical icon has been created in West Cumbria with the unveiling of the Herdwick Ram by Prince Charles last month (March).

The Ram, carved from a 17-tonne block of Portland limestone from Dorset, is at the gateway of West Cumbria, with pride of place next to the A66/A5086 roundabout - although it wasn't when the Prince unveiled it.

The site is surrounded by hills, making the Ram visible for many miles around - good from an icon's point of view but not so good from the point of view of the Prince's security people. So the unveiling took place indoors and the hefty sculpture was due to be lifted into place on 19 April, where it was blessed in a ceremony led by the Rev Michael Braithwaite.

The project was funded by Rural Regeneration Cumbria as a flagship for "arts in the community, for the community, with the community" and drew support from local businesses including stone quarriers Block Stone and Kirkstone and masonry company Gordon Greaves (Slate).

The Ram was carved as part of an arts project in West Cumbria involving the West Cumbria Achievement Zone and Rathbone Training. Its production was in itself a training programme for young Cumbrians who helped carry out the work under the direction of sculptor Shawn Williamson.

Shawn said: "This has been about people working together to create a major statement that will stand the test of time. Ownership belongs to the community as a whole, not just one artist."

One of the trainees involved in the project, Shaun McCallum, commented: "I never thought I'd be able to do anything like this. If you didn't know you were artistic, a project like this could bring it out of you."