Simply Beautiful

For a long time Ian Johnson, a businessman, has longed for a transformation in a valley that was ravaged by a lead mine.

For 25 years he has laboured to see a complete return back to the unspoiled nature paradise that it used to be.

Thorterill Gorge near to Alston in Cumbria had been in his family before the sale by his ancestors for a lead mine in 1780.

It had fallen into a real blot on the landscape after the mine had closed; the beautiful valley was a blight on the area.

8 acres of mining disaster, as it fell into very bad repair the old dilapidated railway line, the broken mine shafts and the lumps of rotting metal drums, pipes and a large mound of junk.

In 1971 Ian took it over from his uncle who had wanted to reclaim it back to nature but had been hampered by the war effort.

The gorge, it should be said, is a very deep ravine where once a stream ran with a waterfall part way up the side feeding it.

There was so much waste lying around and it had blocked the bottom of the ravine, where does one start he pondered.

It was a massive job beginning to clear the site and whilst he was able to bring in equipment to do a great deal the sides were too steep and all the work had to be done by hand.

Once started he recalled saying to the family ‘I am going to see this through to the end but he never thought it would take so long and so much of his time.

It was exhausting work and took 26 years to complete.

Thousands of tons of waste and soil have been carted away in skips and lorries.

In 1996 all the hard slog was rewarded when he was made ‘Countryman’ of the year by Country Life.

In the same year a B.B.C. documentary was shown revealing the fantastic effort that had been put in with the wonderful transformation that had been achieved.

The Thorterill Gorge has been restored to its former glory of 150 years ago by hard slogging, painstaking work.

One amazing feature is the return, naturally, of twelve types of fern in the gorge, several very rare varieties have sprung up as it has been returned to former days.

Now the family are working together with his wife running a tea shop, the two sons work in a forge creating garden furniture and equipment for the many visitors that frequent the revamped gorge.

After receiving his reward in London he was so glad to get back to the peaceful tranquil scene, the peace and quiet of home.

Reading and listening to the superb story I was lifted in my mind to think of the massive reclamation job that God set out to do when He began to reclaim mankind from the fall in the Garden of Eden.

What amazing stories we will listen to in the heavenly place, from gangsters to head-hunters, cannibals to crafty dealers, from broken homes with broken lives.

Heartache to pleasure seekers, the widow and fatherless children, from the unloved to the loving homes, the rich the poor, you name it God, has reached down and lifted up.

He has wonderfully transformed people the self-centred living to gracious giving people of time, talent and self.

He has so beautifully changed the selfish pleasure seekers into servants and providers with open hearts for all that come to them.

He has not spared His own Son but freely given Him to us that we might be ransomed, healed, restored and forgiven.

What a fantastic work He has done, but has He done it in you?

He will right now, if you will only turn from your sin and accept His salvation.