hipping stones

(this first bit was posted on 'typing in a small room' - 07May2008,
the rest is ongoing...)

From the you-learn-something-new-everyday category...
Once again out looking (on the web) for something else and I came across this photo of
'hipping stones' on a BBC site.

© BBC Lancashire. Used with permission.

I've seen this type of thing in a lot of places but never heard it referred to by this name.
A little exploring found this:

I realized I had a couple photos from last fall of just such a structure.

The photo above is early morning on the Kamogawa (Kamo River) in Kyoto
showing 'hipping stones' [1], a man and young girl making use of same [2],
successfully [3], with a watching egret [4].

I believe the egret is called 'daisagi' in Japan.
I don't know if there is a phrase for the stones, provincial or otherwise.
The Kamo proved to be hippinable.


New day, new something learned.
Thanks to a friend I have learned the proper Japanese term for stones crossing water:
"sawa-watari-ishi" (small river-crossing-stone) [sometimes shortened to 'sawatari-(i)shi'].
The activity illustrated is "tobi-ishi-watari" (jumping-stone-cross).

[Tobi-ishi (stepping stones), can also be found in gardens where they are spaced in such a way as to subtly influence movement through the space.]

'reverse' hipping stones

Thinking more about hipping stones and what might be their opposite.
Hipping stones are for crossing small bodies of water while keeping your feet dry.
These ‘reverse’ hipping stones, then, are for crossing the alley while keeping your feet wet.

The Stoneybrook alley proves to be reverse hippinable.

My guess at the action name in Japanese was tobi-mizu-kosaten.
Again, thanks to a friend, I have a more correct way of phrasing the above -
‘tobi-mizu-hodou’ (jumping - water - pavement crossing).
[’Kosaten’ implies a larger road or intersection.]

hipping stones in history (sort of)

THE BATTLE OF GORTON (Gorton is a district in Manchester, England)
may or may not have taken place (if it did it was between the Saxons and the Danes).
This is possibly of some import to the folks 'round there, at least the folks interested in history,
since Gorton may derive from 'Gore Town' and another local area, Reddish,
may derive from 'Red Ditch' - the local ditch having flowed red with blood.
It's also possible both derivations are somewhat apocryphal.

In any case, there is a tale about The Battle of Gorton from way back
(written[?] or re-written by John Higson in 1852)
that starts out with the dawn

The matin twilight glimmer’d in the east;

and moves on to the sun beaming

On a rivulet, whose pure crystal waters,
With playful gait, danced merrily along,
Their wonted track...

(I had to use that bit as wont is an underused word in my opinion)

...Ever anon,
Among the hills and dales the streamlet wound,
O’erhung with avenues of trees, unseen
To mortal eye, save where the villagers
Had placed, at some rude ford, th’hipping stones.

It goes on from here; blood in the ditch, hordes, savage Danes, hordes of savage Danes, etc.
No more mention of th'hipping stones, possibly because keeping your feet dry becomes
the least of your worries if the ditches are red.

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© jamie newton