Rope-sense not rope-sight
Fun with BellsApril 18, 201900:18:248.47 MB

Rope-sense not rope-sight

Rebecca has rope-sense

when ringing tower bells

You may have heard of rope-sight but have you heard of rope-sense? Podcast host Cathy Booth discovers that this highly developed sense of rhythm is just one of the many tools and techniques that has helped Rebecca Legowski on her ringing journey.

Rebecca, who has been blind from birth, is learning to ring on both tower bells and hand bells, and is already lighting up Bell Board, scoring her first handbell peal in March 2019. Rebecca talks to Cathy about both the extra pressures she faces to perform, given that peals by blind ringers are so rare, and the emotional highs, such as ringing for the Armistice celebrations in November 2018.

Although ringing presents some specific challenges to blind people, some of the secrets to Rebecca’s success are things that every ringer can learn from - great technique, good listening and lots of practice on a ringing simulator.

So, if you want to give ringing a go don’t be afraid – as Rebecca says, just go for it!

Rebecca has just rung her first peal on hand bells


Top five takeaways

  • If you’re visiting a new tower or ringing a different bell, ask if you can test your bell out to feel if it’s light or heavy so you’ll be able to tell how slow or fast the rope will come down.
  • Always pull off in a straight line and have a long, smooth pull on the handstroke and then the sally will come down in a consistent place.
  • Need some practice outside of the tower? There are several bell simulators you can use – for example, Rebecca mentions Tad Hill, Abel, Mabel and Mobil and an Android app called Methodology.
  • If you’re looking for tips for teaching a blind or partially sighted person to ring there’s an article about teaching Rebecca to ring in the ART WORKS magazine
  • Ringing is a great team activity so is the perfect way to widen your social network.

Ask the expert

Pip Penney answered the following questions in this episode:

  • Jon: “Do you have to be a Christian to be a bell ringer?”
  • Rob: “What is the main difference between a bob and a single, when called when methods are being rung?”

Comment on this episode from our legacy website:

Mary Jones: (2019) - Rebecca, I am in awe as to how you do it. I have just been writing something about rope-sight and how difficult it is to start learning methods without it, but now I am determined to develop rope-sense in case the rope-sight takes too long to manifest itself. Thank you for your interview. You are inspirational. On days when ringing all seems rather difficult, I will remember that some people have more challenges to overcome than a flappy right hand and the inability to remember their own phone number.

Sponsor: This podcast is sponsored by the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART).  To find out more about learning to ring, learning to teach or other resources to support your ringing go to

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