Handling a Bell Video
by Steve Lock
This short film shows Roger Fox ringing at Odcombe. It is slowed down so that you can see the detail of what happens.
Notice how his hands reach right up at Backstroke, almost as high as he can reach, and then he does a long pull right down, nearly down to his legs, (in fact some people actually touch their legs at each stroke). This long pull ensures that your rope travels smoothly, without any jumping and jerking.
His hands stay together the whole time. If you watch, you'll see that they are almost touching each other all the time. In fact, it's perfectly possible to ring with an elastic band holding your wrists together, though perhaps an imaginary elastic band is safer when you are learning.
At handstroke, your hands should be almost as high as you can reach on the sally. I say " almost" because you need to leave a bit of room for adjustment of speed. You may suddenly realise that you need to wait, then you can stretch up really high and let the bell go over the balance point until you need to pull it down again.
If you want to ring faster, catch the sally a little bit higher. If you need to slow up, catch lower. An inch or two higher or lower will make a big difference to the speed of the bell.
Roger has all his fingers around the sally. There is no need to worry that you might drop the tail end whilst catching the sally. It rarely happens, but if it does, just step away and let an experienced ringer bring the bell under control.
While you are learning to ring, it's a good idea to ask someone to film you on their phone. You may be surprised to find that your hands are not travelling down as far as you think they are, or that you are not reaching right up. This is especially useful if your rope is misbehaving and you want to know why!