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Knot List: West Country Whipping ‐ Step-by-Step

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West Country Whipping, Animated Knots
West Country Whipping, Step-by-Step Animation

West Country Whipping Tying

Pass the twine round the rope and tie a Half Knot. Repeat behind the rope and tie another. Continue making Half Knots in front and behind until the length of the whipping equals about the diameter of the rope. Finish with several Square (Reef) knots. Pull them through the rope and trim the ends.
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West Country Whipping Details

Uses: The West Country Whipping (ABOK # 3458, p 548) must be the easiest whipping to teach and learn - merely a series of Half Knots completed with a Square (Reef) Knot! No equipment is required except the whipping twine and it secures the end of a rope fairly well. The final Square Knot can shake loose followed by each Half Knot. However, it does fail slowly - the Half Knots work their way loose in succession and, as each one loosens, an opportunity is presented to procrastinate: tie another Square Knot and put off having to whip the end properly with a better whipping.

Techniques: There are several variations of this whipping:

  • Where to Start: When whipping a rope's end it seems natural to wind the twine outwards towards the end. There is, however, an advantage in starting at the end and winding the twine inwards: when the whipping is completed, the ends can be pulled through the body of the rope to prevent them unraveling.
  • Square (Reef Knot): The classic description completes this whipping with a Square Knot with the ends trimmed. A heavily used rope will shake this Square Knot loose. If a needle is available it is worth burying the ends by pulling them through the rope.
  • Multiple Square (Reef) Knots The West Country can be completed with a stack of Square Knots but this leaves an unsightly tail. If a needle is available, this string of Square Knots can be pulled through the rope to bury it.
  • Start with a Constrictor: A quick way to start the West Country is to drop a Constrictor Knot on the end before tying Half Knots. This has the advantage of quickly gaining very secure control of the rope's end. It also leaves a fairly reliable last defense if the whipping comes undone.

Disclaimer: Any activity that involves ropes is potentially hazardous. Lives may be at risk - possibly your own. Considerable attention and effort have been made to ensure that these descriptions are accurate. However, many critical factors cannot be controlled, including: the choice of materials; the age, size, and condition of ropes; and the accuracy with which these descriptions have been followed. No responsibility is accepted for incidents arising from the use of this material.

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