On Sunday we all met at Heber's Ghyll in Ilkley at 10am, that is 14 of us from the Northern Earth Mysteries Group. Our intention was to take a walk over Ilkey Moor. We started off by climbing up Heber's Ghyll, a very steep ravine, a stream cascading all the way from the top. There is a proper walkway with bridges over the stream, one of the most beautiful glens I have seen, reminiscent in a lot of ways of some of the Manx glens. The bluebells were out in proffusion and also ramsons, or wild garlics. It took ages it seemed to reach the top of the ravine, I think we were all gasping for breath by the time we arrived there. We climbed over a style and were then out on open moorland with panoramic views over the whole valley and Ilkley town.
Our first stop was the Swastika stone, so called because of the neolithic stone etching on it. Its a monstrous piece of rock, thankfully behind railings to protect it from vandals. The wind on the topps was freezing, was hard to believe it was the end of May, and by then we had all gotten into our jackets with hoods up. Next on line was the Noon stone, though none of us know why it is so called. After that we traversed the boundary of a conifer plantation for quite a while, I noticed that the cotton grass was flowering and that curlews, sky larks and meadow pipits were calling, also a few dandelions grew near to the path.
From up on the tops we had a wonderful clear view of Pendle Hill and also Bouldsworth peeking over the top of another hill, the early warning system "golf balls" near Blubberhouse Moor, and the Emley Moor transmitter. After a lunch stop we journeyed on downwards first to the Doubler Stones and then through a pine forest at Rivock Edge. This place is reputed to be haunted by hooded figures, unfortunately none of us saw any, but it feels quite an eerie place as nothing seems to grow there. We had to climb off the track to see Rivock Oven, a cave quite high up, a few of the more daring actually crawled through the gap in the stones. An old legend has it that if a man and a woman clamber through the gap then they will marry!!! I just did not want to chance it!!!!
Next our stop was the badger stone which is carved with neolithic art, its best seen in wet weather, luckily for us the day was dry, but unfortunate in that we couldnt make out too much of the art depicted on it.
Our final stop was a stone which had been covered in red paint a few years back, most of it has worn away, but a few patches still remain. They are mainly rune stones, we have still to find out what they mean.We follows cascades downwards and then wearily walked about 2 miles back to the descent into Heber's Ghyll.
3 days later my legs are still aching. I have done much longer walks, think it must have been all the plodding through peat bogs which caused them to ache, but at least my feet kept dry.