Thursday, 26 January 2017

Gwaith 18: More Discoveries (Saturday, 15 Oct 2016)

Helo Pawb

Another wonderful day visiting amazing places with my good friend Grevel Lindop. We started around midday and drove out through Macclesfield to The Cloud, an escarpment like Alderley Edge, but longer and higher. We had a long walk along the road at its base and up through woods of birch, beech, oaks and rowan, with ferns crowding around. Closer to the summit, the woods dropped off and we walked past bracken already starting to go brown, as was the heather near the escarpment edge where we had our lunch. The edge afforded us fantastic 360° views of the Cheshire countryside, with the Jodrell Bank dish, which we had visited the previous day, in the distance seemingly floating on the haze.

View from The Cloud
Jodrell Bank in the distance
Early autumn heather
After lunch, we went down another path to the bottom of The Cloud and walked around to The Bridestones, a strange arrangement of vertical stones off to the side of a double chamber open tomb, with other stones in the nearby underbrush. Apparently, the only other similar arrangement is in the Orkneys, though I was reminded of the forecourt at Cairn Holly II in Scotland (about which I will write about at another time).

Front view of The Bridestones
Side view
Grevel inspecting the stones
We then found a ‘right of way’ that looked like it could take us back to The Cloud. Along the path, we found some tall holly trees that looked splendid with their full boughs of berries. The turning of the season is becoming more and more pronounced now, with birch leaves going yellow, oak and beech turning yellow to orange and other trees (maples or sycamore) going green to purple. The countryside will be covered in speckled colours soon.

Berry-ladened holly tree
At one point, I noticed a crow sitting in the middle of a field and, a few yards away, a short, single standing stone, which was not marked on Grevel’s Ordnance map. Like the Allgreave Menhir, it had a flat vertical face, facing north, not south, and sinuous curves on the other side. The stone was streaked with white droppings, as if a bird had spent a lot of time sitting at its top. Grevel spotted an owl’s pellet made up of insect bodies and small white stones. Owls have these stones in their mouths to help grind down their food. So, we decided to call our discovery The Owl Stone.

Raven and standing stone
The Owl Stone, showing the west face
View of The Cloud when we walked back to the car
We then drove back home for dinner and to watch a DVD of Frenzy, which I hadn’t seen before, and a BBC program on Southern Rock.

That was my last outing during my stay in Manchester. Sunday was another rest day, during which I caught up on some writing and emails, and I left on Monday for Scotland. I am enormously grateful for the hospitality shown to me by Grevel and his lovely wife Amanda.

As always, I welcome your comments.

Cofion Cynnes

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