Solstice Wanderings in Cumbria – Tuff

Great Langdale Cup Marked Stone – Dungeon Ghyll – Harrison Stickle – Loft Crag – Pike of Stickle – Martcrag Moor – Stake Pass – Mickleden – Old Dungeon Ghyll – Copt Howe – Mayburgh Henge 21.06.2019

A cup-marked boulder at the foot of the Side Pike pass to Little Langdale.

I don’t have a great head for heights, the narrow scramble between Harrison Stickle and Dungeon Ghyll makes me question my choice of route, to withdraw would be to fail.

There are two genii, which nature gave us as companions throughout life. The one, sociable and lovely, shortens the laborious journey for us through its lively play, makes the fetters of necessity light for us, and leads us amidst joy and jest up to the dangerous places, where we must act as pure spirits and lay aside everything bodily, as to cognition of truth and performance of duty. Here it abandons us, for only the world of sense is its province, beyond this its earthly wings can not carry it. But now the other one steps up, earnest and silent, and with stout arm it carries us over the dizzying depth. On the sublime by Friedrich Schiller. 1801

 Staring down the gulley to the valley below, then scrambling to the summit of the Pike of Stickle, terrifying and exhilarating.

Chasing clouds across the fells

Tracking  Prehistoric Cairns along Mickleden

Flakes of Tuff carried down the scree from the Neolithic quarries on the Pike of Stickle

On leaving, I visit the prehistoric carved boulders of Copt Howe

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Mayburgh Henge, generally my starting and finishing point when visiting Cumbria.

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Baysdale

Ernaldsti

Ernaldsti, the ancient route runs through Westerdale joining the ridge route at Ralphs Cross.
Base path

Heading west into Baysdale, the track helps keep the bracken at bay.

Base cup

A large slab of rock sits buried in the bracken below the track. I have stopped here many times, it is a perfect place to sit and gaze across to the hidden valley of the Great Hograh Beck.

Cup

The slab has a single cup mark at its centre, it is difficult to say whether or not it is prehistoric in origin, there are also carved initials on the stone.  In the 1960s Rowland Close reported a prehistoric carved stone at the head of the Great Hograh Beck valley on Holiday Hill.

Flint

On returning to the path I find a single grey flint.

Wall

The repairs of the field walls echo the prehistoric walling of the surrounding moor tops.

Barn i

The fields have been abandoned, the farmhouse and barn derelict.

Base barn

Baysdale YN [Basdale c 1200 YCh 564]. ‘Valley with a Cow-shed’ (ON bass).

Yellow

The hillside sheep scrapes are filled with tiny yellow flowers, my friend Barry has identified them as climbing corydalis (Ceratocapnos clavicular).

sheep double dare

On the moor top I stop for a chat with the keeper. He tells me that he has just returned from a week in Ibiza with the lads.

Ripper

Roadside litter – a short memory

———

Ekwall does not mention Hograh, perhaps his definition below gives a clue to the etymology.

OE hoh ‘heel; projecting ridge of land’, dial. hoe, heugh ‘crag, cliff, precipice, a height ending abruptly’. In pl. ns. the meaning varies from ‘steep ridge’ to ‘slight rise’. The OE inflexion was hoh, gen. hos, dat. ho plur. hos, gen. ho, dat. hom. Later were formed gen.  hoges, dat. hoge, plur. hoas, hogas &c.

An alternative etymology by Margaret Gelling

hangra OE ‘sloping wood’. This term is well evidenced in the boundary surveys of charters but is not otherwise recorded in OE. It is usually translated ‘wood on a steep slope’, which is the sense in which hanger is recorded in the 18th century..

Sources

Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors. Paul M Brown & Graeme Chappell. 2005

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names. Eilert Ekwall. 1959

Place-Names in the Landscape. Margaret Gelling. 1984

Brotton – Howe Hill

William Hornsby and Richard Stanton excavated a large mound on Kilton Lane known as Howe Hill. The lane runs through the east side of the mound and Hornsby records that material had previously been removed from the summit of the mound to facilitate ploughing. Brotton barrows cupstonesThe pair discovered a couple of graves, one of which contained unburned bones and the remains of a hollowed-out tree trunk. A number of cup marked cobbles and a large cup and ring marked stone were also found. It is not unusual to find cup marked stones in coastal barrows, however prehistoric log burials are quite rare, only about 60 have been recorded in the UK.

Source: The Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. XXIV. 1918

Piercebridge Barrow alignment

A while ago I came across a reference to a couple of Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age barrows on the southern bank of the Tees close to Piercebridge. Lowland barrows are rare in the Tees valley so I was keen to find out more about this pair. On further investigation I noticed that there were three barrows, one north of the river and two south. Looking on the map I noticed that the three barrows formed an alignment that crossed the Tees at the point where the Romans had built a bridge. Projecting the alignment south leads to the Iron Age Oppidium of Stanwick.

piercebridge-stripped

According to Ray Seton’s Astronomical Significance chart, the barrows are also roughly aligned to the rising sun at the summer solstice 2000 BCE.

p-bridge

This map shows that the ancient crossing point was still being used as a ford in the nineteenth century

I checked through all of the sources but could not find a reference to this barrow alignment, so on a misty morning my friend Martyn and I set out to give the place a looking at.

The two barrows on Betty Watson’s Hill and a cup marked cobble stone with two possibly three cups. In North Yorkshire there is a definite association between cup marked stones and prehistoric funerary monuments.

I suggest that the barrows were not actually aligned on the river crossing but were aligned on a trackway or road that crossed the river at this point. The trackway and crossing point, if regularly used, would probably have been quite visible. There is plenty of evidence in the archaeological record to demonstrate a relationship between prehistoric monuments and trackways.

The Tees at Piercebridge and the remains of the Roman bridge. The bridge is built on a gravel bed which is rich in flint pebbles. Perhaps in prehistory this place was not only significant as a river crossing point but also as a source of raw materials.

This part of the River Tees also had a special significance to the Romans. A substantial amount of votive offerings have been recovered from this small section of the river, leading to the suggestion that there was some form of shrine here during the Roman period. The barrow alignment may suggest that this part of the river also carried a spiritual significance to the people who populated this area long before the arrival of the Romans.