My anguished cries fell on deaf ears as I was bundled into the car. “You'll enjoy it when you get there” I was informed as we set off. And he reason for my torment? We were hoping to visit a small stone circle close to Bingley in West Yorkshire located on Harden MOOR. Yes a moor! I don't really get on with moors, indeed they of something of my nemesis. Cold, windswept places miles from anywhere, with their tuffty grass and la dee da sphagnum moss. Why didn't our ancient forebears build closer to the road? Why?
Nevertheless, I sought to make the best of the beautiful spring day as I was released from the boot of the car, taking solace from the idea of chilling with some ancient stones. We parked in a little lay-by in the middle of nowhere, where strangely there is a bus stop with the brilliant name of 'Cutthroat Bridge'. Head downhill to the gap in the trees and over the style. Walk on out of the trees and onto the moor. To your left the ground rises sharply creating a plateau on which the circle is located. Yes that's right not only do you have to slog along a moor but you have to go uphill to get there. I was not best pleased. Keep the huge rise to your left and press on until you see some large natural rocks protruding from the grass half-way up the now sheer face. The stones are to be found just behind these rocks on the summit.
Despite the masochistic effort required to reach the circle, once located it is rather lovely. The stones are not large by any measure, nor are they numerous. They are, however, beautifully proportioned and balanced in the landscape. A couple of the stones are slightly larger than the others and appear to mirror two peaks in the hills just across the valley. In addition, the remoteness of the site makes it a near certainty that you will have it to yourself, therefore the chillometer reads off the scale. It really is a splendid little circle with a most spectacular view.
I may have gone kicking and screaming but the stones themselves combined with that view and the beautifully chilled atmosphere made it all worthwhile. As for the moor... we are still not friends!