Pasta and petroglyphs

north 002“Ow, ooh, ouch… ow..”

“What’s up?” he asked, locking the door of the flat as I descended the steep stairs. I grinned through the pain… he’d know soon enough… the calf muscles had taken a hit from three days climbing hills. Which is why, we had decided, Sunday would be leisurely.

north 003The pub was shut; we had gone in search of a late breakfast and wifi and, finding neither, headed off to the park instead, where toasted teacakes and coffee would keep us going for a while. The housekeeping arrangements on these weekend visits are beautifully simple. Neither of us tend to eat huge amounts and are quite happy to go with the flow.

north 139We hadn’t planned on being out all that long, but by the time we had investigated the rest of the pubs in the area and found some wonderful pasta for a late lunch, my eyes were smarting and starting to swell. They do it at the most inconvenient moments, and for no reason I can put my finger on. Some kind of allergy I suppose, but I could happily live without looking as if I’d gone several rounds in a boxing ring. Between us we were not in the best of visible states; having caught the sun the day before one of us was rather pink and glowing, the other needing dark glasses.

north 007We decided to pay a visit to the wood-stone. On the Friday we had sought out some of the petroglyphs on Ilkley Moor and it felt right to wander back and look at the stone. You could see the similarities in the ancient carved stones, although the relief on the woodstone is far deeper than the petroglyphs on the moor. Was that erosion from the exposed site or had they been made that way? The latter, probably. Having seen them so close together in time, our theories seemed to be stronger than ever.

north 004The bluebells were out in the woods and the air full of their perfume. I love this time of year! Just a few weeks since our last visit and the wood has burst into life. Beech leaves throw a delicate canopy of golden green against the sky, distance melts away with the blue mist of flowers and even time seems to take a holiday. There is a peace in the little glade through the portal of trees that brings the perfect end to a sleepy afternoon.

north 167

Leisurely, though, seems to be a variable thing. We worked our socks off in the evening. As the experiences of the weekend shaped themselves, the cover for Doomsday was designed and agreed and rituals built for next year’s Silent Eye workshop. Not a bad evening’s work all told. Monday, my last day, we had plans… a further visit to a stone circle. There were ideas to put to the test…

north 018

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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10 Responses to Pasta and petroglyphs

  1. Noah Weiss says:

    That forest looks like a wonderful place to provoke thoughts!


  2. ksbeth says:

    i love the carvings )


  3. sknicholls says:

    Very interesting.


  4. Ilkley Moor is one of my old haunts Sue. I’ve spent many a happy day up there, hunting out ancient carvings. The Hangingstones carvings look like they’ve suffered from some poorly judged grafitti since I was last there.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      There is a lot of it up there, Andy… and the Swastika stone original carving very badly eroded these days… but still plenty to find. You know of the carvings in Eccleshall Woods in Sheffield?


      • I’ve always thought that the Swastika Stone is a bit different to the other prehistoric carvings. It looks finer, as if it was carved with a metal tool, rather than pecked with stone like the other carvings. It also lies close to the old Roman road that goes straight over the moor to the fort in Ilkley (possibly Olicana).

        The 2nd Cohort of the Lingones were startioned at Olicana. The Lingones were a tribe of Gaulish Celts that crossed the Alps into Valcomonica in Northern Italy around 400BC. The area is known for its rock art and the Swastika Stone bears a remarkable resemblance to the Camunian Rose motif, from Valcomonica! So it is plausible to imagine that it may have been carved by a Roman soldier stationed in Ilkley.

        The Woofa Bank enclosure is worth a visit when you are there next. A wonderful place to the east of Cow & Calf.

        I’m familiar with the Eccleshall Woods carving but haven’t visited them. Have you been to Gardom’s Edge?


        • Sue Vincent says:

          I know there is a good deal of debate around the age and carving of the Swastika stone, though the current swastika is, of course, the reproduced desgn and very little now remains visible of the original carving. Even knowing it so well it was practically impossible to discern on my last visit. I’m very familiar with the stones and history of the moor, having spent a lot of time up there over the years, even sharing Horlicks and Wagon Wheels with the sheep on the veranda of the old white house ccafe long ago.

          The Eccleshall carving is unusual. Few photographs do it justice ( and believe me, I have tried and tried to capture the three dimensionality of the design!) Well worth a visit.

          Gardom’s Edge I haven’t visited yet, however, though I pass by it every trip. It is on the ever growing list!


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