North…. and north-west

stu's carl wark standing cross castleton black shade pics 004

I’m just back… and now I’m off again. Only for the day, though, this time, running northwards after work, to meet friends from the US before they have to leave. Hopefully the day will go a little smoother than my last northward journey. It hadn’t started well…

stu's carl wark standing cross castleton black shade pics 008

Thursday, after work and later than expected, I still had to try and remedy the morning’s problems. A quick trip to the supermarket sorted the laundry disaster… I still have no idea what turned all my whites patchy yellow, but replacements were now an urgent necessity. Even if I was going northwards, where it was likely to be cooler…

stu's carl wark standing cross castleton black shade pics 028

I also messed about and waited, trying to get a headlight bulb changed. Only to find the darned thing had started working again… By this time, I was really running late. The phone call I had been waiting for all week came through on the motorway… no chance of taking it. No stopping en route for me this time, either….aside from a ten minute detour to check on the location of a reservoir and turn the car around again in the shadow of Carl Wark.

stu's carl wark standing cross castleton black shade pics 022

I did make it in time. Just. My companion, however, did not. His beer was getting warm by the time I managed to get a signal to double-check the message… That was about right. I’d got there for the right time…but the wrong pub. A quick dash through the back streets took me to the right one… and the waiting Stowford’s. This was much needed by this point; so far the day had been fuelled by one cup of coffee 11 hours earlier and a bottle of lukewarm water. A relaxed evening of creative work and conversation stretched ahead though… and I rather needed that too. Especially as the phone was going to be disobliging all weekend and I had misplaced the laptop power lead, which ended up being rather frustrating, as well as leaving me short of a means of communication.

stu's carl wark standing cross castleton black shade pics 011

Friday dawned, overcast but bright. We worked a little, over coffee and breakfast, before heading off to the monthly meeting. Being a little early, we wandered up to the Barrel Inn for coffee and fresh air. The view from here is spectacular, looking down over the valley and the village of Great Hucklow where we hold our annual workshop weekend every April. It has become a bit of a tradition to greet the landscape from this point, and from here we can see much of our ‘playground’.


It was soon time to meet for lunch though, so it was back to the Queen Anne where we found the Stowford’s and Guinness already waiting… then we got down to business. A little while later we headed off to Castleton, halfway between our meeting point and the evening’s symposium. There would be tea in the pub. And scones… But first we had a job to do. We needed pictures… very specific pictures….

stu's carl wark standing cross castleton black shade pics 326

I will draw a discrete veil over the next half hour or so. Oh, you want to know what we were up to? Top secret, I’m afraid… Suffice it to say that it may have something to do with the Black Shade of Beeley… and anyone peering interestedly behind the church would have found themselves on what looked like the set of an action movie… or a comedy. I am fairly sure that Oscars should have been awarded. I am also afraid we may have laughed a little too much, if such a thing is ever possible. “That was like being seven years old again…”which summed it up perfectly.

carl wark

There was just time to show one of our party, on her first visit to the town, around the lovely old church before tea, then we were off again, climbing through Wynatt’s Pass towards Stockport and our meeting. The evening passed beautifully and there was still a little light when we finally left. A road closure blocked our return so we followed the diversion, seeing the dark bulk of Carl Wark against the horizon once again… possibly the best view we have had of the enigmatic ancient site. “We are going to have to go there are some point…” We have said that over and over, but so far, we haven’t done it. And this weekend, we had work to do, both on the books, and for the workshops…

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:
This entry was posted in Ancient sites, Churches, England, Humour, Landscape, Photography, The Silent Eye, workshop 2016 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to North…. and north-west

  1. Ali Isaac says:

    I am intrigued! And what a wonderful picture of the coppery moor against a stormy sky! It’s a very flat top, made by ancient man I guess…


  2. olganm says:

    Very intriguing. I’m determined to make it one of these days. Just need to be much better organised…


  3. Noah Weiss says:

    The photos seemed quite incongruous with the story: the nature photos seemed so carefree, but the prose seemed frazzled. I like the duality!


  4. When we travel, which is a lot less often than it used to be, I actually have to pack a separate suitcase for chargers, extra batteries, and miscellaneous small devices. For o. ur more serious travels coming up in January, I bought a big, roll-on camera and gadget bag. Padded, of course, because between him and me … well … what did we do before all of this? When we didn’t have phones that went with us and we had to rely on phones found along the way? Or smoke signals? When everyone didn’t have email — even if YOU did. I don’t even remember.

    Glad you had fun. Giggling is a good sign.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      I often think back… there was a lot to be said for being completely unavailable sometimes 🙂 I’m usually pretty good with chargers and hotels, but I have a feeling this one must still be in Marlborough…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.