Invisible hills

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By the time we reached the Old Nag’s Head in Edale we were glad of the fire and warmth. The road to the village is a steep descent from the hilltops into the valley at the best of times. As we had headed away from Chapel en le Frith, the clouds had snuggled themselves around the hill, visibility was appalling and the light completely blotted out. The roads were icy, still wearing treacherous patches of compacted snow…the weather in the Pennines is notoriously changeable and the move from one side of a hill to another can transport you from summer to winter in a trice.

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On one side of the summit there were only the faintest traces of white, on the other, north facing side, the snow clung stubbornly to the slopes… no loner thick, but still making its presence felt. We took the long, winding descent carefully and yet, when we arrived outside the pub, we did so in heavy rain.

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The roads were running with impromptu streams, feeding into the river below… a gentle stream perhaps most of the year, but now a churning and muddied torrent. Even so, once warmed, we walked back to the church that sits within a crown of hills.

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The church itself is unremarkable except for its name, the church of the Holy & Undivided Trinity. The proportions of the building are pleasing, and its setting beautiful at any time of year, but it replaced the older places of worship in the late 19thC and, other than the stained glass, holds little of architectural interest.

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Much of the stained glass is by Ninian Comper, a Scottish-orn Gothic Revival architect and designer. We have come across his work very often, right from the start of our adventures, when the ‘floating head’ above an altar in the Lady Chapel of the church in Little Kimble had caught our attention…and fuelled our speculations about its symbolic meaning.

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Here too there were symbols that caught our eye, and the triumvirate of fish were to crop up several times over the next couple of days in places both sacred and mundane… and when such things begin to recur, we take notice.

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Sometimes it can be as simple as the gesture of a hand or the turn of a head, but we are constantly reminded that there is a language in both symbol and imagery that we may not know, may have forgotten… but which still speaks to us and asks its questions, to which we may choose to seek an answer in understanding. Perhaps it doesn’t matter whether we get the answer right or wrong, perhaps it is the awareness that prompts the questioning that counts more than anything else. january hol 2016 059

It had been an interesting day, and it was far from over. We still had a long way to go and would have an even longer drive back to Sheffield much later that night, over the tops of the moors. The roads out of Edale were steep, foggy and unlit, so we judged it time to head towards the venue for our evening meeting…especially as it was approaching teatime and the Ram’s Head is on the way… and they serve fudge with their pots of tea….

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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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46 Responses to Invisible hills

  1. New England and Old England have much in common. I suppose I should not be surprised.


  2. BunKaryudo says:

    The stained-glass windows are interesting, but I’m not sure if I could be persuaded to leave the Old Nagโ€™s Head to see them. It looks like exactly the kind of weather that makes a warm fire and a beer irresistibly attractive. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. davidprosser says:

    I can remember trips to Edale from Tiviot Dale Station in Stockport during the 60’s. The wonderful steam train pulling carriages with individual compartments- no corridors. And Edale itself where we took our picnics was glorious and a sight for sore eyes for us Townies.
    Alas the station no longer exists and the trains are now diesel so that memories couldn’t be relived except in my imagination.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx


  4. Helen Jones says:

    Those recurring symbols are a message, aren’t they? So interesting when the same thing occurs several times within a short period. Wonder where it will lead you next…


  5. I do love that triple twist of salmon…beautiful symbolism Sue


  6. adeleulnais says:

    Have you ever been to Rossyln Chapel in Scotland. The symbolism is rich and is mentioned in many grail and Arthur books.


  7. So many great adventures you share, Sue. Love the stained glass…just beautiful. โค๏ธ


  8. Running Elk says:

    Hang on, hang on… you can’t just reveal the Triquetra set on fire without giving proper context! (Though sexualising her, thus, is indeed of interest enough in a backwater parish! lol)
    And don’t just be tantalising with the bigger picture, either…. them fish aint right, I tell ya!!.Too deliberately arranged “off” for one thing…
    What I meant to say was, “My dear. In which window do these beautifully rendered, charming little fishes reside? Oh, and, perchance, is that the drapes of a known, enrob-ed figure, or just some random cur-tain?”
    Thank you. ๐Ÿ˜€


    • Sue Vincent says:

      Good, innit?
      I rather thought you might like it… it sort of stood out.
      I could send you the whole window…as an email, you understand… but as you don’t seem to be getting any of them… like the blue-misted tree… or the workshop query… or the anomaly in the stones… ;D


      • Running Elk says:

        Oh, bugger…
        Never, I mean NEVER, install anti-malware… always better to look after these things yourself… lol Your little resident buggy thing that randomly sends out the odd missive to click on a dodgy link with no explanatory words has got you added to the black list… Sorry. I should have checked who / what it added when it was installed. :/ You are now officially whitelisted… forever… ๐Ÿ˜€
        Couldn’t forward the bunch I’ve missed, pretty please…? :p
        And I’m happy to wait for the whole window if you wanted to pop it in the post… ๐Ÿ˜‰ xx


  9. macjam47 says:

    Wonderful photos. You make me want to pack my suitcase and come explore.


  10. Eliza Waters says:

    The stained glass is so beautiful, the blue and red are so rich.
    Were there loaves to go with the fishes?


  11. Widdershins says:

    The outside shot of the church looked very Hobbiton-ish. ๐Ÿ™‚


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