A herd of deer were outlined against the far horizon as we followed the path, leading our companions across the moor to where it joins the track that runs above Bar Brook. The stream gathers the peat-stained water from the moor; feeding the old reservoir, its course divides the ancient lands of the living from the realm of the ancestral dead. The original track upon which we now walked might be from any age, but the wheel ruts and gravel speak of the modern vehicles that have used it and suddenly you feel as if you have been taken out of the story you were living and can now only observe.
As we walked past the old bridge that crosses the stream, there is a choice of ways. There are many crossing points, but this one seems odd as there is no visible path leading to or from it. A bridge whose only purpose seems to be to allow you to choose. Beyond the stream once stood the homes and hearths of the clan. On this side the path leads to a place of magic and mystery… and it was this path we had chosen to walk.
To the left the land slopes up to where the cairns sleep beneath the bracken. A few trees take advantage of the meagre shelter offered by the little valley and beneath them the bright caps of toadstools add to the unreality of the place. We walk on towards Deadshaw Sick, a stretch of marshy ground that leads to a little waterfall where the rowans grow. We gather again at one of the Companion Stones… modern sculptures inscribed with poetry. This one has the image of a recumbent man in outline, asleep or dead, who knows? Around the stone is a poem, half hidden by the grass and deliberately mis-spelled to engage attention.
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