We were out long before dawn, driving the few miles to our rendezvous at Fox House, where we would meet our companions. With Sheffield behind us, we saw the sun rise above the distant horizon and watched its soft gold suffuse the sky of the city below as the car climbed the road to the moor. We were taking our little company to a high place to watch the dawn… yet we had already seen the sun rise in splendour.
Gathering our companions and blessing the fact that they had all risen so early to share the birth of a new day with us, we headed out to Higger Tor, the highest point in the area and an intriguing place in its own right. The views from there are spectacular…and have the added advantage of being only a few minutes walk from the narrow road that winds its way across the moor.
Our timing was perfect. We reached the top with just a few moments to catch our breath before gathered to greet the sun, with a chant that echoed back across millennia to ancient Egypt. The sun’s timing was prefect too, but then, it always it… it is we who rise too late. Climbing above the hills beneath which the city sleeps, the solar disc crested the horizon as the final chants rang out and bathed the world in gold.
The photographer at the other end of the plateau must have wondered what on earth was going on…or maybe he, who rises early to catch the first rays of the golden hour, understood. We did get the impression that our presence was less than welcome…and we can understand that too; these early morning moments are special and seem, somehow, very personal. It is as if, standing face to face with the sun, the world falls away and you come face to face with great Nature… and the Source of that great outpouring of life that stands behind her. True awe is not something we feel in our workaday lives as a rule, yet the miracle of a perfect sunrise reminds you of more than beauty.
Deep shadows and gilded mist make these first moments of the day magical. We wandered across the top of the plateau, looking out over the valley below and far across to the distant peaks, each with their own stories and legends to tell. You are around 1500 feet above sea level here and birds fly beneath you, skimming the early mist as seagulls skim the sea.
The mysterious shape of Carl Wark was wreathed in swirling shapes, shifting and changing as if the spirits of the place had taken the morning mists to clothe their essence and make it visible, just for a moment, as the mistwraiths danced. From here the scale of the immense wall built across the hillfort thousands of years ago is made clear and the relationship between the two sites is both evident and full of unanswered questions.
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