Picking up the breadcrumb trail…

Wandering the backroads that meander through the hills between Staffordshire and Derbyshire was something I had been promising myself for a while. The map is the last thing on my mind… I just point the car in a generally northerly direction and let the roads take me where they will.

In this way, I get all the joy of discovery, even though there are occasions when I find things that lead to a gnawing frustration… because I invariably find them when there is not the time to explore. Especially when I am looking for places to pull over on the narrow roads to take in a particularly fine view.

I did have enough time for a couple of village churches before I was due at my destination, but the looming presence of Thor’s Cave would have to wait for another day. It is somewhere I have long wanted to visit, but, what with one thing and another, I had yet to see it. I was vaguely aware that it was somewhere in the Manifold Valley, but I didn’t even know that was where I was until I turned a corner and a saw it just hanging there, right in front of me.

I had only seen pictures until that moment and the sheer presence of the place does not come across in a photograph. Stopping was impossible on that narrow stretch above the drop into the valley below, so I continued driving, hoping I would find afield gate to pull into to capture at least some kind of shot.

The countryside is wearing its summer gown. The lowering clouds and recent rain made every colour ultra-vivid as I tried to find a parking spot. At the bottom of the hill, I gave up. There was somewhere to park… but there were more midges over the river than I fancied risking.

Turning the car, I headed back up the hill towards Wetton, where I had seen a church that needed to be looked at…and I found a place to briefly stop. The cave mouth is huge, over thirty feet high, and I knew that over ten thousand years ago our ancestors had seen it as a special place. Tools and burials have been found in the caves and … we were going to have to come back.

It was one of those days…the ones where tantalising glimpses are given that will need further research and exploration… the first breadcrumbs on the trail of our newly re-opened quest. Far vistas, ancient church towers, hillforts, mounds and caves, all glimpsed in solitude from the car.

It is a curious thing, part of the alchemy of how we work, that although we may both have these ‘placeholder moments’, it is not until Stuart and I visit the sites together that their full import makes itself known. My meanderings are little more than an advance scouting of the area that throw up just enough interest to tempt us back.

Thor’s cave has been flitting in and out of our adventures for a couple of years now, but we had yet to venture close enough to get a glimpse. The old Roman Road that runs beside Arbor Low had, thus far, been our unconscious boundary.

As I drove, the places and sites we already knew began to fit into a greater landscape as the roads ‘joined the dots’ in knowledge, expanding the area of awareness. The subsequent research and those odd coincidences that make you sit up and take notice would throw up several more sites with which we already seemed to have a tenuous connection.

It felt as if a clean wind had blown open a musty room and let the fresh air and sunlight back in. Without warning, we seemed to be back on track…though where that track may lead us, is anyone’s guess. Wherever it goes, it will be an adventure….

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 scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
This entry was posted in adventure, albion, alchemy, Ancient sites, Books, Churches, Don and Wen, Landscape, mystery, Photography, Stuart France and Sue Vincent and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Picking up the breadcrumb trail…

  1. Great photos Sue! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I breathed in deeply your experience of your walk dear Sue.. Such wonderful views of my kind of joy of walking those green hills in the countryside..
    Sending you Love.


  3. Oh I want to explore Thor’s cave!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    So beautiful Sue, thank you for taking us with you on this journey!! 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Running Elk says:

    “I had only seen pictures until that moment and the sheer presence of the place does not come across in a photograph”
    Um… you COMPLETELY underestimate the sheer MIND-BLOWING-ness, encapsulated in your images, for those of us who had never heard of this place. From the VERY FIRST my jaw was scrabbling for dust bunnies… *stunned… (But in a ❤ way… ) xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG that countryside!! SO GREEN!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    I don’t think there is any place prettier than England in the spring! Lush landscapes dotted with new lambs. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Widdershins says:

    Wow … going to have to look that one up on google maps. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. dgkaye says:

    Such lush and beautiful green countryside Sue. You are blessed to have access to such stunning scenery.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Adele Marie says:

    What an amazing place Thor’s cave looks. I must find out more about it. You said the pic does not do it justice but staring at it, it felt as if it was beckoning me in. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. macjam47 says:

    What beautiful countryside, Sue! The green is absolutely stunning. It’s like a rebirth of the earth.
    Now, for the really, really important stuff..Thor’s Cave. You will, of course, go back soon and explore. I am waiting for pictures and descriptions. What an amazing presence it has on that hillside!


    • Sue Vincent says:

      The land is at its best this time of year. At least, until the heather comes out. Or the bluebells… 😀

      I hope to go back fairly soon, Mickhelle. It seems there are a few people wanting to see a bit more of this one. Me amongst them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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