On Thursday the sun was shining and once again, the Goblin didn’t have to go to work so we headed for Derbyshire and Stanton on the Moor to take photos. Say it outloud with a bad English accent (unless you are English in which care say it with a really bad Welsh accent), ‘Stanton on the Moor’. It sounds like one of those Gothic romance novels loosely based on Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Stanton on the Moor…it’s the top of a hill covered in heather except for the path, large clump of trees in the middle and the odd Torr. (tor or torr tör; noun a hill, a rocky height. Old English torr tor, from Latin turris tower, or perhaps from Celtic) Torrs are large standing rocks that were probably set up by prehistoric people who meant it to say something like, ‘We’re so strong and fit we could afford to risk our strongest young men all pulling muscles to lift this great big rock to a standing position…to let you know how strong and fit we are!’ Or maybe (because there are climbing holes in it and we can’t date the holes) maybe it was a way to see if unfriendly neighbors were coming to steal their sheep and women.
We know the hilltop was once a Celtic fort. Which makes sense as it would have been much easier to defend yourself from psychos trying to kill you coming up the hill. But lost in the mists of time it was probably a center of religious worship because the main attraction is The Nine Ladies, a prehistoric stone circle. The name is dramatic and brings to mind something equivalent to Stone Henge, but Stone Henge it is not!
The first time I saw it a few years ago, I came around the corner and stopped and thought…where is it? Most of the nine stones don’t even reach my kneecaps and I’m only 5ft 3″. That first viewing was very surreal. On one of the stones sat a left-over punkrocker hunched up looking cold and bored. It was sunny winter’s afternoon. He was with the protesters trying to stop a quarry being dug near by. This visit, I saw the quarry down the hill, but the punkrockers had moved on which meant I had a clear shot without extraneous people though someone left a stone egg on one of the stones. You can see it on the far right stone…it looks like a pimple. I went over to see what it was and knocked it off…because I’m that sort of person. I don’t like people leaving trash on national monuments. If you want to worship stone circles made by people we can’t even name, fine, but don’t leave them cluttered with modern rubbish. I picked up a crisp packet and took that with me. I left the stone egg on the ground.
The weather was glorious. It was sunny, but with a light cool breeze and during our little treck we had most of the hill top to ourselves. We passed several people, but they quickly disapeared, as if swallowed by the heather. It was the most relaxing quiet. At one point I could hear a small plane flying overhead, but it was like a mosquito and there was only the rare bird singing and the odd sheep braying in the distance. It was so peaceful. The only blight on the landscape was me in my screaming orange long sleeved shirt that clashed with surrounding colours. We parked near some cows in a field and the young calfs all stared at me…probably because I matched the orange painted feeder. They probably thought I was some sort of extra treat. They were cute cows.