Regular readers to this blog may have noticed that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for rock carvings, and landscape mysteries in general.
This is one that has intrigued me for ages.
Driving on the lonely Broad Dubb road from Harrogate to Otley, it is easy to pass by without noticing a small clump of rocks in the distance. Nothing to see here…maybe a car parked in the layby, maybe a climber trying his luck.
If you do decide to stop and have a look, you won’t be disappointed. For this is Little Almscliffe Crag, and it has a history!
Folklore says it was a site of Druidical ritual, and later Beltane fire festivals were lit here. Like most of these folklore there is little proof, however there are a lot of very strange markings on the rock that may be a testament to something that has gone on in the past.
Apart from the obligatory Neolithic ‘cup and ring’ markings – one or two extremely feint ones, there are a lot of other strange markings too that I can’t make head or tail of. Of course you get modern day graffiti – people carving their initials etc,. but they aren’t particulary strange. No, I mean arrows, and bowls and scribbles and things that aren’t natural.
And the place has a ‘feel’ to it – especially if you drive by on an evening or when it gets dark. Maybe it is because it is next to some creepy looking woods (I hate woods ever since I was lost in some as a boy in Canada) – but these are creepy – and still.
One rumour I heard a long time ago what that Freemasons met here 200 years ago (they may as well have, seems like everyone else did) – and they carved a sun symbol on the rocks. Not too easy to find unless you know where to look – and it is a bit faded, but it is still visible.
It is also odd that it is miles from anywhere on a very lonely road. But it could be why it was chosen as it is a good place for secrets. Until the modern road was built I doubt if many people came along here in the dark. Few come this way now.
Little Almscliffe has a famous big brother 3 miles away, and that DOES have a history – which I will relate shortly.
Just standing all alone on these rocks you get the feeling they are hiding something – some secret that you aren’t supposed to know.
It is a very odd feeling indeed.