Some places feel ancient, even before you set foot on them. This is one such place, Keighley moor in the South Pennines. I haven’t been here for many a year, and when Paul, a friend of mine suggested we go there for an explore I jumped at the chance.
We drove through the old Saxon village of Cowling (the name means ‘Coll’s people’ or tribe) and up onto the moors. Our destination was the Hitching Stone, a large boulder perched on top of the moors.
We parked the car and walked across the moors, the boulder was just visible in the far distance. Mackenzie, my 8 year old grandson came with us, he loves being outside and wanted to climb it.
We had arranged to meet Chris, a friend of ours, and while he and Paul went off looking for prehistoric rock art on the nearby stones, Mackenzie and I went to the Hitching Stone. I let Mackenzie take the lead, and he soon got us stuck in a bog. He was in his element, he loves getting muddy, but this time I literally had to pull him out. Then I fell in, and he had to help me out! Never let an 8yr. old lead you through a bog!
The stone is massive, and Paul and Chris told us some of the legends associated with it. There is a cut recess in the side of the stone, and this is known as the ‘Druids Chair’ – it is believed that initiates were sat in this whilst some ritual was performed. It is thought that Druidical Worship was performed on these moors in the far distant past.
At the top of the rock is a square bowl, about 8 feet by 4 feet and 3 feet deep, and full of water (unfortunately my knee replacement prohibited me from climbing up to this – so sorry, no photos).
Inside the stone is a strange tube, geologists think it is remaints of a fossilised tree trunk, but legend says it was created by an old Witch who lived on Rombalds moor several miles away.
The stone was in front of the Witches house and obscured her view, she tried all her magic to move the stone but all failed. Getting angry, she shoved her broomstick through the stone, and lifting it up she hurled it 10 miles across the moor to land here.
And looking across the moors, another tale of witches came to mind. We could see Pendle Hill about 15 miles away, home of the famous Pendle Witches – who were convicted and hung in 1612.
We wondered how many people who visit these stones know of the legends of the Druid Chair and the Witch of Rombalds moor – who threw this huge stone 10 miles because it was blocking her view. And what other legends there may be, lost in the mists of time…it is just a superb place and worthy of another visit – soon.