We parked in the layby at the junction of the A61 and the tiny road from Wike village. A place occasionally frequented by car thieves so lock up your valuables if you leave your vehicle there!
A dash across the dicey A61 (it's a game of 'Chicken' crossing the road here, trying to find a gap in the speeding traffic), and we entered through an ornate gateway into the Harewood estate…
A grand tranquil vista of rolling parkland, designed by the great Capability Brown, spread out before us! We followed the well-trod bridleway through rolling meadows and eventually found ourselves in a wider expanse of pasture that stretched southwards. Evergreen woodland surrounded the fields and in the distance, near the edge of the conifer plantations, we spied the stone.
The rock itself is unmissable, standing alone in a north facing field, bounded by woodland.
The rock art expert Graeme Chappell tells us that if you stood here sometime around 1800 BC, you could watch the midwinter full moon set behind Almscliffe Crag at the major lunar standstill!
Whilst taking photographs I noticed several huge birds circling above us – the Red Kites! The Harewood estate is home to several breeding pairs. Massive things they were, soaring across the sky like pterodactyls!
A spell or an offering of some sort?
Feeling that it would be an invasion of someones privacy to take them down or read the scroll, I left the objects alone to do their thing…
After taking in the peaceful panorama for a while we headed back to the car. Halfway along the bridleway I turned back for a last look at the stone. A monster 4x4 shot out from the wood at the bottom of the slope and burned it's way up the hill. It came to a stop by the rock. Probably the estate security staff?
Maybe they thought we were the vandals that had scrawled the mindless graffiti that we'd seen on parts of the stone. Or the people that had left the 'spells' in the tree? Or poachers, after the Red Kites? We decided not to hang around to find out...