Thursday, 3rd September, At the Stones

12:46pm. I’ve been to the stones today. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to the stones this year, more than I have any other year and each one different to the rest, no two visits the same. The stones I refer to are Alcomden Stones a little known collection of rocks of varying shapes and sizes perched high on the moors above Haworth. There are two trails to the stones, one from Top Withens and the other from Ponden Kirk, both trails link up to create a loop and it was this loop that I took this morning.

I woke around 4:30am and knew that I had to go to the stones today. It’s a feeling I get deep inside me, a yearning, a desire to go to the stones. It starts small much like an embryo and if I don’t heed it, it builds and builds until it takes over my life and I can’t do anything until I go to the stones and satisfy the urge. I’ve learnt to know the signs now that I need to go to the stones and I act before it gets too much for me, satisfying my thirst before I drown in a pool of unquenchable desire.

I had breakfast and changed into my running gear and set off for Stanbury. Another purpose for my run today was to assess what shape my legs were in after some tough runs over the bank holiday weekend. My left foot was aching and both my calves felt tight and with the possibility of another tough run at the weekend I wanted to assess how capable I was of attempting the run.

I parked just below Bully Trees Farm near Stanbury and watched the raindrops dancing in the puddles for a while. This is a new route for me and a shorter one than my usual routes but no less satisfying for being shorter. The advantage of it being shorter is that I can do it in less time and if like today my legs are feeling tired I can still get to the stones without worrying about the distance and the possibility of doing further damage to them.

The dance show over I got out of my car and was almost blown away. The wind had not had chance to die down from it’s nighttime shenanigans and tried its best to take my top off to no avail. I put my waterproof on just incase the rain decided to come down once again and set off up the Pennine Way towards Top Withens. The trail was already drying out save for some puddles,  and I had a pleasant run to Top Withens. I kept a decent but controlled pace, I saw no reason to overdo it today and soon the familiar outline of Top Withens came into view.

The wind was still strong at this point and I thought how this signaled, for me, the end of summer and days spent lying on grass staring at the sky and the reality of getting back to work and earning a living. No more lying in the sun, getting a tan and dreaming of winning the lottery. I also thought of the Bronte sisters and especially Emily as I frequently do when running these moors and how this might have inspired Emily to write about ‘wild and windy’ moors as she pitted her small, frail body against the might of the wind blowing over the moors threatening to scoop up Emily with one gush and take her far away from Haworth never to be seen again by anyone. At Top Withens I stopped to look around at the land inbetween the colours of summer and the bleakness of autumn. I took some photos of my surroundings.

I carried on up the short, steep trail that takes you to the top of Stanbury Moor where it flattens out. I carried on the trail passing the trig point and taking the trail to my left that takes me to the stones. The trail was wet and muddy, unsurprising after the previous days run, but this did not stop me enjoying my run as I slipped, slopped across the top of the moor.

Soon enough I was at the stones and no matter how many times I visit them I never get bored of them. To some they are just another rocky outcrop piercing through the bleakness of the moors. To others like myself they have a certain presence, a certain magic to them that keeps you coming back to them time and time again, each visit a unique experience. Today was the same, a unique experience as the winds whipped over the top of the moor, trying their best to uproot the stones and plant them somewhere else. At the stones I stopped and took out my new set of chakra stones and wand and placed them under the large stone I am always drawn to. This stone reminds me of a face looking down over Ponden Reservoir and beyond, observing everything, taking it all in and keeping it safe for eternity. My friend Claire gave me a painting of this very stone and I feel that a part of it is with me all the time now, watching me and keeping me safe.

I placed my stones underneath this one in a pattern that felt right and left them there to ‘ground’ with the earth as I took some photos. The stones were dark and brooding today, Boulsworth Hill hidden by mist, the Three Peaks not visible today, adding to the allure of the stones and the moors. Sun shone on Lower Gorple Reservoir to the west and Ponden Reservoir to the east but not on the stones. Not today.

The wind was not calming down and I was aware of the drop in temperature and the very real threat of hypothermia. I collected my stones, put them back in my pack and set off down Blue Scar Clough and Middle Moor Clough, past the grouse butts towards Ponden Kirk. This part of the moor is rarely dry and today it was thick with mud and puddles of cold water. The coldness of the water brought me back to life and I felt in tune with nature once again as the water penetrated my skin, entering my body and soul. Again I took it steady down here and enjoyed the experience of being at one with nature, not wanting it to end and making it last as long as I could.

I stopped below the stones to take one last photo of them before heading to the crossroads just below Ponden Kirk and stopping here to take some photos of Ponden Reservoir before going right across Birch Brink and then right past the Master Stones.

I ran over Birch Brink and past the Master Stones onto the Pennine Way and back to my car. I had really enjoyed this run, short but perfect, a nice route to the stones when time is legs felt better for the run so I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for a long run at the weekend. I finished the run off with some more photos.

On the way home I popped into the as I had an urge to go there even though I didn’t need anything. Home, shower and something to eat. I’m still waiting for an email from my supervisors about a meeting but with it being clearing they are both very busy so I understand why they haven’t emailed me and I’m not concerned by it. I’m going to do some uni work and try and have a look at the next short story about my life. I’ve written a lot already, I just need to break it down into chunks I can manage and don’t overwhelm me and see where I am with it all.

3:58pm. I’ve contacted a hiking / walking website about the possibility of working with them and taking my work to a new and wider audience. You don’t know unless you try.

7:10pm. I’ve joined an online poetry group run by one of my poet friends and written three poems. Nothing special but I’m pleased I’ve written something, it’s good to get my creative side going. Claire is knackered, stressed and has had a poor run home. I know she’ll get through this and be ok but I also know that when you’re in that moment it can be difficult having to dig deep and be strong. It takes a lot out of you but if anyone can do it Claire can. She has shown me how strong I am and I’m here for her if she needs me. I worry because I care.

8:31pm. Went for a walk to feel the last of the suns rays on my skin. I love the sun. it’s been a good day and I’m hoping for a good nights sleep. Tomorrow I can get up when I want but I’ll still be up early cause I’m used to it now. I don’t care. I just want to enjoy life and the opportunities I have.

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