We’d done well so far. We deserve some credit for that. For once we hadn’t deviated from our original, if somewhat vague plans. It was never going to last. Like all good stories, we’d decided on a beginning a middle and an end that was pretty much inevitable. The rest was open to inspiration.
By the first Lancaster exit, we’d had about enough of motorways and decided to leave them behind. There was a place on the coast I had explored one day a year or two ago and as we were, by this point, beginning to get the message that it was all about the stones this trip, we turned off towards the sea.
We’d been to Lancaster before, though both times had been pretty much accidental really and on both occasions we had ignored a perfectly good, thousand-year-old castle and impressive cathedral. We hadn’t had the call to go there this time, and the first time was right at the very start of our adventures, before we even realised we were about to embark upon them. We didn’t stop, just followed the signposts that led towards Heysham.
We wandered through the Barrows, an interesting landscape that was once a garden, yet which has known the touch of human hands very much further to judge by the archaeology and the things found there, with traces of habitation going back some twelve thousand years. Everywhere there were birds… robins, blackbirds and thrushes among the spears of daffodils and the first snowdrops were a promise of spring.
The sheltered enclosure seems a different world when you step through the gate in the wall onto the only sea-cliffs in Lancashire, looking out across the bay to where the snowy hills of the Lake District became visible as the mist receded… which was where we were heading next. Pretty as it looked, snow was not what we were hoping for on the roads.
We didn’t know about the pre-Roman labyrinth cut into the rocks of the cliffs. We seldom research our trips in detail before we go, preferring to see what unfolds for ourselves. We can always go back if we find we have missed something exciting. You never get the full story of a place in a single visit and doggedly chasing facts takes something away from the natural relationship with a place. We go where something catches our attention and the feeling ‘we need to go there’ sets in.
The dog got a look in here too. The Black Beast may have remained at home with her friends, but it seems she had sent her messengers to keep an eye on us as everywhere we went, from church to clifftop through our whole trip there were Ani-kin.. black dogs keeping an eye on us, wherever we went. Between them and the birds, we were royally accompanied, it seemed, by creatures that wander through the myths and legends of our land.