Albion, Don and Wen

The hare and the pass

Wynatt's pass 2

The day was hot and stuffy, the air hazy and the distance indistinct. The higher the car took us into the Peaks, the more the air became breathable. We were way too early for the meeting, but we no longer had far to go so we set off to explore some more… in the general direction of coffee… or perhaps a pub. It is thirsty work this exploring, and there are some beautiful old inns redolent with history, just waiting to be discovered. I swung the car up the hill.

“Take a left,” said my companion. Now, this is unusual. It is rare to get such decisive directions… and he had that little smile lurking that generally means he’s up to something. “We might get a coffee at the caves.” Caves? My ears pricked up… I love caverns… but a glance at the clock was enough to assure me there would be no time for that today. Nevertheless, as the landscape unfurled around us I was grinning, ear to ear, involuntarily squeaking with pleasure at the high ridges and peaks that give the district its name.

Wynatt's Pass1“Right here,” he said. I glanced across as I turned the wheel, he had that ‘just wait’ look… just a tad smug… definitely up to…. oooooh….
Fractured stone cliffs towered above us on either side as the car began the steep descent… why… how had I not known this was here???

The sign said Wynatt’s Pass… and it was just glorious.

I am a creature of hills and stone, and this, to me, was perfect.

…Except there was nowhere to stop and use the camera on the narrow road that snakes between the cliffs. There would have to be a return trip.

sheffield chesterfield hare 445We arrived at the car park at the end of the Pass in time to grab refreshments from the little shop by the cave as it closed, then wandered up to look at a place we would have no time to climb that day. A jackdaw perched on the fence, and others flew in as if to keep an eye on what we were up to this time. Looking the other way Lose Hill stood like a pyramid on the horizon, opening once more the ‘ubiquitous pointy stone’ debate and the valley held its own hills and tumuli that just cried out to be explored.

We wandered across a field towards another cavern and almost simultaneously saw the movement ahead. At first glance, you would have taken it for a fox because of its size and the way the light was catching its fur… a hare! Now apart from being shy creatures, seldom seen, they feature in many mythologies and folk tales and carry a huge amount of symbolism. I have written of that elsewhere, and told of the pendant I wear of the three hares who share three ears… symbol of both Three and One, so to see a hare was a real gift of the moment. Nor did we just glimpse it, but got to watch for a fair while as it crossed the field twice and posed for a portrait.

castleton 511

Two beaming faces watched in wonder, and the jackdaws watched us, indulgently it seemed. I have never watched a hare for so long or seen one so clearly… in fact, I’ve only ever glimpsed them a couple of times in the past. I think we both felt like kids at Christmas as we stood and enjoyed a gifted moment.

As the hare finally vanished we turned and retraced our steps to the car… some things are just magical.

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