Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Wishing Trees and Megger Stones

A quandary with today’s photo, taken yesterday because I’m still a day behind. A walk from Dent village in the “hidden valley” of Dentdale up the looming Great Coum.

Take your pick: a manmade feature with no history I could find, or a natural attraction draped in a legend supposedly centuries old.

I’ll include both.

On the steep climb out of Dent up Flinter Gill, you pass the “Wishing Tree.” Sometime the earth bank on which it stood got washed away, revealing the oak’s roots, crafting a nifty arch. They say, pass around it three times clockwise, or “deiseal,” make a wish, and voila, the guardian tree spirit will grant it for you. But, if you go anti-clockwise, or “widdershins,” brace yourself for a truckload of bad luck. Yet, some reckon anti-clockwise is the ticket to good luck. So, yer pays yer money …

Local tourist information hypes up the legend as centuries old, but I reckon that tree must have been well established before the bank collapsed. What was the guardian tree spirit up to before that, I wonder?

Megger Stones

With Great Coum bagged, we descended to the Megger Stones. Balanced on a broad ledge, a cluster of a dozen or so cairns, each a testament to its own cairn craftsmanship level. The builder of the inaugural cairn remains a mystery, lost in the mists of time. Nevertheless, others, captivated by the rite, keep constructing new cairns with surprising regularity. Hence my hesitation on the exact count. Can a heap of half a dozen stones qualify as a cairn?



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