They say patience is a virtue but if so it’s one, among many others, I happen to lack. The last few weeks when my domain name has been bandied around in attempts to restore it have led to much exploration of the alleged language of the Anglo-Saxons.
In the meantime I went back up to have another look at Handale Priory. This time it was with the admirable charity Sustrans. We walked the 6 km from the cliff top village of Loftus, scrambling our way uphill alongside the beck that flows out of the dale. We were privileged to be guided by Marshal along the ancient monks’ trod that links one side of the North Yorkshire moors to the other. You might know similar ancient paved pathways as pannnier ways. Said to be pre-Roman they are so skilfully made that they have lasted until today and criss-cross all counties in England. Their presence brings a strong sense of the people who used them through the centuries when they would lead up to sixty or so pack horses in single file across immense distances in order to fetch provisions from one place to another. We were told that because there is only room for single file when a leader reached the top of a steep incline he’d have to give a piercing call down the path to warn anyone below that he was bringing his horses down. I imagine the route we walked on that good day was the path Hildegard would have walked in the story The Dragon of Handale when she has to smuggle the abducted girl, Alys, from the priory where she was imprisoned to a place of safety at Ulf’s Langbarugh manor on the coast road.
Again, sad to say, there was no sighting of the dragon.