A bitterly cold morning, clumst as they say in the North East, the heather white with hoar frost crystals and the sun straining to break through the low lying cloud. Hoar is an Old English word meaning showing signs of old age but the moors are magic on these mornings, eerily quit, paths and bogs solid to run over.
The stone is on the Ernaldsti, the ancient track south across the moors from Guisborough to Westerdale and it’s likely to be a guide stone rather than a boundary stone. But that’s just my feeling. Behind is Kempswithin Fields, a reference perhaps to the 18th century agricultural experiment to improve the moor to grow corn, wheat and barley, rising to Pike Howe at 294m asl.
Obvious on the stone is a bench mark cut by the Ordnance Survey to record the height above Ordnance Datum. Although no longer maintained the Ordnance Survey have published their complete listing of half a million bench marks which tells me this one was cut in 1953, is at NZ64750820 and is precisely 283.019m above sea level. Unless of course it’s slowly sinking into the peat under its own weight.