• Horse, water, stone

In three weeks’ time I’m leading a section of my neighbouring parish’s ‘Beating the Bounds’ ceremony, only 36 years since the last one.  My bit takes us over the moor, down into the marshes and up and over the other side, some eight to nine miles in all.  So I’ve been scurrying through the undergrowth, wielding my compass, and donning my wading boots in search of the best route, sticking to the line of the boundary rocks and boundary stones wherever possible. Yesterday was the final reconnaissance.

First stop: a pregnant white mare near one of the taller stones:

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Second stop: the Witheybrook, mellifluous in tone as ever:

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Third stop: a boundary stone that’s virtually inaccessible.  Getting to it was a matter of jumping streams and leaping from tussock to tussock over marshland.  This stone was eventually found hidden under a thicket of trees, covered in moss.  It has three faces, as it stands at the junction of three parishes.  Hence the three letters carved in it: N for North Hill, A for Altarnun and C for St Cleer.

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Job done, it was time to retrace our steps back to the Witheybrook.

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• Mill and Boundary Stones

In a couple of months’ time I’m leading the final section of the beating of the boundary of North Hill parish.  It’s the longest section at around 9 miles, and starts at the crossroad at Blackcoombe over to Clitters.  It’s all across the south-eastern part of Bodmin Moor, involving the crossing of streams, an abandoned railway track and marshy areas.  The route is marked by boundary stones, most of which are marked on the OS map.  Some are easy to spot, like the vertical granite posts.  Some are existing rocks on which the inscriptions have been carved.  So today it was a case of scouting the first few BSs.

En route up Shales Brook south of the track to Bearah Quarry, we found a couple of abandoned mill stones, one of which looked perfectly fine but the stonemason must have realised that it was flawed in some respect.

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A little further up the slope, you could easily pass this boulder without spotting the inscription, especially if the light was dull.  (And I did clear away a bit of moss to expose it all.)

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This is clearer: boundary rock ’12’, ‘RIL’ [= Rillaton Manor], ‘1846’.

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No.’11’, ‘RIL’ ‘1846’ is carved on the largest slab of granite at the eastern end of Bearah Tor, from where you follow the toothed line of small granite stones to the east and by the modern stock-fence you will find an upright carved stone: ’10’, ‘RIL’, ‘1846’.IMG_3121 copy

If you then follow the eye towards the leaning cheesewring on Kilmar Tor to the north, you will see the old quarry railway embankment.  Just the other side of it is another upright boundary stone: ‘9’, ‘RIL’, ‘1846’.

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