• 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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