Neolithic Tribes In Derbyshire

 In archaeology, pensioners

My move to another pagan paradise, a new tribal area, is about to happen. Blame it on lockdown. Ann and I reconsidered where we should be for the next decade, assuming we survive, of course. The answer was in a National Park with lots or wide, open spaces. The Lake District and Snowdonia is too wet so our ideal had to be Derbyshire, the Peak District. This was Britain’s first national park, formed in 1951. As a mountain runner, I won my first fell race there in 1981, 10 miles over Kinder Scout. This was the actual route of the mass trespass. After we have moved, where does that leave me, the Neolithic nerd? Indeed, were there any Neolithic tribes in Derbyshire and is there a future for this blog?

The prognosis

During lockdown, the prognosis from Bournemouth Hospital on my leukaemia was good. I might have many years on ‘watch and wait’ before I need any medication. The trouble is, I then realised that I had fallen into the classic pensioner black hole. It’s the one whereby you roll over and see your life limited by illness. Consequently, you coddle yourself, convinced that a good local surgery and hospital is all you need to be able to sleep at nights. In fact, I actually made that comment to Ann some years ago. However, I can still be active albeit as a shadow of my younger days. For certain, even in our 30’s, Ann and I used to suffer tired, aching bodies.

The stone barn

We have rented a Peak District stone barn in an upland village at 1000 feet, as in the photo. It has underfloor heating, which always reminds me of bovines. In the 1970’s, I once slept in the rafters of a stone barn in Derbyshire, only a few miles from where we will live. The landlord of the adjacent pub suggested it was too late to go off to find a camp site. The underfloor heating was the steaming cows down below. It was a night of gaseous plopping in the dark and the cows were no better. Oh, and I forgot the scurrying rats. In my sleeping bag, on old hay, I slept like a baby. Was that due to the hay, the cows, the beer or the folk singing all evening?

Neolithic tribes in Derbyshire

My Neolithic tribes will, in fact, be close by. Well, at least what remains of them. The Peak District hills are alive with ancient tumuli and stone circles, liberally sprinkled over the ordnance survey map. Based on my previous experience, whether these stone circles can actually be found in the heather is another matter. A Roman Road whips over the nearby limestone plateau. These all suggest a vibrant early culture. Arbour Low is a short way off. It is Derbyshire’s answer to Stonehenge. After we married in 1971, we lived in the Peak District for almost two years. Before that, travelling from Shropshire, I climbed, walked and potholed in the area for at least 9 years. Ann and I dream of running the 10 mile route of my race success over Kinder, for one last time. The Peak District has always been our spiritual home.

PS The barn has no landline or internet at present so there may be no posts until January. Merry xmas and hang on in there!

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Living life as a British atheist