Drawing 104 Stone Circle, Moor Divock
Direction of view: W
Notes: This stone circle is named “The Cockpit” on the 1:25000 Ordnance Survey map. The location of AW’s exact viewpoint can be deduced from the very faint line in the background of the sketch, which is the slope of Arthur’s Pike. The only other appearance of this picture in Wainwright’s published works is on page 35 of Westmorland Heritage, where we see most of the same drawing, complete with ponies.
Comments: I took this picture on 21st May 2017, whilst on a “Wainwright Society Challenge” walk to Bonscale Pike. The picture was taken in the late afternoon, and I hoped for better conditions the next morning (after camping overnight at Aik Beck), but sadly it was cloudy then, with very flat light. Aik Beck is a lovely stream; the name refers to oak trees, but I have always associated it with rowans. In 2011 the Wainwright Society published a poem I wrote about it, which refers to “lonely autumn rowans crying in the wind / Leaves falling, and another year’s dying nearly done.”
Despite its “Cockpit” appellation, this seems to be generally accepted as a true Bronze Age stone circle. The first Ordnance Surveyors wrote that “it is supposed by some to have been a Cock Pit”, and it could have been used for cock fighting; its shape suggests that, though its lack of depth does not. Cockfighting was made illegal in 1835, though it continued on a clandestine basis long after that.
Wainwright comments that “nowadays the moor pastures an increasing population of fell ponies, emancipated from work in pits, and living a life of glorious freedom”. Perhaps the ponies are now gone together with the pits; I have never seen them here.