Ramsdale standing stones - oil sketch on canvas 25cm x 20cm
An evening ramble on Fylingdales Moor; paths and tracks peter out, and the ground is boggy underfoot. We see a fox skulking around a farmyard, un-noticed by the geese he's eyeing up for food, while a barn owl glides ghost-like in the fading light. It's almost ten o'clock, still light enough to read the OS map, and to realise that we're not where we thought we were. We're looking for standing stones and they should be round here somewhere. Finally we catch sight of them, on top of an area of raised ground, only a couple of minutes walk away at most. Ten minutes later, we're still walking, and when we finally reach them we find the monument isn't very large; the stones themselves are only about a metre in height. It's not so much a stone circle, more of a stone scalene triangle, but the location is impressive, with a view eastwards towards Robin Hood's Bay. I face west, take some photographs, and start sketching. My wife walks over to the stone nearest the sunset, then calls me over. Look at this. Sheep bones scattered around the standing stone, picked clean by carrion. There's probably a perfectly rational explanation for this, but somehow it seems too symbolic, too ritualistic, too un-natural.
It's getting dark.