Monday, 6 February 2012

Dove Crag and Simonside

At this point the path starts to turn into a climb, but is still extremely well marked out, as you venture into the Simonside hills.  In a document dated to 1279 Simonside was called Simundessete. By 1580 the name had become Simontside. The name may be a corruption of Sigemund's seat or Sigemund's settlement. This is the name of an old Germanic hero from the Volsunga Saga.  This points to the possibility that the Simon of Simonside Hill is the Sigemund mentioned in Beowulf and subsequently Norse and Teutonic myths.

Dove Crag (395m) is the first peak you have to struggle towards.  I have always found this peak to have a roof of dark rain filled clouds for 9 months of the year overlapping with 12 months of wind.  At the top of this location there is a nice sturdy pile of stones providing shelter for many a hardy hiker and ‘Duergar’.  Legend has  it that Duergars are mischievous elves or dwarfes who take great delight in frightening travelers at night or trying to lure them over the high cliff tops to their death.  Simonside (429m) is the highest peak complete with monolithic stone structures, caves and holes.  The cliff sides are frequented by climbers and wild shaggy Tups (rams).  I remember the first time I came across a wild Tup, it looked like a cross between an abominable snowman and a pit pony, and when it emerged out of the mists on the cragside looking wild and sporting very large horns – the only decision you had to make was how fast you wanted to move in the opposite direction.

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