Rocking up at Cresswell Crags….

August Bank Holiday, and what better way to spend the day at Cresswell Crags in the Great Outdoors?

Mel & Col weekend 007Lots to see…or is there….? I can’t see much…

Mel & Col weekend 012

Yes…you have it…. we’ve signed up to one of the cave tours in this limestone gorge on the Nottingham/Derbyshire border…
First we don the helmets, then we listen to the guide…these caves were inhabited 14,000 years ago (about as far north as any remains have been found) and this is where they had a go at rock art…

Mel & Col weekend 009It’s the so-called “Church Hole” (hole meaning cave), and this art was only discovered ten years ago. Church Hole is on the Northern Notts side, the coldest, whereas on the sunnier south (Derbyshire), there was, apparently, more living activity….

Mel & Col weekend 017How’s this for a Des Res?….

Anyway, it’s inside Church Hole for us, but not far. We can see the Sistine Chapel of the Stone age in daylight (broad or otherwise, judge for yourself)…

Mel & Col weekend 011Somewhere here there are, according to the Spanish, many, many paintings. According to the British, apparently, there’s a more conservative estimate….namely, a few….and thereby lies yet another international squabble which we could do without…
However, we’re all agreed on one thing, and that is, this is an important find.

Mel & Col weekend 014It may not look much to you, but there’s evidence of an ibex here, or was it a bison, or a bird? It’s difficult to see, but with the aid of our helpful guide, we actually do spot the outline of something… This ain’t exactly Michelangelo, but it is tremendously exciting. So many questions unanswered, but it seems that our forbears used the natural shape of the limestone, together with pointed flint tools and pigment to make paints. The latter has mostly been lost, but what does remain are the notched grooves towards the bottom right-hand side of the picture. There is speculation that this is some kind of calendar which could be linked to religious belief. In fact there are several pieces of work that point to this cave having religious or ritual significance. Before it was gated off, a fair number of more contemporary “cave men” have done their bit to the walls of this cave…apparently some children (now grown men) have since admitted to adding a goatee to the goat…way before it was discovered by academics…Fair do’s, as they say…

Tour over, and we emerge again to take a look around the gorge…

Mel & Col weekend 021

Mel & Col weekend 018 …followed by a stone age cappuccino in the stone age restaurant…and if you believe that, you’ll believe anything…

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