Rich and I have had a hankering to get up to Gayles Moor for quite some time now. Trouble is the land is owned by the MOD and is used as a live range.
After Rich obtained the telephone number of the range warden and then spent a fruitless week trying to contact him we sort of resigned ourselves to getting nowhere and arranged to go and check out some Cumbrian rock art.
I picked Rich up at Scotch Corner and suggested that as we were in the neighbourhood perhaps we have a mooch up to the ranges just on the off- chance that we could blag ourselves onto the moor.
To cut a long story short. The wardens initially didn't want to let us onto the moor but Rich turned on the charm and dropped a couple of names, ten minutes later we were walking out onto the open moorland.
The weather was blistering and it was a good couple of miles from the warden buildings to the rock art sites but we kept our spirits up by looking at all the spent ordnance and burned out, blown up tanks that littered the roadside - well, not exactly littering the place but there were 3 of them and lots of bullet cases.
Beckensall and Laurie describe the area as "an open linear group of marked rocks extending east-west on an elevated terrace of gently sloping moorland, about 2000m long and 1000m wide. All rocks are above 350m OD".
The site faces north by north west with views to the east of the Cleveland escarpment, to the west are the Pennine uplands and to the north the gently undulating plain of County Durham.
We spent a good day mooching around this area and were rewarded with some wonderful rock art panels. We both agreed that outside of, Northumbria, we had not encountered so many complex motifs in such a small area.
All in all I would definitely recommend a visit to Gayles Moor, the rock art is stunning and the landscape and views alone are worth the walk.
Note. The ranges are generally open to the public on Sunday afternoons and Mondays.
We got lucky with our visit but to avoid disappointment I would definitely advise you to contact the range wardens. This area is far too dangerous just to wander into.
There are many sites on Gales moor and the surrounding area.
They lie on military ranges and access is limited.
Watch out for the warning signs and the red flags.
Gayles moor is generally open to the public on Sunday afternoons and Mondays but this is not always the case.
Check with the range warden.