Fitz made a very good choice of stone to seek. The front cover of the indispensable Laurie and Beckensall book has a photo of a glorious stone very similar to this. If I were them I'd have picked this one. It's a dahza!
I'm stumped as to why the hill is called Eel hill though. Seems a bit peculiar, it's not near the sea, or any rivers that look like they'd have eels in them.
It's an especially complex motif for the area, and is also conspicuous in that it is the only one on the summit of the hill, whilst the slope on the way up had oodles of marked stones though none with the such a clear cut bowl. It nicely connects the cairns etc (on the slopes below) to the mysterious atmosphere of Osmond's Gill . It's a special stone marking a special place.
It has taken me three visits to Barningham Moor to locate this gorgeous stone, I finally found it today with the help of Hob.
The stone is located just west of the highest point of Eel hill and is in the perfect postion to look out over Barningham Moor to County Durham in the north and the Cleveland Hills to the east.
A beautiful North Pennine stone.
Regarding Hobs comments on the origins of the name, Eel Hill.
I recently read in Gearoid O Crualaoichs wonderful book, The Book of the Cailleach, that the eel is "an emblematically liminal creature in Irish tradition - part fish, part animal, believed to undergo reincarnation and , on occasion, to speak."
I also discovered this little gem which discusses Iormungand, the world sea serpent also known as the Coiling Eel, daughter of Loki and Angrbod.
" In these myths, we see a hint of the idea of the serpent as a symbol of the mother goddess; a role that Iormungand also performs. A link between the goddess and the serpent can be traced well back into the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic periods. Significantly, images of the snake goddess from this period are often accompanied by coils, zig-zags, and meanders; all symbols of water."
If we stretched the point we could also tie Iormungands symbols into the carvings on the hill and the nearby underground stream.
Then again, Eel Hill just simply be a corruption of a previous name just as the OS have corrupted the name of the nearby gill from Osmonds Gill to Osmiril Gill.