The last time I visited here, it was a very short visit, as it's tantalisingly close to a very picturesque parking spot on the road from Alnwick to Edlingham, and the short hop up to the outcrop only takes a minute or two, up the trackway past the remains of bell pits. It's not the best track in the world, a pushbike could make it, or a 3-wheeled buggy, but not a wheelchair. The incline isn't steep, but there is a need for hitching through or over a low wire fence, as the gate between the track and the outcrop seemed to be fixed shut.
The rock art is rather sub-standard, but the rock shelter and the outcrop itself are quite nice. The position in the landscape is unarguably the best aspect of the site. The view is very good.
I'm not sure what to make of the line pecked into the floor of the shelter. It's definitely pecked out, and looks very much like the kind of thing you'd see emerging from a cup and ring. Stan Beckensall has it as emerging from a 'shallow basin'. I'm not 100% with the basin idea. The presence of iron tool marks in the basin, combined with the fact that it's not convex, and is on a slope would make it a poor basin. It'd not hold water. There is a chance that the basin like area is the remains of a patch where the original surface has been removed. This raises the possibility that there was once a more cup and ring like motif here, removed in later years by whoever carved the rudimentary chair and the post slots under the overhang.
Between the shelter and the lovely view of Cheviot, is the standing stone. At first glance, I was a bit dismissive, as it's not overlarge, and there are larger boulderrs nearby that are just as upright. But closer inspection shows that it's out of place, and has a much higher than usual amount of quartz in it, making it look to me as it it could have been chosen as a suitably snazzy stone, then lugged here to mark the site as somewhere special.
The thing on the top of the outcrop does look like rock art, being one of those 'enhanced natural features' that can be so perplexing. But it must be an artificial groove around the basin. I did wonder why this basin was chosen for enhancement, when there are a couple of others that look like they'd do the job (whatever that is...) just as well. Maybe it's because of the direction of the natural groove, pointing down into the valley below. This valley looks intriguing. It's a bit reminiscent of the rockforms at Ketley Crag, full of jaggedy anthropomorphic outcrops, festooned with tumbled boulders, with many nooks and crannies that could easily be gateways to the underworld.
From KeysToThePast site number N4227:
A natural rock outcrop overlies a rock shelter that contains evidence of prehistoric activity. An excavation there in 1975 discovered Mesolithic flints and an Early Bronze Age cremation in a pottery vessel. In addition the upper surface of the shelter is decorated with a carved basin and a groove, markings that are probably associated with nearby cup and ring marked stones. The shelter also seems to have been used in more recent times as post-medieval clay pipes, glass, pieces of iron and ledges carved in the rock were also found.
A good place to sit out of the wind with good views and the skylarks learning again how to sing as they think the winter may be over. Now, where did I drop my clay pipe?