Picture Post: Red sky at night casts eerie light across the moor

PIC: Tony Johnson
PIC: Tony Johnson
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With clouds tinged with red scudding across the skyline and the silhouette of an ancient cross on the horizon, this image taken on Ilkley Moor looks faintly apocalyptic.

The stone cross itself is thought to date back to the 12th century and stands beside an old Roman road that crossed the moor and would have once been a well-trod trading route between Ilkley and Keighley.

While the origins of the cross are uncertain, it is thought it was named after the Cawper family and unfortunately the original shaft was vandalised many years ago and had to be replaced with an old gate post.

Elsewhere on the moor is the Twelve Apostles stone circle. Each of the stones now stands three or four feet high, although they may have been taller originally, and in the middle of the circle, which measures 12 paces across, is a small pile of stones where once a standing stone was placed.

The reason for the alignment is not entirely clear. Some believe the circle was used for lunar and astronomical measurements, but others insist it had no special significance and was used simply as a meeting place for our ancient ancestors.

One of the most interesting landmarks on Ilkley Moor is the Swastika Stone. The stone can be found on Woodhouse Crag on the northern edge of the moor and similar designs, unique in Britain, can be seen on a series of other stones nearby.

Countless folklore, myth and legend are associated with Ilkley Moor, so it should probably come as no surprise that it is also alleged to have been the scene of an alien abduction.

On December 1, 1987, retired policeman Philip Spencer was walking across the moor heading for his father-in-law’s home. Through the fog, Spencer claimed to have caught a glimpse of a craft with a domed top disappearing into the sky.

Spencer said he imagined the whole incident had taken no longer than a few minutes, but when he reached his destination the village clock was an hour ahead of time, with many UFO experts believing that he had in fact been victim of an alien abduction.

Tech details: Nikon D3s 12-24mm lens 1 seconds @ f22, 200ISO.