Dark Satanic Moor

Like the nearby mills alluded to in the William Blake poem ‘And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time’, Saddleworth Moor on the Yorkshire/Lancashire borders is a dark and satanic vision.

This morning, after twice witnessing the foreboding scenery, during a trip across the Pennine to collect my mother from my Macclesfield based sister Helen, I felt moved to pen about this stark north Peak District moorland.

In particular, an apparent possession of it’s own no sunshine micro-climate. The area, which I drive past on a fairly regular basis, seemingly never in receipt of solar rays; regardless of the current meteorology of the surrounding areas.

Poetically, I think of this constantly grim, sunless scene being the consequence of a celestial curse. Saddleworth Moor’s notoriety, acquired as the burial place of five children murdered in the mid-1960’s at Ian Brady and Myra Hindley’s malevolent hands. Acts of evilness rendering it a domain which it appears have a celestial edict the area shall forever be under cloud.

I alway’s thought, on receipt of an unappreciated idea, if an individual commented  “You can go shove it where the sun don’t shine!” it was an impolite suggestion to shove the idea up your ass. Perhaps, though, I misinterpreted the meaning; maybe the unimpressed recipient of your notion was tell you to metaphorically dispose of the thought on this joyless geological area bordering the white and red rose counties.


The moorland obviously isn’t implicated in the committing of any murder, but still reputationally tainted by its unwitting involvement in the despicable incidents. The area of Dark Peak’s concealment of fledgling victims bodies resulting in an unwanted legacy of accessory after the fact.

Saddleworth Moor’s subsequent penance a name that for over five decades has been synonymous with starkness and evil of others. It’s sentence a lack of fondness in the hearts of the nation, along with perhaps a celestial overseer whose punishment is a foreboding micro-climate. Ne’er again to witness the warmth of solar rays, sounds of joy or laughter.

I can never drive past the area of the M62 motorway skirting this grim moor without thinking melancholically of the five children, aged between 10-17 years, murdered as a sick ‘pastime’ by sadistic lovers Brady/Hindley and buried there. The poet in me suggesting the almost constant greyness of sky is courtesy of a Zeusian mark of respect to the victims and their families.

From the M62, Four hundred metres above sea level, this predominantly uninhabited elevated moorland is a featureless and bleak view. Mainly aesthetically unappealing cottongrass, the landscape scenes aren’t those that’ll send you dashing for your camera. You’re more likely to increase the pressure on your car’s accelerator, escaping the eyesore views as soon as possible.

Please bear in mind that my observations about the starkness of Saddleworth Moor are solely my opinions. When you read my essay it’s worth taking into account that some individuals like the aesthetics bestowed by the Dark Peak moorland. For example, I know several individuals who claim Saddleworth Moor is “Pleasingly scenic, gradually starting to overcome the more negative connotations tainting the area’s reputation!”

An erudite argument I’m prepared to listen to with an open mind. That being said, I don’t think it’s being unfair to say the head of the Saddleworth Moor Tourist Board is bound to say that!….. Isn’t he?!


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