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At the regional level, Nine Standards Rigg lies very close to the main watershed that runs north to south down the spine of the north of England. This watershed separates the rivers Eden and Lune that flow into the Irish Sea to the West from the rivers Swale and Greta that flow into the North Sea to the East. Together, these four rivers provide the main routes across the Pennines, from the Upper Eden Valley over Stainmore, over Tailbrigg into Swaledale, up Mallerstang into Wensleydale, and from the Lune Valley into Upper Eden. The Nine Standards are at the focus of the four main rivers and routes through the area, and this geographical fact gives the site its importance for humans. See Fig. 1, North of England catchment map below.


At a local level, the main watershed between the Eden and the Swale runs from Tan Hill south-west along Brownber Edge to Baxton Gill Head then down to Hollow Mill Cross on Tailbrigg before climbing up again to Fells End on the northern tip of Mallerstang Edge. The Nine Standards lie just off this watershed, on the spur that separates the Dukerdale Beck and Harne Gill tributaries of the Eden from the many small becks that cross Winton Fell and Kaber Fell to form the Belah, itself a tributary of the Eden. See Figure 4, below, River Eden and River Swale catchment map.

 The position of the nine drystone cairns was chosen with great care; they are not on the highest ridge but on the skyline as seen from the Upper Eden Valley. Standing at the cairns, the view to the west is a spectacular panorama from Wild Boar Fell and the Howgills, to the Lakeland peaks of the Langdales, Helvellyn and Blencathra ranges over to Cross Fell, Great Dun Fell and the Northern Pennines, with the whole of the Eden Valley laid out at your feet, starting with all the villages in the Kirkby Stephen area.  Putting this another way, at night a bonfire at Nine Standards would be visible from as far afield as Mayburgh Henge, King Arthur's Round Table, and Long Meg near Penrith. However, to the East, there is virtually no view beyond the adjacent fellside; only the highest ridges and tops of the Pennines are visible, and if you arrive at the Nine Standards from the east, they cannot be seen until you are within a few hundred metres of them.  See Nine Standards, Viewshed, below:

Viewshed Analysis courtesy of Dr Andrew Evans, Dept. of Geography Leeds University ©

For first report of work completed in the summer see: August 2012

For the second report of work completed in the autumn see: December 2012

We already have quite a few friends who are helping with the project but more needed - please see the friends page for more information about becoming a friend or helping with the project.

To see copies of the original documents mentioned on the History page, see the documents page.

To read an exploration of the linguistic background of Nine Standards, see the what's in a name page.

There are quite a few old maps which mention Nine Standards and these can be found on the mapspage.

Nine Standards is a wonderfully photogenic place from any angle and we have added photographs to many of the pages of this website.


    Copyright © Friends of Nine Standards, 2011