We've been here before. I thought this time, though, I'd trace the old route between Croes y Esgob down into Llangollen, to see the wayside cross in its original context as far as that remains possible.
But, to my utter delight it was in fact almost entirely possible. It took little effort to transport myself through the ages, to a time when travel between Chirk and Llangollen was along this path. There was very little to distinguish the present from the past, other than the odd (and they must all be odd, don't you think?) paragilder, silently drifting over you, bothering the buzzards to noisy discord. The path was unmetalled and wholly unsound, and I was grateful to Taranis that he had taken a rest from his recent inclination to vent spleen.
Why is it here, though? Why was it raised? The obvious answer is that it's a wayside cross, a marker, in effect, of the route between the two settlements over the hill. On an August day, and sunny with it if you please, its hard to see the need, but I've been up there in the autumn, and its a little less clear, a little less pleasant. Imagine winter - rain, wind, mists, even snow, and perhaps the sight of a cross, and a sizeable cross at that in its heyday, would have been heartening as you began your descent into Llangollen. It's also a reminder, perhaps, of who you'd need to stay on the right side of, perhaps even a memorial to some lost event. There is even the possibility that they remember suicides. Truth is, we don't know for certain...great, isn't it?
Interestingly though, the Croes y Esgob is on a route that eventually takes you past the Croes y Beddau. Whether the latter cross is in its original setting is unlikely, but according to old tithe maps, it marks now the entry into what was Llangollen Abbot, ecclesiastical land owned by nearby Valle Crucis Abbey. It's possible then, that the Croes y Esgob is a boundary cross, marking land owned by the church or a monastery.
All this is fascinating, I'm sure you'll agree, but in my fumblings on the route I went a bit geographically skewiff, and ended up going further up the Ceiriog Trail. Oooh, I was irked. I pride myself on my sense of direction. I'm known for it, you know. But as I emerged from the dense mass of conifer cover, I was quite malleted by the view. It was so beautiful, it was almost an assault.