The creation myth of Almscliffe tells that, long long ago, the great giant Rombald — whose main place of residence tended to be Ilkley Moor — was having a fight with the devil upon his homeland heath. As is common in the myths of giants, the ‘devil’ picked up a great boulder and threw it at Rombald, but it missed and fell just short of the village of North Rigton, creating Almscliffe Crags. A variation of this tale tells that it was Rombald and his wife having the argument and she threw the stones to create the place. Several sites have been named as the place where the mythological argument occurred: the Cow and Calf rocks, the Great Skirtful and Little Skirtful of Stones all cited in the folktales of our Yorkshire peasants. Another variation of the tale tells that the devil was simply carrying some stones (as devils and giants are renowned to do in the folk-tales of the world) and he accidentally dropped them where the Crags now stand. Such rock-throwing tales are, once more, symptomatic of cailleach tales more commonly found in Ireland and Scotland.
There are a great many cup-markings on the top surface of these Crags, most of which seem natural, but it is not unreasonable to think that, perhaps, some may have been carved by human hands? (not sure misself) Eric Cowling (1946) sincerely believed the antiquity of some carvings here. One of them particularly, three feet across and eighteen inches deep, though seemingly natural, has for several centuries been known as the “Wart Well.” Its name is attributed to folklore that is more commonly found in Ireland and the Scottish highlands; that is, should you have a wart, prick it with a pin until a drop or two of blood drips into the water that gathers in the stone bowl, then dip your hand in afterwards. The wart is sure to vanish. Another method to achieve the same end is to merely wash the skin affliction in the water, and it will soon fade. (Interestingly, an old psychotherapist friend, afflicted with the damned things, did just this and they promptly vanished.)
A more minor creation myth tells that the stone bowls we see on top of the Crags here – including the Wart Well – was actually made when the giant Rombald stepped from his home onto the Crags and left his footprint embedded in the rock face. He was said to have made it in just one step, from the Giant Skirtful of Stones prehistoric cairn [where one legend reputes him buried].