Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

  • Ben Griam Beg

    Ben Griam Beg

    Ben Griam Beg and Ben Griam Mòr, though neither Munros nor Corbetts, are distinguished by their remoteness and prominence in the flat expanse of the “Flow Country.” This view is taken from Ben Griam Beg — “little dark hill” — looking towards its taller sibling, Ben Griam Mòr — “big dark hill” — which surpasses…

  • Ruins of a Sweep Net Salmon Fishery

    Ruins of a Sweep Net Salmon Fishery

    Another unexpected gem discovered on our daily exercise is the remains of a Sweep Net Fishery station. The site, nestled at the mouth of the River Naver, boasts an ice house, a ruined dwelling, and a storehouse. The structures date from around 1811, coinciding with the Clearances, though salmon fishing here has been documented since…

  • Baile Mhargait

    Baile Mhargait

    As I cycled the steep climb into Bettyhill, my mind drifted back to our recent walk from Torrisdale, skirting the coast of Druim Chuibhe to Baile Mhargait, or Margaret’s Town. This region, as the map reveals, is abundant in prehistoric features. I stopped to take this photo. On that walk, we found a large gravelly…

  • Ruins on the Promontory: Borve Castle

    Ruins on the Promontory: Borve Castle

    Borve Castle, a relic of medieval intrigue, draws attention today with its storied past. Tradition holds that it was built by Torquill, a Norwegian, and later became the residence of the MacKays of Farr. The castle met its fate in 1544, 1565, or 1655—dates vary—when it was besieged and demolished by the Earl of Sutherland.…

  • Kirtomy Bay

    Kirtomy Bay

    In a stretch of coast with no natural ports of refuge, this harbour, the most quaint imaginable, is accessible by a zigzag path descending the steep cliffs from the landside, and from the sea through a narrow channel in the rocky reefs, which looks easily navigable at low tide and in calm seas. In 1910,…

  • Caisteal a’ Bharraich

    Caisteal a’ Bharraich

    Castle Varrich is steeped in enigma. Was it the ‘Beruvik‘ where Thorfinn waged a sea battle in the eleventh century; a residence of medieval bishops; an early stronghold of the Mackays; or a reconstruction on much older foundations? This area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and the imposing wooded rock on which Varrich stands…

  • Caisteal a’ Bharraich

    Caisteal a’ Bharraich

    Castle Varrich is steeped in enigma. Was it the ‘Beruvik‘ where Thorfinn waged a sea battle in the eleventh century; a residence of medieval bishops; an early stronghold of the Mackays; or a reconstruction on much older foundations? This area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and the imposing wooded rock on which Varrich stands…

  • Dubh-Sgeir Mhor — The Black Rock

    Dubh-Sgeir Mhor — The Black Rock

    Breathe in that salty air! This view is across the narrow channel separating Eilean a’Chaoll from the Talmine mainland. The rugged foreshore displays vibrant yellow lichen and delicate pink thrift clinging to the rocks. Beyond, the Atlantic Ocean extends towards the distant Eilean nan Gaill, or Rabbit Islands. But in between, there lies the foreboding…

  • Kyle of Tongue

    Kyle of Tongue

    The Kyle of Tongue, with the granite peak of Ben Loyal, a hill which apparently distorts compass readings due to its iron ore. Tongue itself was home to a Dr. Farquhar, who gained his healing powers from a boiled white snake’s juice.

  • Hope springs eternal

    Hope springs eternal

    Yesterday’s adventure took us up the stunning Ben Hope, seen here rising majestically across the serene Loch Hope. Our ascent was clear until the final 40 metres when we climbed into a thick duvet of cloud. This stifled any views but added a sense of drama to our climb. Despite the mist, the persistent song…

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