Out & About …

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

  • Thomason Foss

    Thomason Foss

    With Loftus gracing the BBC news this morning, having recorded the highest rainfall in the UK yesterday at 16.0 mm, it is hardly surprising that Thomason Foss would be in full flow. Earlier, we had abandoned our attempt to reach Mallyan Spout near Goathland, as the path along West Beck, another tributary of the River…

  • Ragwort: Friend to Insects, Foe to Livestock

    Ragwort: Friend to Insects, Foe to Livestock

    Another dreich day forces me to turn to *Flora Britannica* for today’s photo. Ragworts, a group of daisy-like flowers, include several species, with the Common Ragwort being particularly notorious. This native, biennial plant, sometimes perennial, disperses its seeds by the wind. One plant can produce thousands, making it a potential nuisance on waste land and…

  • From Aireyholme to Hawaii — Captain Cook’s Legacy

    From Aireyholme to Hawaii — Captain Cook’s Legacy

    On this day in 1776, Captain James Cook set sail from Plymouth aboard the Resolution, with the Discovery in his wake, on what would be his final voyage. His journey ended tragically in Hawaii three years later, when he met his death in an altercation with the indigenous people. It seems fitting, therefore, to post…

  • Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

    Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

    Perish the thought. In a recent study published by University College London, the projected climate change for Richmond & Northallerton over the next decade shows some notable shifts. Summer rainfall is anticipated to increase by 2.7%, while the annual temperature to rise by 0.76°C. To place this in context, historical data from 1981 to 2010…

  • Roseberry Topping: Repairing the Path, Rain or Shine

    Roseberry Topping: Repairing the Path, Rain or Shine

    A rather damp day prompted a brisk ascent up Roseberry, where I observed the ongoing path repairs. I was actually quite surprised to see the contractors toiling in such inclement weather. A week after the helicopter delivered the rough stone blocks, the work has progressed commendably. The path, stretching 416 metres from the gate out…

  • Boundaries in Stone

    Boundaries in Stone

    Dry stone walls stand as testament to the enduring craftsmanship of generations past. They are a quintessential feature of the North York Moors and other rocky regions of the British Isles. From Cornwall and the Cotswolds, to Scotland and Ireland, these walls served as swift and sturdy field boundaries, surpassing the time it would take…

  • The Vale of Guisborough

    The Vale of Guisborough

    Looking down on Guisborough, nestled at the northern end of eastern England’s scarp-lands. The town is characterised by its unique geological and historical features. It lies in a broad valley between the Cleveland Hills and Eston and Upleatham Hills, a valley that is surprisingly not known as the ‘Vale of Guisborough.’ The town and its…

  • From Blue Fields to Empty Skies—The Plight of Pollinators

    From Blue Fields to Empty Skies—The Plight of Pollinators

    Blue tansies, a splendid sight, brightens up this field in Kildale. Belonging to the borage family, Phacelia tanacetifolia, though not native to Britain, is cultivated as a cover crop and green manure. Its nectar-rich flowers bloom sequentially, ensuring an extended flowering period that attracts insect pollinators such as bumblebees. Meanwhile, wildlife experts raise an alarm…

  • The Tory Party, 1832-2024

    The Tory Party, 1832-2024

    It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of the Tory Party, beloved overlord, on 5 July 2024 after a long and terminal decline. The Conservative and Unionist Party was founded in 1832 from an alliance between the Tory and Whig parties to defend the existing order against radical reform. Once widely respected,…

  • A Chance Encounter with the Great Crested Newt

    A Chance Encounter with the Great Crested Newt

    Shakespeare’s witches in Macbeth famously required “Eye of newt, and toe of frog” for their cauldron. Debate lingers over whether this references the amphibian’s body part or a herbalist’s term for mustard seeds. In our garden pond, we have plenty of common newts, but today at the National Trust’s Bridestones property, I encountered my first…

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