Out & About …

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

Category: Roseberry Common

  • The Scars of Jet Mining on Roseberry Common

    The Scars of Jet Mining on Roseberry Common

    A casual remark recently brought my attention to this stretch of barren spoil heaps nestled just beneath the col between Roseberry Topping and Little Roseberry. This scarring owes its existence to the extraction of jet, a prized black rock revered for millennia, but especially gaining favour after Queen Victoria took to wearing it in mourning…

  • Parvus Othensberg

    Parvus Othensberg

    Many will be aware with the old name for Roseberry Topping as “Othenesberg,” dating back to a 12th-century medieval charter. The initial element, a relic of Old Norse, traces its origins to the personal name Óthinn or Authunn. The subsequent constituent, also Old Norse, derives from “bjarg,” meaning a rock, thereby bequeathing the toponym “Óthinn’s…

  • St. Michael’s Day

    St. Michael’s Day

    Apart from the purplish hue of the ling, the crimson shade of this bramble leaf also holds a special place in my colour preferences. It seems this vibrant colouration owes its existence to anthocyanins, naturally occurring chemicals found in blackberries. These compounds come together within certain leaves when sugar levels experience an increase during the…

  • Trampling hooves and composting dreams — Dealing with Bracken

    Trampling hooves and composting dreams — Dealing with Bracken

    In the midst of this stifling bracken season, I’ve yet to encounter anyone who harbours any affection for this plant. Sure, it may bring a touch of colour come autumn, but only when it’s dead and devoid of vitality. In the summer, perhaps a stroke of luck might grant you a glimpse of a stonechat…

  • Rucksack Woes and Merry Music—Duke of Edinburgh Award Chronicles

    Rucksack Woes and Merry Music—Duke of Edinburgh Award Chronicles

    A look back across Roseberry Common just before I reached the Topping. Below me, a Duke of Edinburgh group from a fine Durham school, all geared up for their Bronze expedition. And if you cast your gaze towards the top of Little Roseberry, you’d spot not one, not two, but a grand total of five…

  • Shig-shags

    Shig-shags

    While cutting back the bracken in Newton Wood today, I was taken by surprise when I stumbled upon what seemed to be miniature apples. Of course, these were not genuine apples, but rather galls created by insects as excrescences. And as it dawned on me that they were attached to a small oak sapling instead…

  • Roseberry Common: Reliving an old training route over the bracken

    Roseberry Common: Reliving an old training route over the bracken

    One of my favourite training routes used to be a circuit around Roseberry Common, where I would carefully choose the best path through the varied terrain. I like to revisit this route before the bracken becomes too thick to navigate. When I look at the Topping from this viewpoint, the dominant colours are those of…

  • On this day in 2000, the Labour Government’s first attempt to repeal Section 28 was defeated in the House of Lords

    On this day in 2000, the Labour Government’s first attempt to repeal Section 28 was defeated in the House of Lords

    Section 28 had been introduced by  the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher and prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities. Later that year the Prime Minister Tony  Blair would claim that opposition to reform was “a piece of prejudice, pure and simple“. The Shadow education secretary Theresa May called the defeat “a victory for…

  • Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la!

    Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la!

    It’s been a bumper year for all sorts of fruits and berries, and the holly is no exception. I was fascinated by this holly bush on Ryston Bank — the northern slope of Little Roseberry. Its branches are laden with bright red berries. In the distance is the flat topped Bousdale Hill with its fields…

  • Roseberry Common ‘omega’ sign

    Roseberry Common ‘omega’ sign

    The oak leaf on an ‘omega’ shaped plaque has become the National Trust’s iconic sign since it was designed by Yorkshire artist Joseph Armitage (1880-1945) in 1935. “The oak leaves were chosen as being no less symbolic of England than the more usual lion, and more in keeping with the use of the emblem”. Omega…