Out & About …

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

Month: June 2018

  • Dead Men’s Bells

    Dead Men’s Bells

    Have you ever heard of a more absurd name? Foxgloves, gloves for foxes! Foxes don’t have fingers so if anything it should be fox mittens. There are as many folk names for foxgloves as there are counties. Few refer to gloves and fewer to foxes. Bunny rabbit’s mouths, witches thimble, fairies petticoats, elf-caps, clothes pegs,…

  • Haggaback Farm

    Haggaback Farm

    This must be one of the highest farms on the moors. Haggaback Farm stands almost 800 feet above sea level on Commondale Moor. A bleak and exposed spot. Most farms are usually sited in the middle of their network of fields, to minimise distances travelled. Haggaback is strangely at the edge of the high moorland,…

  • Sundew


    On the poor, acidic soils of the moors, such as at Bridestones, some plants need an edge to survive. This small Tolkienesque plant, “the dew of the sun”, supplements its diet by catching small insects. Sticky hairs project from a rosette of red round leaves trapping insects, slowly turning them into a nutritious soup to…

  • Middlesbrough Sunset

    Middlesbrough Sunset

    It’s been a while since I posted a sunset. A refreshingly cool dog walk provided the opportunity. Very hazy, probably the sea fret that’s been hugging the northeast coast, I thought the sun would fizzle out but with just a pinprick of sun left, I think it turned out alright. Open Space Web-Map builder Code

  • Capt. Cook’s Monument

    Capt. Cook’s Monument

    A hostile environment of supercooled ice crystals, 20º below freezing. And 20,000′ below those cirrus clouds, it’s the hottest day of the year. Capt. Cook’s Monument, the obelisk on Easby Moor, that’s visible for miles around, towers above a group of schoolchildren enjoying being outside. It’s great to see some schools still value outdoor education.…

  • Bell heather, Danby Rigg

    Bell heather, Danby Rigg

    The first of the heathers are out. Bell heather, such a deep rich colour, my favourite. Ling, which will cover the moors by August is much lighter, more of a lilac. The third type of heather found on the moors is Cross-leaved heath with pale pink flowers. The ditch on the right is part of…

  • Common spotted orchid

    Common spotted orchid

    Out litter picking after a hot weekend and came across this orchid. The name suggests it may be common but finding it growing in abundance in an abandoned quarry well used as a playground by BMX bikers is heartening. Open Space Web-Map builder Code

  • Huthwaite Green

    Huthwaite Green

    Also known as Heathwaite, names which are as Yorkshire as a name can be, the ‘thwaite’ element coming from the Old Scandinavian word for a clearing: thveit. Heathwaite means a high clearing and Huthwaite a hill clearing. This view over the buttercup meadows of Scugdale is a familiar sight for walkers on the Cleveland Way,…

  • Roseberry


    Last summer the National Trust commissioned a local artist to paint one face of the trig point on Roseberry in an attempt to discourage graffiti. And, by and large, it worked. For a year the artwork has been respected and the trig point has been left relatively clean. I was ambivalent. Now a self-proclaimed “street…

  • Surprise View, Gillamoor

    Surprise View, Gillamoor

    Exit the tabular hills village of Gillamoor towards Hutton-le-Hole and the road suddenly turns left and starts a steep descent. Pause at the bend, the top of Pennab Bank, and take in a superb view of lower Farndale. Judging from old postcards of this view for sale on eBay, when John Keble, an Anglican clergyman,…