Raisdale

That little offshoot of Bilsdale. The North York Moors seem particularly dour and rugged at this time of the year. Fifty shades of brown. But the cloud breaks and the sun’s morning rays brings an enchanting tranquillity to the dale below. Aelred thought so, writing in the 12th century. He was Abbot of Rievaulx, a Cistercian abbey just down the dale. In one of his books, Speculum Caritatis, or Mirror of Charity, he reflected on the austere and hard Cistercian way of life:

our food is scanty, our garments rough; our drink is from the stream and our sleep often upon our book. Under tired limbs there is a hard mat; when sleep is sweetest we must rise at a bell’s bidding … [but] everywhere peace, everywhere serenity, and a marvellous freedom from the tumult of the world
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