Out & About …

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

Burn o’Vat

As the world grew warmer at the close of the last Ice Age, powerful rivers coursed beneath the melting glaciers. Boulders and gravel tumbled along these currents, scouring the riverbed with relentless force. The water, under immense pressure, surged through fissures in the harder rock, forming powerful whirlpools akin to a giant plughole. Over centuries, these swirling stones carved out a vast, egg-shaped pothole in the rock.

As the glacier receded, the river’s might waned, and it could no longer transport such colossal loads of rock. Stones and gravel settled, filling the pothole’s base. Today, this remarkable formation, known as the Vat, features a chamber rising 14 metres above, taller than three double-decker buses stacked together. Yet, the depth of the gravel beneath remains a mystery.

The Vat has captivated visitors since Queen Victoria made Deeside fashionable. It is also steeped in local lore. One tale recounts how Gilderoy McGregor, a notorious cattle thief, purportedly hid his stolen beasts within the Vat. Yet, the narrow entrance makes it hard to envision cattle squeezing through.

The entrance to the Vat







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