Out & About …

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

  • <— To Highcliffe Nab <—

    It struck me as a bit peculiar that explicit directions to Highcliffe Nab were considered necessary. One might conclude that folks have frequently found themselves inadvertently ending up at the nearby farm. However, upon closer observation, the reason became apparent: the gate stands firmly padlocked. Despite its designation as a Public Footpath, no stile offers…

  • A speeat o’ rain

    A speeat o’ rain

    In this month of showers, a spate — a heavy downpour in the Cleveland vernacular — situated somewhere in the vicinity of Great Broughton. I don’t suppose that ‘spate‘ found its place amidst the 40,000 entries of Dr Samuel Johnson’s seminal dictionary, published on this very day in 1755. The laborious compilation consumed nearly a…

  • Cuckoos on the Move as Cyclists Battle Up Saltburn Bank

    Cuckoos on the Move as Cyclists Battle Up Saltburn Bank

    In the women’s race of the Cleveland Classic, competitors ascend the formidable Saltburn Bank at the first of the event’s four laps. Cycling here, my ears were tuned keenly for that distinctive call of the first cuckoo of the year. Today marks Cuckoo Day, also known as St. Tiburtius’ Day, traditionally the day when the…

  • Stinking Nanny’s Surprise: The Pungent Power of Ramsons

    Stinking Nanny’s Surprise: The Pungent Power of Ramsons

    Ramsons, those delicate flowers of the forest floor, hold a secret. Typically, they signal the presence of an ancient woodland, flourishing in the quietude of undisturbed soil. But here lies a peculiar sight: these ramsons are thriving amidst the confines of a railway cutting. An anomaly, indeed. As I ventured deeper into Newton Woods, a…

  • Glaisdale

    Glaisdale

    The village of Glaisdale perches high on a hill, where Glaisdale Beck meets the River Esk in a dramatic confluence. Its terrain is spectacularly steep, with descents plunging more than 500 feet within a mere half-mile stretch. At its heart lies the church, commanding a view towards Glaisdale Head. Settlement in this dale adheres to…

  • An Ancient Route into Bransdale

    An Ancient Route into Bransdale

    In days of yore, should you find yourself journeying from Stokesley to Bransdale on foot, or perchance on horseback, this very track would have been your chosen descent into the dale. It held sway as a vital route for many a year. This ancient road, depicted on a 1782 estate map under the title ‘from…

  • A Byland Abbey ghost story

    A Byland Abbey ghost story

    When Byland Abbey yielded to Henry VIII’s Suppression Commissioners in 1538, it housed 25 choir monks alongside Abbot John Ledes. A hundred years prior, a monk had settled in the scriptorium to write twelve ghost stories on a blank page appended to a commonplace manuscript of rhetorical and theological works. These tales, in Latin, predominantly…

  • A Duck’s Day Out — Low Barns Nature Reserve

    A Duck’s Day Out — Low Barns Nature Reserve

    A day for ducks, as they say, thus what could be more fitting than a leisurely stroll around a wetlands nature reserve. The Durham Wildlife Trust’s Low Barns reserve is a worthwhile place to visit. Even in the rain. Nestled alongside the River Wear, it boasts woodlands, grasslands, marshes, and ponds. This assortment of habitats renders…

  • Blackthorn’s Starry Flowers Precede the Bluebell Spectacle

    Blackthorn’s Starry Flowers Precede the Bluebell Spectacle

    The bluebell meadows in Newton Wood are on the verge of bursting forth in a hue of cerulean blue. However, it is not their time quite yet. The initial shoots can be seen, but presently it is the blackthorn that commands the spotlight of spring. Masses of blossom, soft and disordered, the twisted thorny shrubs…

  • A Descent to Blea Wyke Point

    A Descent to Blea Wyke Point

    I have never been an adrenaline junkie. The thrills of white-water kayaking or downhill skiing have never quite captivated me. However, present me with a new place to explore, and I find myself wholly satisfied. The bold headland of Blea Wyke at Ravenscar, standing at an elevation of 180 metres, presents terraced undercliffs cascading one…

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