The foothills of Eston Moor

I’d like to say that it was the two small hills across the vale of Cleveland caught my attention, but it was actually the two cols; cols through which the roads of Ormesby Bank and Flatts Lane pass.

The hills though — but perhaps ‘knoll‘ is a better word, ‘hill‘ sounds much too lofty —  could be said to be the foothills of Eston Moor: Hambleton Hill (417’ asl1Above sea level) and High Godfalter Hill (500′ asl) are smooth and rounded, and quite different from the rugged, craggy summit of Eston Nab.

The rondure of these knolls indicate that they have been smoothed by a moving glacier. By contrast Eston Nab stood proud of the glacier like a Greenlandic nunatak.

This is now accepted knowledge, but in the late 19th and early 20th-century, local naturalists were scouring the countryside identifying pebbles and boulders of rock many miles from where they originated. These are termed erratics and are often smoothed with deep ruts in them — granite from Shap and porphyry from the Cheviots2Elgee, Frank. A Ramble in Cleveland | Northern Weekly Gazette | Saturday 20 September 1902 | British Newspaper Archive’. 2022. Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk <https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/BL/0003075/19020920/126/0012?browse=true> [accessed 8 August 2022].

The presence of Cheviot erratics may be confusing. The glacier from the west bringing the Shap granite swept out to sea at the mouth of the Tees, where it met the North Sea glacier flowing south. The Teesdale glacier was diverted down the Vale of York, letting in part of this northern ice stream which had passed over a part of the Cheviots, scattering its characteristic boulders and redistributing those of the Teesdale Glacier3Elgee, Frank (1912). The Moorlands of North-Eastern Yorkshire: their natural history and origin. Page 135/6. London: A Brown & Sons. OCLC 776748510..

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