Out & About …

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

A Giant’s Tantrum — The Making of Blakey Topping

Legend has it that Blakey Topping, that iconic North York Moors hill, isn’t just a natural wonder — it’s the epic handiwork of a grumpy giant! Volunteering with the National Trust, I’ve been helping repair fences around the north end, right where the legend begins.

The story goes that Wade, a giant with a temper to match his size, had a fight with his wife Bell. Bell wisely fled across the moors, but Wade, in a rage, scooped up massive clumps of earth and hurled them after her. Blakey Topping, along with Roseberry Topping and Freebrough Hill, are supposedly the results of his tantrum! The giant’s stomping ground is said to be the enormous Hole of Horcum, where he dug up all that earth.

Believe it or not, the word “Blakey” itself has a mysterious past. First mentioned in the 13th century, it simply meant “black mound.” But some suggest it could have been a meeting place, a “moot.” Even the Old English word “blac” from which “Blakey” comes, had a surprising range of meanings — bright, pale, and even black! The connection between these seemingly opposite colours is a puzzle, perhaps linked to fire (bright) and burning (dark), or maybe it just meant a lack of colour altogether.

So, if you get the chance to visit Blakey Topping, remember the legend of the fuming giant and the interesting history hidden in its very name!







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