Out & About …

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

  • Rapeseed Transforms the Vale of Cleveland

    Rapeseed Transforms the Vale of Cleveland

    The expansive fields of rapeseed, ablaze with its yellow flowers, command this view of the vale of Cleveland from Battersby Moor, presenting a picturesque mosaic of greens and yellows. Rapeseed, grown for its oil, a staple in cooking, fuel, and other products, graces landscapes worldwide, transforming into a breathtaking spectacle during its bloom. Easby Moor,…

  • The Silent Standoff — An Unexpected Thrill of a Roe Deer Encounter

    The Silent Standoff — An Unexpected Thrill of a Roe Deer Encounter

    I lack the patience for birding or hiding for hours in wait of a fleeting glimpse of wildlife. However, stumbling upon the sight of a bird or creature feels like a rare privilege. Such was the case this morning when I spotted a yearling roe buck. Or rather, he spotted me. We engaged in a…

  • Sleddale

    Sleddale

    The secluded valley of Sleddale, derived from the old English term ‘slaed’ for a wide flat valley, is enclosed by the moors. The farmstead, once part of the lands belonging to Gisborough Priory and formerly Sleddale Close, stands isolated amidst the heather. While historical records indicate its enclosure during the priory’s ownership, there’s scant evidence…

  • Dandelions: Underappreciated but crucial for bees and insects

    Dandelions: Underappreciated but crucial for bees and insects

    Ah, springtime in Britain—a vibrant tapestry of flowers, from the delicate snowdrops to the cheerful daffodils to the stunning bluebells. But amidst this floral symphony, there’s one unsung hero—the humble dandelion. Have you noticed how they transform roadside verges into seas of yellow, only to later sprinkle the landscape with their delicate ‘clock’ seedheads? It’s…

  • Midilest Middleton

    Midilest Middleton

    En route to Edinburgh, I found myself in need of a leg stretch. Upon consulting my map, the name ‘Middleton Old Town‘ leapt forth in an intriguing Gothic script. Without hesitation, I decided to explore. The remains of this medieval hamlet straddle the Coldgate Water, with the stream and a sunken path dividing it into…

  • Capt. Cook’s Monument

    Capt. Cook’s Monument

    The obelisk to Captain James Cook on Easby Moor, a familiar sight from the Cleveland plain. Cook is a local hero. We all know of his epic voyages to the Pacific, they are taught in schools, but his legacy is being reassessed as we look at events at that time through 21st century eyes. Cook’s…

  • Kissing trees

    Kissing trees

    Nineteen years ago in February, the landscape draped in snow, I found myself fascinated by a pair of beech saplings, their slender forms intertwined like old lovers. Over the passing years, one of the trees has asserted dominance, its girth swelling, while its companion languished in subservience, scarcely growing at all. Yet, despite this apparent…

  • The merry month of May

    The merry month of May

    Bluebell season has undoubtedly arrived, yet the spectacle seems somewhat diminished compared to previous years. Perhaps it’s premature to judge. If May proves to be as chilly as April, the following proverb may come to mind, though its exact significance eludes me. A cold May and a windy, Makes a barn full and a findy.

  • Thirlwall Castle

    Thirlwall Castle

    An excess of photographs from the recent walk along Hadrian’s Wall. However, not all remnants were of Roman origin. This ruin is distinctly medieval. Erected in the 1300s, Thirlwall Castle served as a fortified home for the Thirlwall family. Built from robbed stones from the Wall, its stout walls shielded them from Scottish incursions during…

  • Hadrian’s Wall

    Hadrian’s Wall

    On yet another day of our journey, Hadrian’s Wall remains a constant companion as our route leads us further eastward. This is a distant view of Crag Lough. But why did Hadrian build his Wall. It seems it wasn’t purely defensive, certainly not against an invasion. There is evidence of livestock and other resources making…

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