Out & About …

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

Tag: folklore

  • Kyle of Tongue

    Kyle of Tongue

    The Kyle of Tongue, with the granite peak of Ben Loyal, a hill which apparently distorts compass readings due to its iron ore. Tongue itself was home to a Dr. Farquhar, who gained his healing powers from a boiled white snake’s juice.

  • 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…

  • The Ghost of Madame Turner

    The Ghost of Madame Turner

    Barely a glimpse of Busby Hall can be gained from the limit of the Public Bridleway which follows the old coach road leading to the estate. Remarkably, this track once served as the main entrance. Presently, entry is gained through the village of Carlton-in-Cleveland. Pevsner, the architectural historian, offers a description of the hall as…

  • In Search of Magical Gate Posts

    In Search of Magical Gate Posts

    Upon the high moors near Young Ralph Cross at Rosedale Head, a commemorative stone stands in honour of Frank Elgee, a notable naturalist and archaeologist, who once curated the Dorman Memorial Museum in Middlesbrough. His wife and “assistant,” Harriet Elgee, was a knowledgeable writer and poet in her own right. I recently came across a…

  • Elfi The Dwarf — The Story Told at Ye Sign of the Fox & Hounds, Urra

    Elfi The Dwarf — The Story Told at Ye Sign of the Fox & Hounds, Urra

    The notion of transcribing these ancient folk tales of Richard Blakeborough, thought to be a splendid idea at first, an idea born during the Covid lockdown, now gnaws at my conscience with growing unease. Recent reports detailing the modification of Roald Dahl’s cherished works, altering words deemed offensive and rewriting character descriptions in an attempt…

  • On the Simonside hills

    On the Simonside hills

    On the Simonside hills. South of Rothbury in Northumberland lies a fine set of hills, especially when the weather behaves. In local tales, there’s this mythical creature dwelling in these hills. They call it a ‘deaugar’ (Norse for ‘dwarf’). Supposedly, it tricks folks at night with its lantern glow, leading them straight into bogs or…

  • Plough Monday

    Plough Monday

    The Monday after Epiphany used to be a day off for ploughmen up North. You’d enter a village and come across these agricultural labourers, all decked out in ribbons and those pristine white smocks, dragging the Fool-plough through the streets. It was their way of saying, ‘Hey, don’t forget, your bread depends on us pushing these…

  • Winter Solstice — Earth’s rebirth

    Winter Solstice — Earth’s rebirth

    Around this time of the year, the sun’s midday height in the sky changes only marginally. However, its minimum zenith, concluding precisely at 3:27 this morning, undeniably signifies a turning point for all inhabitants of the northern hemisphere — the Winter Solstice. This day then stands as the shortest, beginning the sun’s gradual ascent and…

  • Aysgill Force — The Butterset Boggles

    Aysgill Force — The Butterset Boggles

    A brief stroll up Sleddale a side valley off Wensleydale, tracing the course of Gayle Beck, led us to the delightful Aysgill Force. En route, we passed through Gayle, a village woven into one of folklorist Richard Blakeborough’s yarns. It kicks off with a birth prophecy, throws in unrequited love, a spurned admirer, a murderous…

  • Wishing Trees and Megger Stones

    Wishing Trees and Megger Stones

    A quandary with today’s photo, taken yesterday because I’m still a day behind. A walk from Dent village in the “hidden valley” of Dentdale up the looming Great Coum. Take your pick: a manmade feature with no history I could find, or a natural attraction draped in a legend supposedly centuries old. I’ll include both.…