Out & About …

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

Tag: folklore

  • 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.…

  • Confluence of the Balder and Tees

    Confluence of the Balder and Tees

    I am halfway up a hill they call the ‘Hagg,’ taking in the view of the Balder joining forces with the mighty Tees, both rivers uncomfortably full to the brim. Behind me stands Cotherstone Castle — now nothing more than a glorified mound. Used to be the abode of the Fitz Hughs, and once dubbed…

  • The Ghost of Stokesley Town End

    The Ghost of Stokesley Town End

    Yet another tale spun by the industrious quill of Cleveland’s venerable chronicler, Richard Blakeborough. This piece has lingered on my to-do list, biding its time for a fitting photograph. Regrettably, my patience has waned. Let this image of Aireyholme and Cliff Rigg suffice. Look closely, and the roof tops of Stokesley reveal themselves in the…

  • A Kepwick Mystery

    A Kepwick Mystery

    For your delectation, another folk tale of the North Riding of Yorkshire from the pen of Richard Blakeborough. This story appeared in an article in the Northern Weekly Gazette on the 15 November 1902. I was reminded of the tale as I descended Gallow Hill toward Kepwick village, a tale fitting for the approaching Halloween…

  • Gallow Howe

    Gallow Howe

    In the hallowed depths of Whitby Museum there is a grisly relic — the ‘Hand of Glory,‘ a mummified hand with a sinister past. Unearthed in the early 20th century by local historian Joseph Ford, this macabre exhibit is allegedly the preserved right hand of a criminal, amputated while still hanging from the gallows. It…