Memories of Yorkshire Dales walks, North York Moors hikes, Lake District climbs and Yorkshire Coast strolls

A record of interesting sights and notable experiences in the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Lake District, Howardian Hills, North Pennines and other regions of Yorkshire and Northern England. The contents of this walking diary are shared on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.

Saturday 2 April 2022
Rosedale ironstone kilns above the Rosedale valley
North York Moors

This weathered stone giant was once at the heart of a sprawling industrial ironstone mining complex.

Rosedale’s East Mines began operation in 1864, and a year later the branch railway to Blakey Junction was completed.
Before ironstone was sent to the blast furnaces it was roasted in these huge kilns. This process removed impurities, enriched the iron content and reduced large lumps of ironstone to a suitable size for smelting. Discarding the waste also helped reduce transportation costs, which could account for as much as a third of the price of ore delivered to the blast furnaces.

Ironstone from the mines was tipped into the kilns from above. After the roasting process (called calcining), workers shifted the hot stone from the kilns into iron wagons using long, heavy metal rakes. It was gruelling work and the calcine men had one of the dirtiest and most unpleasant jobs on site.

The haunting ruins belie an almost unimaginable environment that persisted for sixty years. Thick smoke, noise from the kilns and nearby mines, the shouts of workers, and the relentless clatter and rattle of trains and carts all day long.

Thursday 20 January 2022
Ribblehead Viaduct, Ribblesdale
Yorkshire Dales

A silver plaque is attached to one side of the stone statue near the foot of the viaduct. The engraving depicts a 19th-century navvy shaking hands with a 20th-century engineer.

Construction of the viaduct began in late 1869 and needed a workforce of around 2300 men – mostly navvies who lived in shanty towns set up near its base. By the end of 1874 the last stone of the structure had been laid and the process had claimed the lives of over 100 men.

In November 1988 Ribblehead Viaduct was Grade 2 listed and the surrounding land where the remains of its construction camps are located has been recognised as a scheduled monument. Between 1990 and 1992 the viaduct underwent major restoration.

Wednesday 19 January 2022
The summit of Whernside, height 736 metres (2415 feet)
Yorkshire Dales

In the Yorkshire Dales, there are just seven mountains which are higher than 700 metres:
1️⃣ Whernside, 736 metres (2415 feet).
2️⃣ Ingleborough, 724 metres (2375 feet).
3️⃣ Great Shunner Fell, 716 metres (2349 feet).
4️⃣ High Seat, 709 metres (2326 feet).
5️⃣ Wild Boar Fell, 708 metres (2323 feet).
6️⃣ Great Whernside, 704 metres (2310 feet).
7️⃣ Buckden Pike, 702 metres (2303 feet).

Saturday 15 January 2022
Disused railway line above the Rosedale valley
North York Moors

The valley fog can’t escape Rosedale. The cold dense air keeps sinking down into the valley and condensing to form fog. I’m on higher ground where the air is warmer and lighter.

Sunday 28 November 2021
Easby Abbey, Easby, Richmondshire
Northern England

The tranquil ruins of the 12th-century Easby Abbey are only a mile away from Richmond town centre, and can be reached by scenic paths on both sides of the River Swale.

Saturday 27 November 2021
The River Swale waterfalls, Richmond town centre
Northern England

The River Swale is said to be England’s fastest flowing river. Sometimes golden brown in colour, particularly after heavy rainfall, because its waters have absorbed peat high up on the moorlands of the Yorkshire Dales.

Thursday 10 June 2021
Bellow Hill, Hardraw village centre
Yorkshire Dales

Time for a sit down at the end of a Wensleydale walk to Great Shunner Fell, Butter Tubs and Fossdale. This comfortable and beautifully carved wooden memorial bench with great views of the village makes the ideal resting spot.

Thursday 10 June 2021
West House, Simonstone, Hardraw
Yorkshire Dales

A peacock treats me to this wonderful display as I walk through the farm. The male birds grow their trains of iridescent feathers during the mating season, fanning them out and rattling them to attract a mate. Scientists in the US have used eye-tracking cameras to work out exactly what peahens find alluring in a peacock’s tail fan. Side-to-side eye movements suggested that females were gauging the fan’s width and that they were most interested in the striking eyespots on the feathers.

Thursday 10 June 2021
Cliff Gate Road between Hardraw and Thwaite
Yorkshire Dales

At Butter Tubs, over thousands of years, slightly acidic water has eaten away the 325-million-year-old carboniferous limestone rock to create these weird shafts with their distinctive fluted edges. Rainwater seeps into natural cracks (faults and joints) in the rock and over time the cracks have grown into the vertical shafts or potholes we see today. Some of the potholes are up to 24 metres deep and still growing as water continues to trickle into them.

Saturday 17 April 2021
Minor road north-west of Wescoe
Lake District

The trunk of an ancient tree. Look carefully and you’ll see a teddy wearing a green jumper. The road was lined with extremely old trees which appeared to be dead but were still sprouting young branches and twigs.

Saturday 17 April 2021
The Skiddaw mountain range
Lake District

Paragliders on the south-western flanks of the Skiddaw mountain range, about a mile south-east of Little Man. In the background is Keswick and Derwent Water.

Tuesday 6 April 2021
The Moors National Park Centre, Danby Lodge, Danby
North York Moors

A sunny day but windy and cold. Despite it being the beginning of April, I still need a coat and hat. There is a dusting of snow on some of the surrounding North York Moors hills.

Monday 5 April 2021
Muggleswick Park, County Durham
North Pennines

Stony Hill, looking like a moonscape because of the surrounding burnt heather. Managed heather burning normally takes place over the winter and in early spring when there are no birds nesting on the ground and the soil is generally wet.

Sunday 4 April 2021
Muggleswick Park, County Durham
North Pennines

The Three Curricks, with Derwent Reservoir in the background. A currick is a Cumbrian word for what is more commonly known as a cairn, a man-made pile of stones used to guide travellers.

Saturday 3 April 2021
Muggleswick Park, County Durham
North Pennines

The view north-west towards Derwent Reservoir, with the village of Edmundbyers on the left-hand side of the photograph. The reservoir was opened in 1967 and is one of the largest inland waters in England, capable of holding 11,000 million gallons.

Friday 2 April 2021
Whitehall Moss, County Durham
North Pennines

A lovely S-shaped seating area by the side of the Waskerley Way disused railway line, about a mile east of Smiddy Shaw Reservoir. Waskerley is just visible in the background, on the horizon on the far left of the picture.

Tuesday 30 March 2021
Sleightholme Dale, by the side of Hodge Beck near Penny Holme
North York Moors

Yellow skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus). Also known as western skunk cabbage, American skunk-cabbage or swamp lantern, the plant is found in swamps and wet woodlands alongside streams. It is called skunk cabbage because of the distinctive ‘skunky’ smell it emits when it flowers.

Monday 29 March 2021
The Esk Valley Railway between Commondale and Castleton
North York Moors

Steam locomotive 62005 passes by as I sit on a bench enjoying a coffee and taking in the views. LNER K1 62005 was designed by the London and North Eastern Railway, built by the North British Locomotive Company in their Queen’s Park Works, Glasgow, and delivered to the fledgling British Railways in June 1949.

Sunday 28 March 2021
Danby Park between Danby and Castleton
North York Moors

The silvery-white bark of the silver birch makes this tree one of the easiest to put a name to in winter, when there are no leaves to help with the identification process. In older trees the bark is thick and deeply fissured at the base, whilst higher up it is smooth and often develops a pattern of black diamond shapes.

Saturday 27 March 2021
Danby Park between Danby and Castleton
North York Moors

Silver birch (Betula pendula) woodland. Silver birch trees are slender, fast growing and reach a height of about 30 metres, forming a light, airy canopy.

Friday 26 March 2021
Danby Park between Danby and Castleton
North York Moors

Hoof fungus (Fomes fomentarius) growing on the stump of a silver birch tree. Other common names are tinder fungus, false tinder fungus, tinder conk, tinder polypore and ice man fungus. It is shaped like a horse’s hoof and grows mainly on birch trees, which it infects through the broken bark.


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