Jo’s Monday walk : Rosedale, sheep and heather


The North York Moors are all about the sheep!  They have a very important role to play in managing these moors.  In late summer, plum and purple swathes of heather swaddle the moorland.  Cocooned in this bounty, red grouse nest, feeding their young on juicy shoots of heather.  For centuries sheep grazing has been the traditional way of keeping the heather short and encouraging new growth. Without the heather, highly invasive bracken would take over, destroying the habitat.

I love the wildness of the Moors and can’t get enough of them in their rose-hued mantle. The weather up there has a mind of its own, and I was a little disappointed to leave sunshine at home and descend into Rosedale in gloom.  Nothing for it but to hope that the rain kept off.

The calves were feeling frisky, the field of sweetcorn swayed in the breeze, and at the camp site someone had the kettle ready.  As luck would have it, the wind eventually swept away the clouds, but you can never be quite sure.

The walk starts beside Sycamore Farm, just before the village of Rosedale Abbey.  A track leads downhill and over a stream.  Crossing a field, Blakey Ridge looms ahead.  Don’t worry!  I don’t expect you to climb to the heights.  Instead, turn right to follow a lane through the tiny hamlet of Thorgill.


Suddenly the sun peeps out, and what could be more tempting than this flight of steps?  My husband shakes his head.  The sign says Farndale, and that means up and over the top.  I can’t resist just a quick look at the tumble of cottages.  And a plum tree, alone in a field.

Over the top?  Maybe another day.  For now it’s gently upwards through Rosedale’s peaceful valley.  And look how blue the sky has become!

Looking over the drystone wall, I spotted some Rosebay Willowherb.  A fancy name for a wildflower.  You probably don’t remember but there was a big clump of it in my last walk. Badfish asked me jokingly if you could smoke it.  His latest post reveals a much more serious side. Don’t miss it!

Such a rural landscape and yet there are still traces of an industrial past.  If you look into the distance you can see the dramatic remains of the East Mines, and the colour of the water in the River Seven might give you a clue what was mined there.


Rosedale East Mines opened in 1865.  Visible today are the remains of the calcining kilns, where ironstone was roasted to eliminate impurities and reduce its weight.  The iron ore was taken by rail from Rosedale over the moorland to Ingleby, where it was lowered down the northern edge of the moors by tramway on the 1-in-5 gradient Ingleby Incline.  It would have been anything but peaceful as up to 15 wagons at a time were steam hauled around the top of the valley.

It was brutally hard work in the mines.  It has been described as a ‘regular slaughter place’ where ‘both men and horses are getting killed and lamed every day’.  Despite this the mines continued in operation until the General Strike of 1926.

These days the silence is only broken by birdsong, cows lowing and the occasional growl of a tractor.  The farm with an idyllic view had a runaway mother hen as I passed by.  She clucked anxiously back and forth, trying to chivvy her offspring back through the fence.  I watched at a discreet distance till I was sure all were safe, before heading past the former miner’s cottages and back to my start point.

The village of Rosedale Abbey is barely a mile down the road.  It was named for a Cistercian Priory, founded in 1158, of which only a fragment remains today.  The main attraction is the village green, and a choice of two cafes or a pub.  I can highly recommend Graze on the Green.  One of the best scones I’ve ever eaten. (and you know I’ve had my share!)

Nutrition accomplished, it’s time to go and seek out some of that glorious heather.  The road back across the moors dips and twirls, offering up breathtaking views as you crest Blakey Ridge.   ‘Pull in, pull in!’ I admonished the partner, careless of what might be behind us on the narrow road.

Some of you know what happens next.  The edges of the moors road have a little ditch where the rain drains off.  Out I leapt and straight into a ditch, with a sickening jar to my ankle.  Why do these things happen to me?  Careless, that’s why!  It was some minutes before I could take the desired photos, but here they are.  The sheep never even blinked.

I’m still a bit of a hop-along but I’m getting there.  So glad you could join me.  The Rosedale Abbey website offers a wealth of helpful details, and I even noted a ‘Tea Shop walk’.  Sound promising?

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Huge thanks to everybody for offering up your walks to share, and for ambling along on mine.  I love your company.  If you’d like to join me, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo.  Settle in now for a good read!


Inspiration must surely be Drake’s middle name :

Whence inspiration arises

Food, fun and frolics in Canada, with Jackie :

Let’s Go to The EX!

If you’re still hungry, head on over to Violet’s place :


Nothing I like more than a touch of Capability Brown!  And fuzzy sheep!  Thanks, Elaine :

Charlecote Park

A lovely old house and a sculpture trail sounds good to me.  BiTi will show you round :

Ballymaloe House- Part 1 

A Yorkshireman in NZ has found a place that looks like home.  Please go and say hi?

Pineapple Track, Dunedin

My favourite early riser takes us for a twirl by the Wisła.  Thanks, Meg.  You’re always a joy to accompany :

Vignettes from a morning walk, 8

Random, but comprehensive!  That’s Prague through Cardinal’s lens :

A Walk Through Praha

From Italy next I’d like to introduce Discovermarche, with a fun walk :

Li Vurgacci : among waterfalls and rock monsters 

And if you’ve always wondered about the German capital, take a trip with Kathrin :

Berlin, I love you!

That’s it for another week.  I’m hoping to post on Thursday but I might be a bit slow with my comments.  I’ll be in Edinburgh, waiting to meet up with the delectable Jude.  Take care till then!




Six word Saturday


One more shout for Capability Brown


I don’t suppose too many of you have heard of Temple Newsam.  This Tudor-Jacobean house, on the eastern edge of Leeds, was the birth place of Lord Henry Darnley, the notorious husband of Mary Queen of Scots.  The 1500 acre country park has grounds beautifully landscaped by Capability Brown. Currently managed by Leeds City Council and open to the public, it’s a fine breath of fresh air in the city.

A wedding was taking place whilst I was there, but the grounds were free to roam.  There’s a Home Farm and playground for the youngsters, and a lake with perfect ‘Pooh sticks’ bridge.  A rhododendron walk and extensive walled garden suits us mature folks.


I was greatly smitten with the conservatory.  Long and thin, it’s a maze inside, full of enticing plants, including the National Collection of Coleus.

I’m dedicating my gallery of leaves to Verena.  Though it’s not quite what she intended, the Autumn challenge, Festival of Leaves, has begun again and you might just want to join in.  Pop over and say ‘hi’.

The above gallery is for Jude, who’s gallivanting around the country and not here to defend herself.  Tee hee!  I love it!

And who can resist bougainvillea?  The stables and courtyard have been converted to tea rooms, of course, and there’s a restaurant in the walled garden.  What more do you need?

To mark the 300 years anniversary of Capability Brown, an exhibition explores the landscape of Temple Newsam through time.  This link includes a rather fine video.  And then it’s time to find six words for Cate.


Of the night


I’m not known for my one shot posts, and certainly not for my night photography.  Browsing my photo files last night, I came across a rather wonderful memory.  Lumiere at Durham last November.  Looking at it, I could feel the atmosphere again as the scenes washed across the face of Durham Cathedral.  The crowd stood hushed throughout a powerful sound and light performance.

This week Paula is demanding something Nocturnal, and I’ve rarely seen a more beautiful photo of Belem.  By definition, nocturnal means ‘active at night’.  This is a rare shot I took with my phone because there was insufficient light for the camera.  Go over to Paula’s place and see what makes Thursday’s Special.  You’ll find a beautiful nocturnal creature if you do.

Jo’s Monday walk : South Shields to Souter


Many of you seemed to enjoy my visit to the Tall Ships Regatta at Blyth last week, so I decided to stay on this same coastline for today’s walk.  South Shields is just a little way down the coast, and if you look closely at the photo above you might just make out a Tall Ship on the horizon.


I’ve brought her a little closer!  She was just hovering offshore, admiring the view.

As you can see it’s a rugged coastline, but the Blue Flag beach at South Shields is superb. We’ll start our walk from the car park behind the beach, along the new promenade.  In the distance Tynemouth Priory is just visible, across the river mouth.


Walking south, in the direction of Souter Lighthouse, the sand is lovely and firm beneath my feet.  At the end of the beach a path leads up to The Leas, and from there it’s 2.5 miles of coastal footpath to Souter Lighthouse.


I’m not going to talk much today.  I’ll simply let you enjoy the humps and bumps of scenery.  It’s a sight that always fills me with awe.


I was astounded when reading the information board in Frenchman’s Bay.  I knew, of course, that this area was once popular with smugglers.  What I didn’t realise was just how much coastal erosion had changed the landscape, and the timescale involved.  This bay was once sandy and wooden steps led down to the beach.  Long, long before that, these rocks were formed- 245 million years ago, when South Shields lay close to the Equator.

In the far distance I can make out Souter Lighthouse and Marsden Rock.  The Rock is a 30 metre high sea stack of magnesium limestone and periclase.  These days it’s only home to seabirds, though once it was joined to the land.  At this point I turn back.  I’ve visited Souter Lighthouse before, as the link will show, and I have a different goal in mind today.


I’m heading back towards the River Tyne and South Shields, and the mighty pier that stretches 1,570 metres out to sea.  I keep an eye on the Tall Ship, out at sea, and am delighted to find that my arrival coincides nicely with hers.  Tynemouth Priory, on the far shore, is beautiful in close up.


South Pier is an astonishing length and I’m entranced by the railway lines that once ran along it.  I would love to bombard you with statistics and information but I’m finding myself sadly short of time.  South Shields has a fascinating history and the Wikipedia link will give you all the facts you need.

It was a lovely day and we wandered into South Marine park, licking an icecream.  The boating lake and miniature steam train were busy, and I was pleased to see Shields thriving.   I know you’ll be gasping for a cuppa, and I can only apologise that this post is picture heavy, and not as factual as I would like.

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Thank you so much for the many and varied contributions I’ve received to my walks this week.  I struggle sometimes to keep up, but it’s always a joy to share with you.  Please join me, if you’d like.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.


Paula always knows how to make me happy :

Hell’s Mouth – Not so Hellish

Lady Lee knows a good-looking city when she sees one.  She’s lived in this one for 27 years!

A Day in Munich

Jackie does us proud this week with some fabulous murals :

Islington Village of Murals

And Cardinal treats us to the sight of his ass- suitably clothed, of course!

The Majestic Jotunheimen

Kathrin has heaps of sea glass to share, but you musn’t take it away from the beach :

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg

Check out what Liesbet gets up to mid-week?  Lovely sunsets and sideways houses!

Feeling the Bern in Burlington, VT- a Mid-week “Weekend Away”

Fancy a bit of teeter-tottering with Violet?  You’ve come to the right place!

Heritage Village

Drake has us stepping back into the past too.  Always with a smile :

Just around my corner

Stained glass fans?  Step right this way!  BiTi has some beauties :

La Couvertoirade Village

Spectacular walking with Cathy this week.  16,453 steps in total, but you do get to stop for lunch!

Iceland’s Golden Circle : Gulfoss and Geysir

Yvette is content to share the simple wonders of the beach.  Timeless images and wiggly ones!

Simple Things at the Beach 

Susan gives a very personal take on her impressions of Berlin :

Walking Berlin, Germany

I simply had to steal this one away from Meg!  I know this palace, but had no idea of its splendours :

Palace on the island

And I know that Meg will approve Susan’s architectural details too :

Art in the details : Looking up in the Financial District

That’s it folks!  Hope you enjoyed it, and that you have a happy week ahead.  See you soon!

Peering through Yorkshire village windows


What a nice gesture!  The village hall in Boltby, North Yorkshire, is left on the latch.  There are no amenities in this lovely village so, if you’re passing by and need to use the loo, you can pop in.  There’s a kitchen too, and you’re welcome to put the kettle on.  If only I’d thought to bring some cake!

Boltby is on the western edge of the North York Moors, and I was there to follow Gurtof Beck in the direction of Gormire Lake.  There’s a wonderful humpbacked stone bridge for pedestrians at the centre of the village, and right beside it, two mosaics.

They are part of 23 such markers on the  36 mile long Hambleton Hillside Mosaic Walk. Now, don’t worry!  I didn’t undertake the whole distance, and I stopped to admire a few cottages along the way.  And Boltby’s pretty 19th century chapel.

Beyond the village it’s a pleasant rolling landscape, with impressive Whitestone Cliff a distant backdrop.  Sheep gambol in the fields, and overhead, gliders ride the thermals.  I’d love to have their bird’s eye view.

Gormire Lake is accessible only on foot, and was formed after the last Ice Age, when an ice sheet covered the Vale of York.  I’ve previously only seen it from the cliff top, a dark and mysterious green expanse, surrounded by woodland. It’s not a place to go after dusk, for it’s said to be haunted by a knight who plunged from the cliff to his death. He was riding the white mare on whom the famous White Horse of Kilburn is thought to be based.


I never much like to retrace my steps, and so it was that I found tiny Thirlby.  The village nestles round a ford, always a source of delight to me.  No stepping stones for this one, just a huddle of pretty cottages.  Apparently James Herriot, veterinarian and author, once lived here.  Pear Tree House, home to a master cabinet maker, came as a real surprise.  Bob Hunter uses the symbol of a wren to distinguish his furniture.

Boltby and Thirlby are just a couple of miles apart, and easy walking.  A short drive away, the village of Kilburn was home to another, more famous, craftsman.  Robert Thompson, or Mouseman as he became known, came from a family ‘as poor as church mice’. Astonishingly, he taught himself the craft of carving and joinery.  I’ve long promised myself a visit.

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There are tearooms too, but you really don’t want to see another scone with jam and cream, do you?  Just picture it!

Have you seen Dawn’s A Lingering Look at Windows this month?


Jo’s Monday walk : Tall Ships Regatta at Blyth


You might know that I couldn’t stay away from a Tall Ships return to the north east of England.  I spent 4 happy days admiring them when the race came to Hartlepool in 2010.  This time it was the turn of Blyth, on the Northumberland coast.  I didn’t think you’d object to coming along and having a look over my shoulder.  I can promise you a little fun, and a pirate or two.

Although it’s only 50 miles north of me, and the birthplace of my late Aunt Isa, I have seldom visited Blyth.  I was surprised at the amount of information it generates in Wikipedia.  The name Blyth comes from the river of that name which flows through the town, blithe being an old English adjective meaning ‘merry’ or ‘gentle’.  Isa would have liked that.  Back in her day the town thrived on the industries of coal mining and shipbuilding. During the First and Second World Wars the local shipyards built many ships for the Royal Navy.  Among them, the first aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, in 1914.  Like many another, the town has struggled to reinvent itself for the changing times.  A visit from the Tall Ships is a real coup.

What a thing of beauty they are!  I knew my Dad would be bursting with pride at the Polish representatives.  Dar Młodzieży, The Gift of Youth, is a Polish sail training ship and the largest of the ships present.  It made me smile that comparatively tiny Fryderyk Chopin is the youngest of the Polish Tall Ships.  Let’s stroll along the Quayside and take a closer look.

The British contingent was headed up by Lord Nelson, the flagship for the Jubilee Sailing Trust.  Their mission is to promote the integration of people with disabilities, enabling them to meet the challenge of sailing tall ships on the open seas.   Quite a formidable challenge it seemed to me, as I looked up at all the ropes and pulleys.


Next in line I found Oosterschelde, the last remaining representative of a large fleet of schooners that sailed under the Dutch flag in the early 20th century.  The name comes from the eastern part of the River Schelde, which flows through Belgium and the Netherlands on its way to the sea.

Now I realise that not all of you share my fascination with ships.  Let me just introduce you to a pirate ship and then your attention can wander.  The Shtandart is a replica of the 1703 frigate built by Peter the Great, in St. Petersburg, Russia.  You can imagine the excitement that this one generates, with its swashbuckling appearance.  I think it had the longest queues for boarding.  And where there’s a pirate ship…  “arr, Jim lad!”


In addition to the amazing vessels themselves, every effort has been made to beguile and entertain.  There are fairgrounds, trading stalls, and a grand stage.  An invitation to observe the activities of Port of Tyne includes a wind hub and renewable energies centre, looking to the future.  A band marches smartly past, and I cease the opportunity to ‘guess the number of Lego bricks’.  A minibreak to Amsterdam surely has my name on it!

Strolling on into Ridley Park, I’m glad to see that the children have not been neglected.  Magicians perform their tricks, eliciting broad smiles from the parents and the usual serious attention of the youngsters.  I applaud the dexterity, and cheer along with the crowd.

But it’s impossible to ignore the presence of the great ladies.  Their masts loom on the waterfront and the crowd sways toward them. Some of the ships are open to the public for a few hours each day.  The Polish ships and Lord Nelson have already closed but I still have one option.


My Dutch friend comes with a bonus.  Tethered just behind her is the clipper Morgenster.  When I have looked my fill I can clamber over into the smaller ship.  I’m helped aboard by a smiling crew, and just look at this little beauty!


See what I mean about all those ropes and pulleys?  Morgenster has an interesting history.  She started life in 1919 as a herring lugger named Vrouw Maria.  In 1927 she was motorised and given her current name.  She worked as a fishing boat until 1970, when she was sold and used for sport fishing day trips.  Certification problems led to her being sold again, this time to a Rotterdam singer, who apparently wanted to use her for ether piracy.  Prosecution was unsuccessful but the ship was allowed to degenerate into a terrible condition.  Happily she was bought in 1983 and lovingly restored.  It would not be until 2008 that she made her way back to sea.  The life of a boat!  Many such facts are found in the event guide.

Nothing more to do now than absorb the atmosphere of so many people having a good time.  At the main stage the Irish Dance music has toes tapping.  Mine too!  It was a reluctant farewell from me.

I hope you didn’t mind my little bit of self indulgence.  The event guide has full details, just in case you can make it in time for the Parade of Sail this afternoon.  Torrential rain caused car park difficulties on Sunday but the skies are clear again today.  A cuppa now, I think!

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Many thanks to all of you who read and encourage me each week, not to mention those who walk with me.   As always I have some great walks to share.  If you’d like to join me at any time, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  You’ll be very welcome.  Just click on the logo above.


Starting with a bit more of Toronto from Jackie this week.  Quite a big bit, in fact!

High Park

Walking with tigers could be dangerous!  You’d better stay on the bus :

Periyar Tiger Reserve

Violet Sky has some quirky carvings for you this week.  You’ll like them!


Kathrin has a beautiful time spotting elks, and admiring ferns :

Fern Canyon, Humboldt County

This city has been waiting for me eternally!  I’ll get there one day, Biti!

Rome again

The rough with the smooth with Drake this week, and some superb shots :

Quiet flows the River Rhine

A perilously placed chateau caught my eye, over at Denzil’s place :

Modave: A Chateau and a Country Walk

Not so far away, Susan check’s out Amsterdam’s rival.  A good-looking city!

Walking Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Make time for a canalside stroll with Adam and Harriet?  I’ve done some of this one :

Kennet and Avon Canal – Bath to Bradford-on-Avon

And Becky just barely scraped in!  I haven’t even had time to read it yet!

Returning to Wells for an ecclesiastical stroll

Wishing you all a very happy week, and if you can make it to Blyth today I can highly recommend it.  Take care till next time!

Six word Saturday


‘You’ve been framed’ in South Shields!

Another glorious day in the north east of England.  Looking out from the promenade you can see Tynemouth Priory in the distance, caught in the frame.  The Tall Ships have arrived in Blyth, just a little further up the coast.  Exciting times!

Here in the UK it looks like it could be a sunny Bank Holiday weekend.   Have a good one, everybody!  Sharing my six words with Cate and the Daily Post challenge.