Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tyne Tour 2012

November sees the annual River Tyne descent.

Here's me.......

I paddled from Barrisford to Hexham... grade ii + III in the warden's gorge.
Here's a video of me half heartedly trying to get onto a surf wave at the bottom, but too many kayakers kept coming down and crashing into me.....

Monday, September 10, 2012

Inscribed Stones

After reading "An illustrated guide to the stone antiquities on the north yorkshire moors by E. Ogilvie and another booklet by Stanhope White I went in search of two inscribed by Thomas Harwood at Glaisdale.

The first at NZ742030 was easily found at the start of the bridleway leading up to Red House.
The inscription now partially obscured reads; "Francis Hartus to repare this yat and yatstead T.H.1737"

This second inscribed stone was much harder to find as both authors gave wrong grid references. The stone is not
propped against the wall as one author claims but is a part of a large stone in the base of the wall. at NZ 740033.

apparently this is a record of a legal trasaction about the right of way for his friend John Campion who farmed at High Hardhill.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Grey Towers Mansion - Nunthorpe

Just over the border in Cleveland is this gothic mansion. At first glance it looks like any victorian building in proximity to any other industrial building of that time, dark and dirty. But this is an illusion. For the building material is unique and comes from the Whinstone Ridge/dyke which cuts across the North Yorkshire Moors and was widely used for setts - cobble stones! Those cobbles along the high street in Guisborough are also of the same material. It's geological name is Basalt, a very hard and almost black volcanic rock.
Built in the 1870's for the man who designed and built the tay bridge, it also became the home of another industrialist, Mr Dorman of Dorman & Long fame. It is now converted into a number of flats.

Here, in this close up you can see the sandstone quoin stones at the edge and the much smaller and darker whinstone/basalt.

(See also Round and About The North Yorkshire Moors Voll II by Tom Scott Burns & Martin Rigg, page 120)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Esklets

The Esklets, four km south of Westerdale in the NYMNP, is well known for being the source of the River Esk.

There used to be a farm there too. Here's my picture taken in about 1975. It was knocked down and the rubble used to create a farm track in 1978. I met the owner as he admired his new track and asked him why?, and he told told me so many people were using it, it was dangerous. So he knocked it! He also told me it hadn't been lived in since WWII, which like many buildings on the edges of the moors had been evacuated to allow the military use the moors for live firing ranges.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Blacksmith's shop

Hidden away in darkest north Yorkshire in the little Swaledale village of Thwaite is one of the few working traditional blacksmiths I know. This one has been going for many years.

The ancient door has the marks of many tests of the blacksmith's work. Mostly branding irons used to mark the horns of sheep and formerly cattle too to identify the owners in days before tags.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Byways, Greenlanes, B.o.a.ts etc., etc.,

I'm sure many of you use what are now termed as 'Other routes with public access' on the current series of 1:25:000 maps, and 'Byway open to all traffic' on the older 1:50,000 series of maps. These are marked as a series of green dots on the 1:25,000 series and on my older Landranger 1:50,000 maps as red crosses on the key and red dots on the map(!). They are sometimes called green lanes.

On older maps these were shown where they could be seen as either tracks, lanes or simply unmarked if the OS could make nothing out on their surveys with no indication of whether there was a public right of way.

I'm sure there'll be a slight variation in some counties perhaps but in Yorkshire and most other countries they are the responsibility of the highway authority and not the county/town council/national parks which look after the footpaths and bridleways.

In many areas these other routes are largely unmarked, unloved and not looked after by the highways department. In Yorkshire they are at the bottom priority and nothing is spent on them. In fact our highways department have allowed some of these routes to become diverted by private landowners. Twice recently a private house owner has told me, "We don't mind you coming this way as long as you go around the outside of the garden". This from a doctor whose pretty farm house has/had a byeway crossing the middle of what was once his access to his barns/fields.

On Sunday I was out and another old farm, now a done up second home had a sign up stating that the bridge over the stream near their property was; "Private and no access to the green lane". On accessing the green lane it was impossible to walk most of it as it was blocked by discarded junk (corrugated steel, rolls of old barbed wire etc and blackthorn/briars/nettles everywhere)

The vast majority here are unmarked and on complaining about these issues to our highways department have been told variously that, "We haven't the manpower/money/resources or simply that it wasn't an issue!

Can I ask that if you come across any problems to e-mail your highways department and complain before these routes are simply taken into private ownership and before it becomes to difficult to reverse the situation?


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Canoeing the R.Esk

The River Esk flowing into Whitby is my 'local' river.  Plenty of grade i/ii/iii/iv water.  But today it's the Grosmont to Sleights section grade ii.  A couple of hours easy paddling on my own (not counting the dog!)

Drop the canoe off at the bridge in Grosmont. Drive back to Sleights.  Jog with dog  back to canoe (45 minutes along the old trod)

 The ford at Grosmont shows just under two foot of water.  A good depth
 And here at the launch point you can clearly see the dark peat coloured water from the Murk Esk joing the main river
 There's plenty of smallish rapids all relatively easy to paddle
 The wildlife includes lizards sunbathing on rocks, dippers and the odd otter
 Jilly looks for rabbits and squirrels on the banks
 The Environment Agency has done put small stone weirs in place and they make excellent sport and probably a bit of surfing too.
And this is Sleights weir showing a good curtain of water.  Don't canoe over this. You never know what's stuck in the bottom.  This was where I got out!