Monday, 31 January 2011

Cold, frosty, misty morning

A cold, frosty, misty, morning on the Yorkshire Wolds today. A great sight to kickstart the week.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

A sure sign spring is just round the corner (Cute Lamb Pictures!)

Today, as I watched some Lambs gamboling around their field it reminded me that spring is now not far away. New birth and growth will soon be taking over in the countryside from the death and decay of a harsh winter

When I got out of the car and approached the fence the Lamb's playfulness stopped and their youthful inquisitiveness matched by the protective wariness of their mothers drew them towards me.  Before long they had return to  play and I went on my way looking forward to spring.

A touch of colour on a grey day at Great Givendale

Today was a grey day on the Yorkshire Wolds. A leaden grey sky damping the spirits and draining the colour from the landscape until we passed by the head of the valley known as Great Givendale. A series of ponds sits in the valley bottom and springing from it was this dash of colour.

Great Givendale was featured in a book by Richard Fuller, the farmer of the land, called "Givendale - A farm in harmony with nature".  The book tells the tale of the dale through the seasons. Richard Fuller is, I believe, the father of well known wildlife artist Robert Fuller who has a gallery a few miles north of here.

Great Givendale is well worth a walk through whether it be Summer or Winter and can be incorporated in to a circular walk from Millington. Refreshments can be had at the Gait Inn or Ramblers Rest Cafe in Millington.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

New Moon Rising

It's times like tonight when I wish I had a bigger lens on my camera that could capture sights like tonight's moonrise. As the moon rose in the east tonight from behind a bank of cloud on the horizon it was a truly inspiring sight. It had a pale yellow hue. I stood awhile and watched as the it gently glided form behind the cloud. The rising of the moon is the trigger for activities in nature and a marker of the start of events in the human calendar. 

Did my ancestors on the Yorkshire Wolds who observed sights like tonight without our scientific knowledge look to the horizon with a sense of fear believing that a certain style of moonrise  heralded doom? Or was a big moon a sign of increased influence on fertility and a benefit to society to be worshiped. The amount of tumuli on the Wolds suggest that my ancestors found something here to influence their worship. Maybe it was the views to the east as they saw the moon rise from the east over the coastal Holderness plain

Monday, 3 January 2011

Yorkshire Wolds Walk - 1st of 2011 - Thixendale to Wharram Percy

Christmas and New Year excesses completed it was time to get some exercise and visit one of my favourite parts of the Yorkshire Wolds. Thixendale - -  is a small village that nestles at the bottom of a steep sided dale. A number of dales come together here and from whichever direction you approach you'll have a steep descent and then steep climb out at some point.

As we approached Thixendale the amount of lying snow still remaining was quite surprising considering that at home the snow has been completely gone for a few days. Packed ice on  the roads gave an indication of how bad driving conditions must have been.

We parked at the east end of the village quite close to the village pub the "Cross Keys."  The pub is quite small and sits down a short side street and could easily be missed. We'd hoped to sample some of the beers on offer at the end of our walk but as we passed we noted that it would be shut by the time we returned - Sunday Opening Hours 12pm to 3pm and 7pm to 10.30pm.

Court, Honey & Back Dales
 Leaving the pub and village behind we headed north east along the bottom of Water Dale for a few hundred yards  to the point where it was joined by Court Dale. The path then led up the side of Court Dale and once at the top we headed north west. From this point we could see down and across to some classic Yorkshire Wolds countryside - gentle rolling hills interrupted by steep dry valleys. At the north end of Court Dale the path turned north east and we left the the dale following a track that passed through an area planted for game cover. As the track twisted and turned over an area known as the Warrens we had to pick our way across rutted hard frozen snow. The route soon led to the top of the impressive aptly named Deep Dale that Wharram Percy sits at the top of.

Deep Dale 
We followed the path along the top of Deep Dale to the east and then north as the dale swung round revealing Wharram Percy in the distance at it's head. Turning north exposed us face on to a biting north wind that must have caused a wind chill several degrees below zero. 

Descending in to Wharram Percy

As we reached the far end of Deep Dale we could see down in to Wharram Percy - the site of a medieval village that was cleared by the local landowners when they wanted to use the area for sheep grazing in an early version of the Highland clearances.

Wharram Percy
Extensive archaeological excavations occurred at Wharram Percy between the 1950s and 1990s and a number of information boards describe their findings and the re-settlement of the area which led to the addition of the cottages and now ruined church. A small stream emerges from springs at the bottom of the dale. In the past this served as a source of power and food by being dammed to create fishing ponds. 

With the short days of January we couldn't linger long otherwise we'd have been completing the walk slipping around on ice in the dark. We reversed our route and arrived back at dusk after a bracing near six mile walk that blew the Christmas and New Year cobwebs away.