This must be a contender for the most ugliest access track on the North York Moors. An ugly yellow scar crossing the delightful valley of Tripsdale, an offshoot of Bilsdale. Tripsdale and the surrounding moors are part of the Nawton Towers Estate, sometimes referred to as the Bransdale Moor Estate. In the late 1970s the estate began to allow “public access” in return for various tax breaks, namely relief from inheritance tax. That agreement was signed by the owner of the estate, Lady Clarissa Collin.

Fast forward 12 years to 1990 when twelve major North York Moors land owners, including Lady Clarissa Collin, wrote to the National Park Authority saying that access to the heather moors must be restricted to an “improved footpath system”. I’m not sure what resulted from this, but notices began to appear instructing that walkers to keep to established footpaths. It must have been around this time that the track across was upgraded.

But of course this is all now history. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 designated all moorland as Open Access land. However Open Access land does have some restrictions, dogs are only allowed on Public Rights of Way and bikes and horses must stay on Public Bridleways for instance. It would be interesting to see if the “rights” established by the 1978 inheritance tax break agreement are still enforceable.

Moaning and groaning

A dreich day. Rain and cloud and windy too. Climbing Ryston Bank lanky larches sway and moan with the wind.

Roseberry Well

The exact location of this spring high on the summit of Roseberry Topping and intrigued me for years. It’s marked on the Ordnance Survey map as very near the rock outcrop on the bottom right of the photo. Yet it’s barely damp and hardly the spring where the young Prince Oswy drowned having been taken to the highest hill in the kingdom by his mother to escape a prophecy that he would drown on his second birthday. But I guess the mining activities and rockfalls could have altered the water table.

Below is Roseberry Common with Guisborough in the distance.

Half an hour before sunrise

A cracking sunrise this morning, this is about half an hour before the sun will rise over Easby Moor with Capt. Cook’s Monument. But deterioration in the weather is due. By this evening the moors are blanketed with drizzle and low cloud.

Monument Mine

An overview of Ayton Ironstone Mine or Monument Mine as it was known locally owing to its close proximity to Capt. Cook’s Monument. I’ve posted a photo before ( The mine closed in 1931, several concrete foundations still remain hidden amongst the gorse and bracken. I am standing above the main drift of which there is now no trace. The are is extensively used for motor bike scrambling. In the far distance, across the flat lands, is the familiar skyline of the Cleveland Hills.

Mount Grace Priory

Photographs of Mount Grace Priory are usually of the iconic ruined church tower in this the best preserved Carthusian monastery in Britain if not Europe, an order where the monks lived a solitary life as hermits. Indeed such my last photo, taken two years ago. So for this time I have chosen a photo is of the west facade of the medieval guest house, built in the 17th century as a private residence and extended in 1900/01 and incorporating the shell of the monastery’s guest house.

Mount Grace Priory is a National Trust property that is managed by English Heritage. The original guest accommodation at the monastery consisted of a three storey building with four guest cells on the ground floor, and suites of rooms on the first and second floors for more important guests. The 17th century house was probably built by Conyers, Lord Darcy, who acquired Mount Grace by marriage in 1616.

The property was brought in 1898 by Sir Lowthian Bell, an iron and steel magnate, who had been urged by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings to protect the fragile ruins of the priory and the 17th-century mansion. Under his ownership the ruins were stabilised and the house remodelled in the Arts and Crafts style. In 1953 Mount Grace Priory was accepted by the Treasury in lieu of death duties and given to the National Trust.


The Norwegians have let me down. I usually find their weather forecast more reliable and less pessimistic than the Met. Office‘s. So with clear skies forecasted, a repeat of the cracking sunsets we have had this week was likely so with high hopes I opted for a late outing up to Little Roseberry.

Twilight, or evenfall or crepuscular, or just plain dusk, a magical time, that hour between sunset and true darkness. The Scots call is the gloaming, immortalised in Sir Harry Lauder’s music hall love song “Roamin’ In The Gloamin'”.

Roseberry Topping’s silhouette is unmistakeable; the lights of Middlesbrough were actually more pronounced than captured by the photo.