As the early morning clouds swirled around the tops of the Cleveland Hills the ubiquitous yellow fields of rapeseed dominated the view onto the plain below.
Rapeseed was originally only grown for machine oil as it was too bitter for human consumption but new strains developed in the 70s made the oil more palatable. In 2013 2.1 million tons were produced in the UK, just under 3% of the world production. Nowadays it is grown for animal feed, biofuel and of course cooking oil.
A lovely morning. Sun shining, fluffy clouds in various shades of white and a few patches of snow remaining from yesterday on the Cleveland Hills.
So to get me in the mood for the Tour de Yorkshire which is coming through the village tomorrow, the plan today would be a bike ride. I thought up Turkey Nab, along the old mineral railway to Blakey Ridge and back via Westerdale and Kildale.
There are two problems with cycling. The first is that the bike inevitably needs a good clean afterwards. Running is so easy. Dunk your shoes in a bucket of water and jiggle them around a bit. Cleaning a bike is much more fiddly.
The second problem with biking is to do with that invention of Mr Dunlop, the pneumatic tyre. Such a fantastic invention was the pneumatic tyre, but they do suffer from one big drawback: they puncture. And it’s Sod’s law that they’ll puncture at the worst possible time.
My puncture occurred near the top of the Ingleby Incline. No problem, I had a spare inner tube. But on setting off Sod’s Law struck again and to my dismay I discovered the front tyre had punctured too. So a choice. Patch it up using a freezing cold, mucky puddle or retreat pushing the bike off the moors.
Such is the convenience of modern technology I opted for the easiest option and phoned for a lift but that did mean an hour’s walk back to Ingleby Greenhow. I must be going soft.
So for today’s photo. It’s taken from Ingleby Moor on the way down and shows the view south along the Cleveland Hills.
Eighty years ago today, somewhere in deepest Northamptonshire, the very first triangulation pillar was erected at the start of a project known as the Retriangulation of Great Britain. The project was to take 26 years by which time over six thousand pillars had been erected, all over the country, on the highest points of the land; although that is all relative, there is one trig point, at Little Ouse in Norfolk, that is actually one metre below average sea level.
The iconic trig pillar was designed by Brigadier Martin Hotine CMG CBE to provide a stable base for the Ordnance Survey surveyors’ theodolites. All materials were carried up and the survey itself could take several days and obviously depended on good visibility to the two adjacent trig points in the triangle.
This trig pillar is located at the highest point of Carlton Bank which has been variously mapped as Brown Hill and Howe Moor but TrigPointingUK, the authoritative website for trig point bagging enthusiasts, refers to it as Whorlton Moor. It stands next to an 18th century boundary stone.
A surprise covering of overnight snow on the Cleveland Hills. This menhir or standing stone is on the Cleveland Way as it climbs Round Hill on Urra Moor from Clay Bank. The slope on the left partly covered by mist is named on modern maps as Botton Head but on the 1857 map it is Burton Head.
A dusting of snow last night. This is the view east with Little Roseberry on the right, Guisborough on the left and with the North Sea beyond.
Oakdale lies a mile or so south of Osmotherley. The long distance footpath, The Cleveland Way, goes down this path in the foreground and to the right of the reservoir in the distance. But if you last walked this route more than two years ago you may not recognise it for the reservoir has been substantially reduced in size. Yorkshire Water have spent £1.3m decommissioning it by removing the dam wall and landscaping leaving a small pond that will be managed for wildlife.
There were originally two reservoirs in Oakdale. The lower one was built in the late 19th century to supply water to Northallerton and district. Its water level was reduced in the 1990s and is now too a wildlife pond. The upper reservoir must have been built much later in the 1950s as it’s not shown on the OS Six-inch map published 1952. The photo was taken just above a spring known as Jenny Brewster’s Spring but who Jenny Brewster was I have no idea.
Apparently the whole country has lain under a blanket of cloud today; according to the BBC News. But here in the North East there was a blue sky. This is from the nose of Carr Ridge looking down onto Clay Bank or Hagg’s Gate as it used to be called.