One of my DoE students asked me at the weekend where my favourite place to walk is. I replied with some naff comment that it was the last place I walked. But it got me thinking. For sure I live for the moment of where I happen to be but to return to my home hills after a spell away is particularly comforting and warm even when being battered by a wintry April shower.
The Australian Aboriginals and the Native American Indians both have their scared places. Such do not seem to appear in the British psyche; or perhaps they did long, long ago but have since been built on by churches, henges and tumuli. The Swedes have a nice idea, a personal special place: smultronställe which literally translates as “a place of wild strawberries”, I like that concept, an idyll to return to for solace and relaxation, where stress or sadness evaporate.
Now where is my smultonställe?
Ok I may be jumping to the wrong conclusion here. Less than a month ago the gatepost on the left was toppled along with a section of the dry stone wall reportedly by two or three motorcyclists and a quad biker. The damage then was quickly repaired by the National Trust. This scene awaited me this morning. Too much of a coincidence? It may have been purely accidental. Having stood for two hundred years maybe a sheep tried to scale it. Not as daft as it sounds, I’ve seen sheep atop of walls in the Lake District.
Blue skies, a little hazy perhaps but the best view of Roseberry in a week. In the foreground its little brother, Little Roseberry. More of a spur than a hill. Its small knoll doesn’t register a ring contour on the map. The bank of cloud to the west looked ominous but the forecasters said sunshine all day and they were right.
I woke up to rain this morning. Real rain at that. The sort that gets you wet. I had a lift to Guisborough planned and a run back. By the time I was dropped off it had stopped raining and by the time I climbed to Highcliff Nab the sun were breaking out leaving wisps of cloud below in the valley below.
Climbing Highcliff I spotted a new mountain bike track through an area of clear felling. That’ll do. At the top a 180º vista I have never seen before. And then a rainbow over the Eston Hills accompanied me all the way to Roseberry Topping. Several photos in the bag.
And then the pièce de résistance. On Little Roseberry, a brocken spectre. In 64 years of hill walking it’s the first one I can recall seeing. Utter magic.
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.
Descending the Topping. Little Roseberry on the right.
A super morning. It’s great to see blue skies again after several overcast days. The four finger signpost is a recent addition, very tastefully done but I wonder if it is really necessary. Another piece of furniture on the hills.