Cliffs below Cowbar Lane

Had a pleasant walk along the coast from Easington through Staithes and Port Mulgrave before heading back inland through Roxby. It was somewhat marred by the sight of fly tipping over the cliffs at Cowbar Lane near Staithes. This is a National Park. Staithes is one of the Park’s honeypots. It is on the Cleveland Way, a popular long distance footpath. What mindless morons did this? I feel utterly sick.

Steam at Battersby

A few times a year preserved steam engines use the Esk Valley railway on the way to the North York Moors Railway at Goathland. Locos are frequently hired or loaned between the country’s preserved railways.

At Battersby Junction station trains from Middlesbrough have to reverse out to continue to Whitby; and vice versa. That’s no problem for modern diesel trains but steam engines normally have to uncouple and move to other end using the parallel track at the station. The whole process takes about twenty minutes making it a popular venue for rail enthusiasts.

Tonight however the train was “top and tailed” by two steam engines, one at the front pulling, the other at the rear pushing. This engineer is now bringing up the rear for the final journey to Goathland. All the crew had to do was change the white headlight for a red one and it was on its was. A matter of minutes.

I’m reliably informed by a very knowledgeable gentleman that this is a K1 Class 2-6-0 with the name “Lord of the Isles” and that it is to take part in an event this weekend on the North York Moors Railway to mark the 50th anniversary of the closing of the line during the infamous Beeching Axe.

Easby Moor

Easby Moor is perhaps better known as the moor where Capt.Cooks Monument stands. Most visitors climb straight to the summit unaware of the drama which happened where this photo was taken just a couple of hundred metres north west of the it.

The winter of 1940 was particularly bad. Snow, sleet and freezing fog lasted most of January and into February. At 4:10 on the morning of Sunday 11th February 1940 a Lockheed Hudson aircraft took off from Thornaby Airfield to search for German minesweepers operating off the Danish coast. Five minutes later the plane crashed on Easby Moor killing three of the four man crew and injuring the fourth. Ice had formed on the wings causing the aircraft to fail to gain sufficient height to clear the hills. The aircraft clipped the escarpment then ploughed through the larch plantation shown in the photo before coming to rest. The gap between the trees is approximately 60 feet corresponding with the Hudson’s wingspan of 65½ feet. The aircrew who died were Flying Officer Tom Parker, Sergeant Harold Berksley and Corporal Norman Drury. Leading Aircraftman Athol Barker survived but was later shot down three years later whilst flying over Germany. The four unexploded bombs that the Hudson carried were later detonated by the RAF creating a small pond nearby.

In 2003 a memorial was erected on the main track up to the monument.

Dunstanburgh Castle

Another day, another castle. Dunstanburgh is 14th century, built by Thomas of Lancaster who was executed and the property forfeited to the Crown. Its been a ruin since the 1500s and today is a national trust property.

Bamburgh Castle

Staying on a farm about two kilometres from Bamburgh. The castle dominated the skyline. So after dinner decided to get a bit closer. Ended up underneath it.

Parts of the castle date from the Norman times but underwent major expansion under Henry II. The castle boasts excellent air quality as there is no industry nearby. The same can’t be said about the light pollution. Must have a fantastic electricity bill.

High Cup Gill

Across the Pennines to High Cup Nick above Appleby to see the Great Whin Sill, an intrusion of volcanic dolerite between limestone layers. Well I would have seen it if it had been clear. I managed to get this snap of High Cup Gill before I climbed into the cloud.

Heather Burning

In all directions plumes of smoke can be seen on the moors on a good day at this time of the year. The gamekeepers are burning the heather.

Grouse feed on heather. Young shoots provide the best nutritional value but grouse require taller heather for nesting and cover. To provide a managed supply of young heather patches of heather are periodically burnt. This burning cycle, lasting between 7 and 25 years result in the familiar mosaic of colours on heather moorland. The Scots call this muirburn.

Heather can only be burnt by law between 1st October and 10th April when the heather is dry but the undying peat is wet. If done correctly the heather roots are undamaged by the fire and the seeds quickly germinates. But I guess any self sown trees and shrubs such as birch and rowan will be destroyed by the fire so maintaining the North York Moors iconic heather moorland.

I spotted this fire close to the Kildale to Westerdale road on a ridge of moorland called Kempswithen.