“SS” Castle, Lazenby Bank

A Grade II listed building, hidden away in the woods of Lazenby Bank.

Known locally as SS Castle on account of the ‘S’ wall supports, it was built in 1876 to house a Gubial fan to provide ventilation for the ironstone mines of Bolckow, Vaughan and Company. The Eston mines were the largest in the Cleveland area with production ceasing in 1949. With a 30 foot diameter fan the volume of air drawn must have been quite something.

The building is currently up for sale but as a listed building there’s not much that can be done with it. I’ve posted the photo in black and white as it makes the graffiti and litter less obvious.


Little Blakey Howe

A bronze age burial mound, or “round barrow” on Blakey Ridge above Rosedale. The stone was erected as a boundary stone in the eighteenth century and is probably a reused standing stone of older antiquity.

The contrails high amongst the cirrus clouds can be used as a navigation aid. “Contrails” is an American word, a shortening of condensation trails. Most commercial airlines fly in a north west/south east direction in this part of the UK. But as contrails will only be seen when skies are clear and the sun is shining, it’s not that much use. Fairly useless really. More useful is a means of weather forecasting. Contrails only form when there is moisture in the air and moisture in the high atmosphere foretells of a worsening in the weather. The high cirrus clouds indicate the same thing, the approach of a weather front.

Notice also that one side of the contrails is smudged indicating the high level winds are blowing across them. Comparing the high level winds with the surface winds can also be used to forecast the weather. Stand with your back to the (surface) wind; if the high level wind is moving left to right, there may be an approaching warm front and the weather will deteriorate. Right to left: cold air is coming and the weather is likely to improve. Same direction: no imminent change.

Saltburn Scar

Ended up in Saltburn this morning. The tide was out exposing the mudstone scar littered with boulders of harder rock. The mudstone was formed when Saltburn was at the bottom of a shallow sea 188 million years ago and much closer to the equator than it is now so the temperature would have been quite different from todays bitterly cold winds.

Solar Eclipse, Capt. Cooks Monument

Roseberry Topping summit was heaving this morning waiting for the eclipse. Easby Moor wasn’t too busy but it had clouded up by the time I got there. The cloud meant I didn’t need the fancy glasses to see the crescent but the light was diffused so it didn’t get particularly dark. It certainly got colder.

Wanted a photo with the monument and the sun in. It’s there somewhere. Smaller than I remember.

Victorian Graffiti

Roseberry Topping gained its distinctive shape on a May night in 1912 when an land slump caused the cliff to collapse. At the time the ironstone mining was blamed but I understand that it is now thought to have been just a natural occurrence.

But prior to 1912 the temptation to graffiti the summit sandstone was just as strong as it is now. This Victorian graffiti is now at the bottom of the cliff amongst the rock debris. Some of it is upside down.

A misty morning with the summit barely visible.

Throckley Aqueduct

The second day of a two day residential for Year 4 pupils from a school in Lanchester. Next to the farm near Heddon-on-the-Wall where we were staying was this feature marked as an aqueduct on the map. I took the photo early this hazy morning before there was any movement from the kids’ wigwams. It turns out it dates from 1869 and was built to provide a water supply to Victorian Newcastle.

The aqueduct carried water from Whittle Dene Reservoir to filter beds at Throckley for the Newcastle & Gateshead Water Company. Nowadays the water is piped on a route closer to the Tyne. It’s amazing what you can find by Googling. It’s interesting that the one of the initial needs for a reliable water supply was from the fire insurance companies and not for clean, safe water for the populace.

Knag Burn Gate, Hadrians Wall

A day on the wall near Housesteads.