Roseberry Art

A really good piece of work by Rachel Lonsdale, simple but effective. But I’m not convinced Roseberry needs it. I fear another step towards turning the National Park into a theme park. The idea is to discourage graffitists but with the artwork only on one side, there are three other blank canvasses. It is only a matter of time. Ste and Sarah have already left their mark.

Hasty Bank

An unexpected surprise as the sun broke beneath the bank of thick cloud that had covered Cleveland all afternoon. The light lasted a few minutes before the sun sank below the horizon. I happened to be at Bank Foot at the time, near Ingleby Greenhow.

Hasty Bank map

Hutton Moor

This stand of larch has always intrigued me. It first appears on the 1952 edition of the Ordnance Survey map, is circular and isolated on the heather moor. It can not be self-seeded. Who planted it? And why?

Hutton Moor map


Back from two weeks in the Outer Hebrides and already planning next year’s trip but as John Denver sang “hey, it’s good to be back home again”. This is the eastern branch of Raisdale with Beak Hills farm below the narrow ridge of Cold Moor or, as it was once called, Mount Vittoria.

Raisdale map


A still misty morning on Loch Lomond. Inchmurrin is the largest island on the loch. The name is derived from St. Mirin, an Irish monk who came to Scotland in the first century. The island was the site of a chapel dedicated to the saint.

Gearraidh Lotalgear

Gearraidh Lotalgear

Compared to west coast the east coast of Harris is rugged and harsh, lacking the fertile machair found on the western coast of the islands. Even today with no white sandy beaches few tourists make the 6 mile detour along the windy hilly single track road. Gearraidh Lotalgear was an outying settlement of Rhenigidale, today a community of a handful of cottages. Prior to the clearances there were just a couple of shepherding families at Rhenigidale reached by a 3½ mile mountainous walk from Tarbet. The track can be seen snaking around the hillside. When the landowners cleared the western lands for more sheep some of the evicted settled in communities like Rhenigidale swelling its population to over a 100 by the 1880s. Others went further afield, emigrating to Nova Scotia. Those left supplemented what meagre produce the land could provide with by fishing for the herring.

A century later the population had shrunk to 10 and Rhenigidale was on the verge of total abandonment. There was still no road to the rest of the island. It was not until 1989 that a road was constructed, and Rhenigidale became the last community in Scotland to be connected to the road network. The population is now at around 20. Gearraidh is a Gaelic word meaning the outer pastures. Its handful of stone ruins and lazy beds, now home to sheep, provide an evocative glimpse into past lives.

Gearraidh Lotalgear map


Tràigh na Beirigh

On the west coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, a two kilometre stretch of golden sands with hardly a footprint on it. ‘S math sin.

‘S math sin is a Gaelic phrase that found its into English. ‘S math sin is pronounced smashing and that exactly what it means.