A sheep finds scant grazing amongst the sandstone boulders below Roseberry Topping. Sandstone which, according to geologists, were laid down at the bottom of a tropical sea 180 million years ago.
The Golden Hour is that hour prior to sunset. It’s said to be the best lighting for photography, reddish hues and long shadows. So an evening wander up to Great Ayton Moor. I had in mind an old disused sandstone quarry which I figure would catch the evening rays. It did, for a while, then the sun dropped behind a bank of cloud and the occasion was lost. The quarry has no name but from this angle I see a gorilla’s face looking out to Captain Cook’s Monument in the distance.
Late Sunday afternoon. The tourists are departing the honey pot of Malham Cove but the climbers show no sign of calling it a day. I was amazed at the number there. Many were using long telescopic poles to click their krabs and ropes onto anchor bolts set in the limestone that would otherwise have been out of reach. I must be out of touch.
I was browsing the 1857 Ordnance Survey 6″ map and spotted a “Summer House” marked on Gold Hill, a 1050′ ring contour between Carlton and Live Moors. Intriguing and so the target for today. The route entailed following a non existent Public Footpath around the edge of the escarpment. The summer house however has long since gone. Just an overgrown depression, a few dressed stones and the enclosing dry stone wall, now in ruins. But it would have had grand views, over the Cleveland plain and Little Bonny Cliff and Great Bonny Cliff woods. Summerhouse Crag, directly below the site, is rarely visited and takes its name from the lost building.
Millstone grit, a layer of hard sandstone stretching from Edale to Richmond; laid down 320 million years ago when half of Yorkshire was covered by a vast river delta. The millstone grit lies on top of softer layers of shale and on the moor edges, such as here on Ilkley Moor, the shales erode away causing the gritstone to fracture along vertical joints. Gigantic blocks may break off, like the Calf, and slide down the hill.
Beacon Scar provides excellent climbing but the loose shale layer above makes topping off a little tricky. The sandstone crag towers out of the dense wet Arncliffe Wood and offers fine views across the Vale of Mowbray to the Yorkshire Dales.
Lots of climbers tempted by the early morning spring sunshine reach the summit of Roseberry. By lunch time clouds were darkening but any rain held off.
Walter White spent two hours on the summit in 1858 during his grand tour of Yorkshire. He wrote that the name Roseberry comes from ross, a heath or moor, and burg meaning a fortress. The modern thinking is that the name means the hill of the Viking god Odin.