I don’t want to sound disrespectful but I was rather dismayed to discover this celebratory inscription on a sandstone outcrop near Captain Cook’s Monument on Easby Moor. It’s very obtrusive, with six inch high capital letters, so overall quite an area.
There seems to be a modern predilection for public memorials to passed loved ones. I know of a whole poem carved in a crag face near Boulby, plaques bolted to rock or screwed into trees are becoming commonplace. There are four memorial benches on Roseberry. How many more can the hill take? Shrines are everywhere too, with bouquets of flowers often still wrapped in their cellophane. At popular beauty spots too there are deposits of little piles of ashes, not scattered to the four winds. Until very recently on Roseberry there were ashes still in the polythene bag supplied by the crematorium. And at this time of the year there seems to be an increasing number of clumps of (non-native) daffodils.
But of course commemoration is not a modern idea. The inscription in the photograph is overlooked by the 19th century monument to Captain James Cook. And of course the four thousand Bronze Age burial mounds that are known to exist on the moors can not be ignored. So perhaps in the past it was always those with power who could make a lasting mark of commemoration.
An early start on a frosty morning with cloudless skies. Roseberry summited as the first rays of sunshine are reaching the summerhouse below. Cliff Ridge and Newton Woods are still in shade.
A damp miserable morning so I will have to resort to an old favourite. Is this graffiti? Is this vandalism? Questions I’ve touched on before.
Behind Dove Cottage in the Lake District, one time home of the poet William Wordsworth there is a rock with WW inscribed on it. There is also DW and JW, his siblings, Dorothy and John. MH, Mary Hutchinson, Wordsworth’s future wife and STC, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, his best friend. Academics wax lyrical about these initials. They “celebrate a code of the private known to a few” and “a kind of possession of the local that strengthens their bonds as a group. The significance of these markings rely on the fact that people won’t know them. It’s exactly a literal meeting place, and it shows how they use this landscape. But it also becomes symbolic of their friendship. The place becomes invested with emotion.” And on and on.
Can the same things be said about the graffiti artist who spray paints “Baz woz ere” on the rock face.
The Dove Cottage rock incidentally was originally by the side of Thirlmere and was blasted out the way by Manchester Water Authority during the construction of the reservoir. The pieces were salvaged by Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of the founding members of the National Trust, and brought back to Dove Cottage. In 1984 they were meticulously put back together.
My turn to take the dog out this morning so out early from a damp and misty Great Ayton, the sea fret of yesterday still persisting. Climbing Roseberry the sun began to appear until a cloudless blue sky at the summit with the Cleveland plain hidden below. This is a view to Capt. Cook’s Monument on Easby Moor.
Art or graffiti? I’ve posed that question before. I know nothing about this face that’s carved on the crag on Roseberry. I’m not even sure if it supposed to be a man or a woman or how old it is but it does seem to have required more work than the usual modern scratchings. There’s a bit of damage, the nose has clearly lost its tip, which gives the carving a crude finish. There appears to be a cross on a hat which reminds me of a bishop’s mitre. Or maybe a crown. Although I can not be sure, the face is carved on a face which I think would have been buried prior to the landslip of 1912.
What story is behind the carving? There’s certainly a few hours work there. Someone has gone to quite a bit of trouble to create it.
So is it art or 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.
With rain forecast for the day I headed for Garfitt Gap below the Wainstones to try and photograph some Bronze Age cup and ring marked boulders. The boulders were easy to locate but the markings were not. The book I have has some drawings showing some intricate markings. Seems a bit of wishful thinking to me. A disappointment then but I did manage to photograph this piece of art on the way back. I know its not a Venus de Milo and not quite an antiquity but it is curiously pleasing. On a crag overlooking Hasty Bank.