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.
For the third time in the month I’ve ventured into a church. This time the Church of St Lawrence in East Rounton, to look at the memorial window dedicated to Gertrude Bell, the renown archaeologist, writer, mountaineer and the ‘Queen of the Desert’. For a potted history of her life see here. The window was designed by Douglas Strachan, an artist specialising in stained glass. The window has two lights but to me it is the sandstone jambs and lintel which are the most striking with their Arabic inscriptions, believed to be a poem by Hafiz which was translated by Bell. The stained glass depicts various aspects of Bell’s life: Magdalen College, Oxford, where she studied; the Matterhorn; a view of Khadimain, Baghdad, to represent her contribution in the creation of Iraq; and a camel train symbolising her wide travels throughout Arabia.
A dreich day. Zero visibility on the hills all day so a photo in the village today. This willow sculpture was made in 2014 to commemorate those Ayton men who were lost in the Great War. On the 100th anniversary of each of their deaths a woollen medal, knitted by the Great Ayton Knit and Knatter group, is pinned on to the sculpture.
The topograph on the summit of Cringle Moor. Even with the clear skies I couldn’t make out Penshaw Monument yet alone Cross Fell. The plume of smoke must be the Wilton International chemical site (ex ICI Wilton).
In case you’re wondering Alec Falconer was a founder member in 1912 of the Middlesbrough Rambling Club which in those days went by the rather long winded name of the “Middlesbrough and District Countrywide Holidays Association and Holiday Fellowship Rambling Club”. Phew, what a mouthful. Alec was also an active campaigner for the rights of walkers under the pseudonym of “The Ramber” and was instrumental in the creation of the long distance footpath the Cleveland Way which passes this spot on Cringle Moor. Alas he died a year before the footpath was opened in 1969.
Cringle Moor is also on the Lyke Wake Walk, another long distance footpath from Osmotherley to Whitby. Last week Clare Balding walked a (very) short section in her BBC Radio 4 programme “Ramblings”. It is still available as a podcast http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/ramblings (scroll down to Lyke Wake Walk, North York Moors Thu, 4 Jun 15).