Heron, River Leven

I’d planned a trot over to Brian’s Pond on Carlton Moor having thought raindrops on the water might make a good photo. I wish. Foiled by raindrops on the lens. But driving through Great Ayton the neighbourhood heron came to the rescue, patrolling the River Leven below Suggitt’s Bridge. This was the last photo I managed to get before it took flight and glided twenty metres up the river where it was promptly mobbed by a paddling of ducks. I suppose a small duckling would make a fine morsel for it.

River Leven below Suggitt's Bridge map

Tees Barrage

Opened in 1995 to control the river flow and tidal surges to alleviate the risks of flooding.  Upstream the River Tees is now non-tidal and a major venue for watersports. Previously the Tees was tidal as far as Low Worsall, past Yarm. At the time of construction the barrage was the UK’s largest civil engineering project.


Stepping Stones

Quiz question: name the seven tributaries of the Yorkshire Ouse, in order starting from the North? It’s a family trivia question. This is number 4 the River Wharfe just below Kettlewell on a wet afternoon.

Low Green, Great Ayton

The prospect of a day indoors route planning with my Duke of Edinburgh students but managed to get up Roseberry before dawn. Otherwise incessant rain all day. Even the ducks were avoiding a swollen River Leven.

First snowdrops of the year

According to a reprint of an Edwardian book I have Snowdrops signify hope. Hope I guess that Spring is just around the corner. This small bunch is taking advantage of the warmth below the canopy of trees beside the River Leven. Across on the other bank the grass is white with the hard overnight frost. Snowdrops are not native to Britain, but to southern Europe and the Middle East. They have however become a recognised symbol of the British countryside.

The name “Snowdrop” it said to be derived from Schneetropfen, tear drop pearl earrings popular in the 16th and 17th century Germany. An extract of Snowdrops is Galantamine which is used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.


Tyne Bridges

It seems ages since I was last in a city. At least to spend any time sitting outside a cafe watching the world go by. In the sun it could have been springtime in Paris. So to continue this week’s theme of bridges here are another seven … I think. We definitely counted seven from the centre of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the first in the photo. The iconic Tyne Bridge is next, built in 1928, followed by the Swing Bridge, the High Level Bridge, the Metro Bridge, the King Edward Bridge and the Redheugh Bridge.

But that’s enough bridges surely, normal service of heather moorland will be resumed as soon as possible.


Yarm Bridge

A week for bridges. Until the building of the Tees Barrage towards the end of the 20th century the River Tees was still tidal at Yarm. A wooden bridge existed in the 13th century and to be replaced by a stone one in about 1500 thus ensuring Yarm became a strategic crossing point of the Tees. In 1643, at the height of the English Civil War, the bridge was narrower and incorporated a drawbridge across the northern arch.

By 1643 King Charles I had established his northern headquarters in York and his commander in the North, the Marquis  of Newcastle, William Cavendish, ordered some of his troops to accompany a supply train south to York. The route would take them across the Tees at Yarm. Meanwhile a Parliamentarian force of around 400 plus three troops of cavalry led by Sir Hugh Chomeley of Whitby were at Guisborough, where they had routed a Royalist force on the 16 January 1643. On hearing of the supply train they hastened to Yarm where, on the 1st February, the two sides met. In spite of the Parliamentarians’ dominant defensive position the Royalists managed to cross the bridge and defeat the Roundheads, taking many prisoners. So ended the Battle of Yarm.