..Where Tees in tumult leaves his source,

Thundering o’er Caldron and High-Force;

Beneath the shade the Northmen came,

Fix’d on each vale a Runic name,

Rear’d high their altar’s rugged stone,

And gave their Gods the land they won.


Rokeby. Walter Scott

Nanny & the Sexhow Hoard


An old woman of Sexhow called Nanny, appeared after her death in a dream to a local farmer. She informed the farmer that, beneath a certain tree in his apple orchard, he would find a hoard of gold and silver which she had buried there. He was to take a spade and dig it up, she told him that he could keep the silver for his trouble but was to give the gold to a niece of hers who was then living in great poverty.

At daybreak, after his dream, the farmer went to the spot that the old woman had described where dug and found the treasure. Now, despite his share being more than enough to look after him for the rest of his days, he decided to keep the whole hoard for himself. This was an act of greed that he would live to regret, as from that day forward he never knew rest or happiness again.

Every night, whether at home or abroad, old Nanny’s ghost visited him, reproaching him for his greed and his failure to help Nanny’s niece.Though previously a sober man, the farmer took to drinking, but all in vain as his conscience and Nanny’s ghost would give him no rest.

At last, late one Saturday evening, the farmers neighbours heard him returning home from Stokesley Market; his horse was galloping furiously, and as he left the high road to go into the lane which led to his farm he never stopped to open the gate but cleared it with a single bound.  As he passed a neighbour’s house, they heard him screaming out, ” I will I will I will ! ” and when they looked out they saw a little old woman in black, with a large straw hat on her head, whom they recognised as old Nannie, she was seated behind the terrified man on the runaway horse, clinging to him closely. The farmer’s hat was off, his hair stood on end, as he fled past them, uttering his fearful cry, ” I will I will I will ! ” But when the horse reached the farm all was still, and the rider… a corpse!


Image Albert Edward Sterner [Public domain]



We took a walk from Bowlees Visitor Centre in Upper Teesdale to visit Steve Messam’s installation, Hush OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In hindsight taking an uphill walk in 27 degree heat may not have been my brightest idea but it was worth it.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The walk leads you through shaded woodland, then onto rough pasture and freshly cut hay meadows, grounding you in the Upper Teesdale landscape before climbing up onto the limestone uplands and into the hush.


We walk beneath the piece discussing its immersive effect. The wind-blown sails flapping over our heads evoking childhood memories of playing beneath bedsheets hung-out to dry on wash days.


This beautiful installation will be in place until the 4th of August, I’d recommend that you take a visit. The sight of the saffron sails contrasted against the limestone uplands is stunning.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The walk from the visitors centre is 3km each way and is probably not suitable for anyone who has difficulties with mobility. The centre is providing transport to and from the site on a weekend. Details about the installation can be found here 

Hushing – this term is used for a form of opencast working using water. This involved building a small turf dam at the top of a hill above the area to be worked. When it was full the water was released and rushed down the hillside scouring the soil and any loose rock away. Once the vein was uncovered, crowbars, chisels and hammers were used to loosen the rock and extract ore. In this process, which was repeated over and over again, broken rock accumulated on the floor of the hush and was eventually washed away. Most hushes date from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Source

Wandering north with Carl

Seaton Carew Road – North Gare Sands – Seaton Snook – The Zinc Works Road – Greatham Creek – Mucky Fleet – West Channel – Seal Sands – Brinefields

 White heat has cooled


Across a sea of samphire

 Odd flotsam fertility

Catholic in their choice of habitats


Seals have been spotted


The Joy of seeing Avocets


Tacky Shades for Chris Whitehead.

Cursus by Cursus

This wonderful album by Chris Whitehead is my favourite album of 2019 so far. It has been released by TQ Zine.

You can get the download by ordering the latest copy of TQ or you can buy the album directly from the TQ Bandcamp page. Any income is being donated to TQN-aut by the artist to help fund other releases by artists who need financial support to do so

Solstice Wanderings in Cumbria – Tuff

Great Langdale Cup Marked Stone – Dungeon Ghyll – Harrison Stickle – Loft Crag – Pike of Stickle – Martcrag Moor – Stake Pass – Mickleden – Old Dungeon Ghyll – Copt Howe – Mayburgh Henge 21.06.2019

A cup-marked boulder at the foot of the Side Pike pass to Little Langdale.

I don’t have a great head for heights, the narrow scramble between Harrison Stickle and Dungeon Ghyll makes me question my choice of route, to withdraw would be to fail.

There are two genii, which nature gave us as companions throughout life. The one, sociable and lovely, shortens the laborious journey for us through its lively play, makes the fetters of necessity light for us, and leads us amidst joy and jest up to the dangerous places, where we must act as pure spirits and lay aside everything bodily, as to cognition of truth and performance of duty. Here it abandons us, for only the world of sense is its province, beyond this its earthly wings can not carry it. But now the other one steps up, earnest and silent, and with stout arm it carries us over the dizzying depth. On the sublime by Friedrich Schiller. 1801

 Staring down the gulley to the valley below, then scrambling to the summit of the Pike of Stickle, terrifying and exhilarating.

Chasing clouds across the fells

Tracking  Prehistoric Cairns along Mickleden

Flakes of Tuff carried down the scree from the Neolithic quarries on the Pike of Stickle

On leaving, I visit the prehistoric carved boulders of Copt Howe


Mayburgh Henge, generally my starting and finishing point when visiting Cumbria.