Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Grassington Moor

The last pic was of Grassington Moor, a place we hiked over last October but I forgot to do a write up on.


On Sunday we all met at Heber's Ghyll in Ilkley at 10am, that is 14 of us from the Northern Earth Mysteries Group. Our intention was to take a walk over Ilkey Moor. We started off by climbing up Heber's Ghyll, a very steep ravine, a stream cascading all the way from the top. There is a proper walkway with bridges over the stream, one of the most beautiful glens I have seen, reminiscent in a lot of ways of some of the Manx glens. The bluebells were out in proffusion and also ramsons, or wild garlics. It took ages it seemed to reach the top of the ravine, I think we were all gasping for breath by the time we arrived there. We climbed over a style and were then out on open moorland with panoramic views over the whole valley and Ilkley town.

Our first stop was the Swastika stone, so called because of the neolithic stone etching on it. Its a monstrous piece of rock, thankfully behind railings to protect it from vandals. The wind on the topps was freezing, was hard to believe it was the end of May, and by then we had all gotten into our jackets with hoods up. Next on line was the Noon stone, though none of us know why it is so called. After that we traversed the boundary of a conifer plantation for quite a while, I noticed that the cotton grass was flowering and that curlews, sky larks and meadow pipits were calling, also a few dandelions grew near to the path.

From up on the tops we had a wonderful clear view of Pendle Hill and also Bouldsworth peeking over the top of another hill, the early warning system "golf balls" near Blubberhouse Moor, and the Emley Moor transmitter. After a lunch stop we journeyed on downwards first to the Doubler Stones and then through a pine forest at Rivock Edge. This place is reputed to be haunted by hooded figures, unfortunately none of us saw any, but it feels quite an eerie place as nothing seems to grow there. We had to climb off the track to see Rivock Oven, a cave quite high up, a few of the more daring actually crawled through the gap in the stones. An old legend has it that if a man and a woman clamber through the gap then they will marry!!! I just did not want to chance it!!!!

Next our stop was the badger stone which is carved with neolithic art, its best seen in wet weather, luckily for us the day was dry, but unfortunate in that we couldnt make out too much of the art depicted on it.

Our final stop was a stone which had been covered in red paint a few years back, most of it has worn away, but a few patches still remain. They are mainly rune stones, we have still to find out what they mean.We follows cascades downwards and then wearily walked about 2 miles back to the descent into Heber's Ghyll.

3 days later my legs are still aching. I have done much longer walks, think it must have been all the plodding through peat bogs which caused them to ache, but at least my feet kept dry.


Friday, 19 May 2006


Have been told on a very good authority, that a female deer and her fawn have been seen just 2 minutes walk away from where I live. Last night my youngest daughter and I decided to have a look, but am afraid we didnt see either of them. I reckon they live up in the woods during the daytime, then spend the night on the place where they were seen till early morning. I am keeping the location quiet because of yobs with guns who may try to kill them. I dont even know what kind of deer they are, but I do wish I could catch a glimpse of them. We have badgers locally that Ive never seen, though I have a good inkling as to the location of their set. Foxes I have seen in broad daylight, beautiful creatures, who nevertheless create havoc for poultry owners, as I found out to my own cost a few years ago.

All of out native species are very special and should be appreciated. To eradicate even one of them would be a great loss. Ok, I dont like the thought of bears romeing our woods, or sabre tooth tigers, but I think wolves could be reintroduced, they dont pose too much of a threat to man. Also wild cats, they are supposed to be only in Scotland now, but I know for a fact that they are living in North Yorkshire, I have seen them for myself. Lovely big tabby cats with long stripey tails and broad heads.


Saw a butterfly last week Ive not seen before ever, but until I get a good image of it I wont say anymore.

Friday, 12 May 2006


Decided around midday that I would make the most of a beautiful day, so hurriedly made a few sandwiches, filled a bottle with water, then off I went. At my local farm I was admiring the lambs with their mothers, when suddenly a kestrel swooped down less than 5 yards from me, snatched up a starling in its beak, then flew off with it in the direction of Healey Heights. I hear plenty of kestrels circling around kee keeing, but Ive not seen one that close to before. Poor starling though!!! I have starlings nesting in my troughing, they come back to us every year. Hope their chicks manage to grow up without getting devoured, either by birds of prey or one of my cats. We got several presented to us last year.

Having got to the end of the farm track I decided to go up Crown Point by Woodplumpton Road rather than on the Burnley Way. Once I had reached the first cattle grid I was glad I had done so because of the sound of the skylarks. They have a wonderful song. When I was a little girl I would hear them all the time on my way to school in a morning. Sadly I only ever hear them now up on the tops. I noticed that there were still quite a few wild daffodils growing at the roadside, they have been very late flowering this year. After I had rested at the second cattle grid and had my food, I journeyed on towards Bacup Road. I was quite thrilled to both hear and see curlews as well as the skylarks and meadow pippits. Am sure I heard a grouse also but never saw it.

A long distance truck from France stopped me and asked the way to a small village called Water, just over the border into Rossendale, I couldnt help but wonder what on earth he was going to such an isolated place for. I didnt even know they had any firms there. After a short walk down Bacup Road I turned onto a dirt track that used to be for when they did opencast mining on Deerplay Moor. This is access land and there was a sign saying to keep dogs on leads as it is the lambing season. The lambs were just adorable, some very young with their umbilical cords still dangling. The ewes as ever very protective of them, calling for their offspring as soon as I approached. A short way down I climbed over a very rickety gate and petted two beautiful fell ponies that were grazing. I continued along the track until I was way up above Cliviger, could see the houses of Holme Chapel looking very tiny down in the valley. The trig point of Thievely Pike was just above me now, from here one can see far and wide on a clear day, but yesterday was too hazy, so I didnt go all the way up, instead I sat down on a huge lump of millstone grit rock. Silly me had walked all that way in sandals and by then had developed a blister underneath my right heel. I could have gone down a steep track through Buckley Wood to Holme Chapel and caught a bus back to Burnley, but I had no money with me. So, I had no alternative but to walk back the same way as I had come. That road seemed never ending, I was very tempted to hitch a lift, but common sense prevaled and I walked home, getting to the house just before 5pm. My poor foot was stinging like hell and I had also pulled a muscle in my left thigh. I will know in future to wear my hiking boots even if it is hot. This morning I could hardly walk when I got up, but I have unstiffened a bit now. lol