Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
4:53pm Friday 25th July 2014
4:52pm Friday 25th July 2014
THERE is no doubt Le Tour de France left a lasting mark in this region. One of its lesserknown achievements was to revive my own memories of some cycle tours I had undertaken in my youth, and I thought I would add a final note to conclude my reminiscing.
11:07am Tuesday 22nd July 2014
A RECENT recent outing took us to West Tanfield, between Masham and Ripon, said by Arthur Mee in his The King’s England series of books (The North Riding of Yorkshire) to have almost everything one could wish for in an English village.
4:32pm Friday 11th July 2014
A FLEETING visit to Somerset enabled us to make quick visits to places like Wells and Glastonbury, the latter catching our attention before the crowds arrived for the noted festival of arts and music.
1:57pm Friday 4th July 2014
I’VE had an enthusiastic response to earlier notes about my exploits on a racing cycle. As this is the weekend of the much trumpeted Grand Départ of le Tour de France, I thought I would share my own memories of a “Tour” in which I took part.
2:12pm Friday 27th June 2014
WHEN I was a teenage cyclist, I spent a good deal of time competing in time trials and massed-start road races. Most were around Teesside although some were further north on Wearside or in west Durham, such as The Tour of the Durham Hills.
4:22pm Friday 20th June 2014
THE imminent arrival the Tour de France’s Grand Depart in our region reminds me of my own Tour of England. Some 62 years ago, I was a keen cyclist and belonged to the British League of Racing Cyclists, the Cyclists’ Touring Club, Hambleton Road Club, which was based on Teesside, and also the Youth Hostels Association.
4:35pm Friday 13th June 2014
1:48pm Friday 6th June 2014
5:04pm Friday 30th May 2014
Continuing the theme of boundaries and boundary stones, one curious custom that fell into disuse with the passage of time was known as Beating the Bounds, although it continues in some places on Rogation Days, Rogation Sunday, Gang Days or in some parts of Yorkshire, on Rammalation Days.
5:04pm Friday 30th May 2014
ONE of the regular queries that come my way is the reason for the many stone crosses on the North York Moors. It is not possible to provide one simple answer because they have different meanings or purposes.
3:58pm Friday 23rd May 2014
THE first weeks of this month proved exceptionally busy so far as the bird life around us was concerned. That period of the new spring is always a frantic time for wild birds with our native species busy courting, nesting and defending their territories while immigrants are helping to swell numbers and increase the activity which at times can be rather frantic.
3:56pm Friday 16th May 2014
EASINGWOLD has a splendid and fascinating old church with many sections dating to pre-Reformation times. It is dedicated to All Saints and St John and is worth a visit in an effort to date and identify most of its parts.
3:57pm Friday 9th May 2014
A FEW days before settling down to write these notes, I read an article that had been written by a tourist expert, and it praised the North York Moors for having the scenery that produced epic novels such as those written by the Bronte sisters as well as Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula masterpiece. Clearly, the writer had no idea of the geography or history of this huge county.
4:29pm Friday 2nd May 2014
ONE of the least visited areas within the North York Moors is probably Fryup. This small community is spread around two dales – Great Fryup Dale and Little Fryup Dale, in the Esk Valley between Danby and Lealholm.
3:35pm Friday 25th April 2014
THERE are times when the traditional “chicken-and-egg” question is raised about yew trees and churches. I am frequently asked whether the yew tree was first to appear at the edge of a graveyard, or whether the church came first.
4:13pm Wednesday 23rd April 2014
WHITBY Abbey, with its famous abbess, Hild, now known as St Hilda, was one of England’s leading centres of the Christian faith and a major event occurred during Hilda’s stewardship. It was the Synod of Whitby in AD 664 when the town was known as Streoneshalh.
2:45pm Friday 11th April 2014
3:53pm Friday 4th April 2014
FOLLOWING my recent notes about the North Riding dialect names, especially for the hedgehog, a reader asks about dialect names for some of our wild birds He adds that his bird feeders are regularly visited by stoggies. I’m sure the same reader would have told us that spuggies were also regular callers, then with a bit of luck he might have noticed a French linney or a cuddy.
3:14pm Friday 28th March 2014
4:31pm Friday 21st March 2014
4:30pm Friday 14th March 2014
A VISIT to Osmotherley and the nearby Cod Beck Reservoir can always produce something of interest. And so it was the day before compiling these notes just over a fortnight ago. My wife and I decided to visit the reservoir in an attempt to research the species of birds it attracted, and to learn a little more about the history of the village.
11:33am Friday 7th March 2014
A RECENT news item in a national paper recorded that builders had won an appeal which allowed them to build large numbers of houses on two village greens. This was despite opposition from the respective local councils and the villagers themselves.
4:08pm Friday 28th February 2014
OUR bird feeders are well patronised, especially by blue tits, but in the last few days, a pair of yellowhammers have visited us. This is by no means common, although we have welcomed yellowhammers in the past. I found this quite unusual because I have always associated yellowhammers with open moorland or wide areas of quiet countryside.
4:38pm Friday 21st February 2014
LOOKING back over my youthful birdwatching years, I have no recollection of seeing tree sparrows either in our garden or around the surrounding countryside, although we were visited by dozens of house sparrows. In simple terms, those two species are so very much alike that it is far from easy to make a positive identification so in those youthful years I might not have noticed the difference!
3:53pm Friday 14th February 2014
LEYBURN is the undisputed capital of Wensleydale which is the broadest and arguably the most beautiful of the Yorkshire Dales, and yet it is the only one of the major dales that is named after a village rather than a river. In spite of Leyburn’s dominance, the dale gets its name from nearby village of Wensley and one of my regular queries is why this should be so.
2:23pm Friday 7th February 2014
2:23pm Friday 7th February 2014
3:56pm Friday 31st January 2014
THE remarkably mild weeks of December and early January have apparently created some disorientation among our wildlife. I’ve received reports of daffodils blooming weeks earlier than usual while in several places snowdrops have appeared both in the wild and in our gardens.
4:29pm Friday 24th January 2014
COUNTRY folk have long been revered as highly capable forecasters of our weather. I can recall some villagers from the North York Moors hanging seaweed under the eaves of their garden shed where it was used to forecast rain – if the seaweed was damp and slimy, it heralded rain, but if it was hard and dry, then fine weather could be expected.
3:54pm Friday 17th January 2014
4:43pm Friday 10th January 2014
4:15pm Friday 3rd January 2014
ONE of the curious features of January is that so many birds join flocks mainly comprising their own species, but sometimes mingling with others. It may be that they recognise that there is safety in numbers, and another theory is that, when feeding, most of the flock members can satisfy their hunger whilst one or two of them keep guard.
12:37pm Monday 6th January 2014
11:50am Friday 20th December 2013
IN the December days preceding Christmas there have always been celebrations of a very mixed kind. They range from the customs practised on Old Christmas Day (Dec 6), by way of the Halcyon Days that bring a patch of milder weather to the celebrations of St Lucy’s Day (Dec 13), the feast of St Thomas which is today (Dec 20), and then tomorrow we remember that it is the shortest day of the year which is also known as Candle Auction Day, Gooding Day and more formally as the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle, who is often known as Doubting Thomas.
1:11pm Friday 13th December 2013
THIS weeks’ Diary comes from Dorset, where I undertook a short visit to spend time with my family as I researched the locality for future novels and articles, as well as being a guest author at the Venus Business Women’s Awards in the New Forest.
3:13pm Friday 6th December 2013
2:40pm Friday 29th November 2013
AT this time of the year, many of us will be thinking about the Christmas decorations that will shortly festoon our homes and offices. During this ancient Christian festival, I would imagine that natural green plants will feature prominently, either in the form of a Christmas tree or in the shape of other leafy decorations.
3:47pm Friday 22nd November 2013
AT THIS time of year we can be misled into believing that all aspects of the countryside go to sleep. Certainly some do – flowers and trees take a rest and either cast their leaves or cease to flower; some of our wild creatures will seek places to hibernate or alternatively set off to travel immense distances to be certain of finding food and shelter in warmer places. This can lead us into thinking that our countryside is temporarily deserted.
12:16pm Friday 15th November 2013
1:27pm Friday 8th November 2013
12:15pm Friday 1st November 2013
THE arrival of November is often overshadowed by events associated with Hallow’een on October 31. Even into modern times, the festivities of Hallow’een (Hallow Evening) have been linked to festivals that commemorated the dead.
4:02pm Friday 25th October 2013
FROM time to time, I am asked why an inn at Crayke, near Easingwold, just north of York, should be named the Durham Ox when it is a considerable distance from Durham. The reason is the long association between this village and Durham, along with Crayke’s link with St Cuthbert, plus an ancient Scandinavian legend set in Crayke castle. There is no space in this diary for that legend but it will surely follow.
4:09pm Friday 18th October 2013
THIS region seems to have more than its fair share of castles, some in ruins and others occupied. They range from the tiny Danby castle in Eskdale which is a ruin in a farmyard to the mighty fortresses of Richmond and Scarborough. There are those which are occupied such as Durham Castle, Gilling Castle, Castle Howard and Mulgrave Castle and some that have disappeared such as Kilvington Castle near Thirsk and two at Kirkbymoorside.
4:34pm Friday 11th October 2013
WHEN my wife was tidying the garden, she moved a pile of plant pots that were tucked away in a quiet corner to find a pair of golden eyes staring at her from the darkness into daylight. She called me because she was uncertain what the creature might be – it was those beautiful golden eyes that provided the answer. It was a toad, more formally known as the common toad.
4:18pm Friday 4th October 2013
3:10pm Friday 27th September 2013
AS I write these notes, our local swallows are preparing for departure to Africa with their new families. It seems barely possible that this season’s young birds will soon be flying thousands of miles at such a tender age, although some of them may be several months old. Swallows may have two or three broods while here, the first being as early as April or May, particularly in the South of England when they return from Africa.
12:40pm Friday 20th September 2013
NEWS that Yorkshire has been named as one of Europe’s finest tourist destinations will come as no surprise to Yorkshire folk. Instinctively we know we’ve got the finest countryside and folk who live here consider their home patch to be more of a nation than a mere county. Not for nothing is it known as God’s Own Country.
3:13pm Friday 13th September 2013
TOMORROW, September 14, was formerly known as Nutting Day and it used to be a school holiday to allow children to gather hazel nuts. This was important because there was an old belief that the Devil went around collecting nuts on this day and the objective was to get there before he did his worst.
2:53pm Friday 6th September 2013