Category: Ancient Landscapes

Nomadics of John O’ Groats

I thought it might be interesting to take some of the less relevant episodes – the ‘out-takes’ – from the just-completed Scottish workshop (and subsequent journey to Orkney) and run them on Sun in Gemini, in reverse time-sequence. The Thursday blogs, here and on the Silent Eye, will continue with the linear sequence of the Scottish and Orkney explorations. That way the odd bits … Read More Nomadics of John O’ Groats

#NightMoves : unknown quay

We had arrived late in the day, on the CalMac ferry from Ardrossan. Dinner in the hotel had seemed other-worldly, as though we and the other diners had just begun a magical adventure whose substance was to be the exploration and understanding of the island of Arran. The rain storm thrashed the tall windows, and we looked out at the darkening, still unknown world. … Read More #NightMoves : unknown quay

#ShortWrytz : three things

Sometimes there is a kind of poetry in the arrangement of objects in a landscape, not seen, fully, before the finger presses them into personal history. The symmetry, the visual song, is seen later, as here with ancient rocks, weathered and waiting; the out at sea lighthouse; and the distant volcanic dome, worn down into a bullet by millennia. The arrangement is not created, … Read More #ShortWrytz : three things

#ShortWrytz : The house by the river

We’re often in Kirkby Lonsdale. It’s the perfect dog-walk for Tess, our collie, who loves to chase the ball in its riverside park, then sniff her way along the riverbank as we enter the town by the steep steps that lead to one of the best views in the county – Ruskin’s View. This part of the Lune Valley was a favourite haunt of … Read More #ShortWrytz : The house by the river

Never West

I’ve always loved maps… I can remember, when a child, being bought a fold-out schematic of a town with streets, main roads, a river, a hill and a railway line. It was just a layout – a map – but I had lots of my own cars, a model train and some small figures of the right scale to populate the town with activity. … Read More Never West

Keys of Heaven (10): final resting place…

continued from Part 9 The village of Lastingham, of the southern edge of the North York Moors, was a fitting place to end our weekend – both for its mysterious wells and also on the basis that the crypt of St Mary’s Church marks the final resting place of St Cedd. Following the fateful Synod of Whitby in AD 664, Bishop Cedd returned to … Read More Keys of Heaven (10): final resting place…

Keys of Heaven (9): blown down the mountain

continued from Part 8 My companions of the Silent Eye’s ‘Keys of Heaven’ weekend were waiting when I arrived at the Lion Inn. We had coffee and biscuits and we discussed the options for our last day of the workshop. Everyone was looking forward to the visit to the celebrated St Mary’s church at Lastingham – the final resting place of St Cedd. There … Read More Keys of Heaven (9): blown down the mountain

Keys of Heaven (8): crosses at heaven’s gate

The high pass over the North York Moors is seventeen miles long and crosses the ‘roof of the world’ in the heart of the national park. You’d think twice about going there once the autumn has given way to winter. Local photos show the many times that groups of people have been stranded on the long line of its peak. In one case, in … Read More Keys of Heaven (8): crosses at heaven’s gate

Keys of Heaven (7): the path to gentle darkness

The tiny fishing village of Staithes is a place of peaceful beauty. It lies part way between Whitby and Saltburn on the North Yorkshire coast. It’s geology is also one of the few breaks in the vast cliffs that define this region; and which are the main source of the famous Whitby Jet semi-precious stone. Staithes was our destination… and I was taking a … Read More Keys of Heaven (7): the path to gentle darkness

Keys of Heaven (6): the greater force

The greater force… What did they know of it! Anyone could see it in the fall of boulders in the mountains; in the crashing of the seas on the rocks, in the burning of the forests when the wildfires took hold; in the legends of the earth boiling and glowing when the ground ruptured… But only a few could see it at work in … Read More Keys of Heaven (6): the greater force

Keys of Heaven (5): the will of the king – gathering

We climb the steps to the Abbey at Whitby, aware that something different is happening; that the curtain of time is being drawn back… for as long as we can keep the critical mind at bay The years pass away. From the present keepers back through years of being a rich man’s possession… As – in a mist – we see the year 1539 … Read More Keys of Heaven (5): the will of the king – gathering

Keys of Heaven (4): through the bones of the whale

The pale winter sun lies – to our symbolic view – just beyond the East Cliff horizon. Its lowness and lateness in the cold sky speaks of the approach of the winter solstice, a time of maximum darkness and minimum light…. but also a time of turning. History is made from a series of turning-points. Changes – some of them completely unforeseen and incapable … Read More Keys of Heaven (4): through the bones of the whale

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