Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hole of Horcum

Here is a picture of me standing on a path in the Levisham Moor on the way to the Hole of Horcum. We first discovered the Hole of Horcum as we were driving to Levisham since there is a fairly large parking lot and viewpoint above it on the A169. We later discovered on our map that it was possible to walk there from our B&B in Levisham - so that is what we decided to do today.

The "Hole" is actually the head of a fairly large valley that was eroded away by springs coming out of the hillside - below the carpark. The sides of the valley are covered with trees (mainly oaks I think) and in the bottom of the valley is a farm and many green fields with stone fences. The north side is the Levisham Moor - covered with heather and bracken. Everywhere there are sheep. The Moor is part of the North Yorkshire National Park.

We started out expecting that it might rain - that is why I am wearing my blue rain pants in the photo. However, either it does not rain in England nearly as much as people say it does or we have been extraordinarily lucky - but the clouds just rolled by, there was no rain, and eventually we began to have patches of sunshine. The walk along the top of ridge (rigg) was very pleasant and it was interesting to return on the "bottom" on the other side of the ridge from the Hole. We saw the steam engine going through the valley below us and met a group of high school students with their teachers out on a walk on the moors - probably as part of PE or maybe geography or map-reading or history. There is so much to learn and see in the moors.

After lunch at the Levisham pub, we drove to Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay on the coast. When you are on the moors, the ocean seems far away but actually it is only about 6 miles to the coast. Both Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay are very scenic. Whitby is on the mouth of the River Esk and has a port where there are fishboats and sailboats. Robin Hood's Bay is a large bay with cliffs and a few boats hauled out on the shore. It seems to be a favourite holiday spot with numerous self-catering cottages stacked up the steep hillside and 9 (we counted them on the map) holiday parks for trailers and motor homes.

Today we walked about 15 km- a nice distance -and about our overall average day. My only complaint is that I now have new blister on my toe - my walking shoes are just a bit too tight. I will never go on a trip again without taking my own comfortable hiking boots!

One thing we have noticed in England is that there is hardly any wildlife. There are signs along the road in this area warning about deer, but it's hard to believe there are any. We did see one rabbit today and lots of rabbit holes in the moors. There are quite a lot of birds. We have often seen hawks hovering and ready to dive down on their prey and there are doves, crows, seagulls and sparrows. The main animals that there are here are sheep. There must be millions of them. We don't know the names of the different varieties - but we are beginning to notice the differences. Some are small, some large, some have long necks, some have big heads and of course they come in different colours - white, black, grey, spotted. Most have red or blue marks on their backs indicating who they belong to.

We are also learning a few new terms. Mike just mentioned "garth" which seems to mean the back yard where the garden, stables, chickens sheds, garage, etc. are located. A "rigg" is a ridge. A "griff" is a cliff. A "beck" is a stream. A "scar" is an escarpment. A "bield" is a field. At least that is what we think they are. Every little piece of geography seems to have a name and a history.

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