A Great Day for the Moors…..


The Nine Ladies Stone Circle, Stanton Moor, Derbyshire

Monday started well and just got better.  No wind of note, lots of sunshine and a blue sky with just some occasional fair-weather clouds. So we decided to stretch our legs on a moorland walk.

Stanton Moor is our favourite and whilst it may not be big, it is still packed with interest, it is also great place to feel as if you are walking on top of the world.  Nor should you let the description of a moorland put you off.  Far from being bleak and exposed Stanton Moor is surround by woodland, whilst across the moor are plantations of Silver Birch.

So any walk on Stanton starts with a stroll through mature woodland….

The trees soon thin as you gently climb to the moor..

_DSC2182qqq Then the expanse of the Heather and Bilberry moors is there to explore. The Heather is waking from its winter slumbers, still dark but the new shoots are showing a tinge of fresh reddybrown.

The Trig Point, the highest point on this moor is the first stop…


You can dwell for too long just experiencing the views, a full 360degree is the reward.

From the Trig Point there are numerous paths and sheep tracks heading off in all directions…just choose the one you want, if you are crafty you can just walk around in circles taking in the many points of interest.  No need to worry about step climbs, once you are on the Moor the steepest climb is negotiating the occasional style.

Seek out old quarry workings, discover the Gun Powder Store, decide which of the Cairns may just be a Neolithic Burial Cairn and of course pay ones respects to the Nine Ladies…a Stone Circle still much respected by modern day Druids.

 I guess even if you do not live in the UK you will be full aware of the Political turmoil our Politicians have got themselves into. Passion and tempers on both side are running very high. As yet we still cannot see an outcome..

Of course this is nothing new.  Back in 1832, Parliament underwent major upheaval  after equally passionate views… but the Reform Laws as they were called were eventually voted upon and accepted.. a major milestones and a shift of political power away from the nobility.  Here high on Stanton Moor is a very prominent reminder of those times…


Earl Grey Reform Tower…. a symbolic ‘folly’ of no purpose other than one political viewpoint, that of those on the winning side cocking a snoot at the losers.

On a glorious day like today it just stand proud in the sunlight as it has done for well over 150 years.

26th March

(C) David Oakes 2019


Silent Sunday…… So Off to Church


Lindisfarne Priory, Holy Island, Northumberland


It is on a tiny Island, to become known as Holy Island, that King Oswald of Northumberland directed that a Monastery be built. He had already summoned Saint Aidan to travel from Iona to found a Celtic Christian community…this was in 635ad.

Lindisfarne as it was called became a powerful and influential Religious Centre.  It was Saint Aidan who took the challenge forward but there after he was followed by Cuthbert,  Eadfrith of Lindisfarne and then Eadberht of Lindisfarne.

The history is quite involved, so if you are really keen I suggest you read further, maybe the English Heritage site. Here is a very brief overview. It was 670 that Cuthbert joined the Monastic community.  He soon became both influential and also divisive. Perhaps it was after his death in 687 that his spiritual powers started to become part of the legend that is Lindisfarne. He was buried in a stone tomb within the Priory.  Then some 11 years later, in 689, he was exhumed…. his body had not decade and a ‘miracle’ of Saintly proportions was declared.  Instead of a reburial a Shrine was erected in the Priory which soon became a place of Pilgrimage  and Religious Fame.

From 710 to 725, Lindisfarne continue to grow in Monastic importance, a place of religious education and study…. most notably the publication of the Lindisfarne Gospels, still considered one of the most important Religious Writings.

Soon all fell apart when the first major Viking Invasion on mainland Britain occurred. Destruction and plunder followed. The Monks had foresight and removed Cuthbert’s remains to safety,  travelling across the north of England to keep one step ahead of any pursuit.

Peace of sorts returned shortly after 1069 and Cuthbert’s remains  were returned and by 1122 a Monastery under the guidance of Durham Cathedral was re-established.

Of course Religious buildings were never totally secure.  Lindisfarne suffered in the ‘Border Wars’ and of course in the Abolition Orders.


I should add as a footnote that Holy Island is a rather enchanting place.  Assessable only at low tide via a causeway, surrounded by the North Sea.  There is a Castle of much more modern date than the Priory and a small community that gets engulfed by hundreds of visitors every low tide.

But for me I have always founded it to have both a special feel, peace and having very special light.

10th February

(C) David Oakes 2019


Weekly Photo Challenge–Letters


So the challenge this week is ‘Letters’…… So I guess this location could perhaps be the best place to search for both ‘Letters’ that are characters as used to print books and maps or ‘Letters’ that are communications between people. 

It is the family Library and Map Room at Alnwick Castle, the home of the Dukes of Northumberland, known in centuries past as ‘Hotspur’ the warrior.

So the Library has books from many generations that can tell much about the history of the turbulent ‘Border Regions’ of England and Scotland. Maps, that also tell the same story and letters and records written to clarify the events.

Floor to ceiling and on every surface and behind the apparent opulence there is real history in ‘Letters’

Location: Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England

26th April

© David Oakes 2014