When I was at school in the ’60’s, History was one of my least favourite subjects. All I remember was an old teacher droning on about the Industrial Revolution and Queen Victoria, and having to try to remember an endless stream of dates that had no relevance to me whatsoever. I wasn’t interested, and I doubt that he was either.
Fortunately my mother came to the rescue. She was a member of an Antiquarian Society, and when I got my first car I would occasionally give her a lift to the local village hall were she and her friends would meet up – and sometimes would sit in and listen to the talks and mingle with the other members. I soon learned that there was much more to history than Spinning Jennys and stuffy old Queens.
In the ’70’s I joined a caving club and explored the hundreds of miles of caves that run under the moors and Yorkshire Dales. Many of the caves have legends associated with them, many were thought in times past to be the home of Fairies or Giants – I was fascinated and was hungry for more. I used to pour through my Mothers copies of ‘The Dalesman’ magazine (she had every issue) – finding articles about the caves, and the legends – and that is when the bug really started to bite! As well as the caves, I would read something about an old cross or standing stone that had a legend associated with it, and I would walk for miles across the open moorlands to find it. Often there was no map reference given and only obscure directions on old books or magazines. But I was hooked, wanting more.
Several years ago I purchased a book ‘The Old Stones of Elmet’, by Paul Bennett. Wanting more info on a stone circle, I contacted Paul and he suggested a meet up and hike across the moors next time he was in Yorkshire. We hit it off straightaway – me fascinated by his wealth of knowledge, and he loving my photographs. He invited me up to the Scottish Highlands where he lives and we would explore the mountains and Glens with his friends – Paul regailing us with ancient tales of Heroes and Legends.
Paul had just started ‘The Northern Antiquarian’ (thenorthernantiquarian.org – https://www.facebook.com/groups/northernantiquarian/) and I joined, and am now actively involved in research and contributing to the sites.
This blog is my humble attempt to put into some perspective the Myths and Legends that I have encountered on my journeys across the mountains and moorlands of Northern England and Scotland – and occasionally Wales too!
I hope you enjoy it and find something of interest.
** I am a professional photographer, and live next to the moors in a small market town in Yorkshire. I shoot exclusively with Olympus Pro bodies and lenses and use Cokin Nuances Extreme filters. Post processing is done in Lightroom and Photoshop with the occasional use of RayaPro Luminosity masks.