We started this walk from the Hole of Horcum (the 'r' in Horcum is silent by the way), which is part of Newtondale in the North York Moors National Park. Leaving from the roadside car park on the main road midway between Pickering and Whitby (the starting point for several moorland walks of varying distances), we completed an eight mile circular route, part of which overlooked a particularly spectacular section of the North York Moors Railway. My intention was for us to have a picnic lunch at Skelton's Tower, the ruins of a two-storey tower which was built in 1850 as a shooting lodge by a former vicar of Levisham, the Reverend Robert Skelton. Some say that he wrote his sermons in the lodge but it is also rumoured that he escaped here to enjoy a quiet drink!
The reason I wished to linger a while at Skelton's Tower (which was approximately half way around our eight mile circuit) was that it overlooked an especially picturesque section of the railway line. I hoped to be able to sit there long enough to catch a train passing through in full steam. Plenty of other people had the same idea it seems and in spite of a chilly wind it was quite crowded in this usually isolated place with everyone huddling around the walls waiting for the tell-tale sound of a distant train whistle. I consulted the NYMR timetable on my iphone and found myself a perch just in time for the 1215 from Grosmont which typically coincided with the disappearance of the sun. It seems that on this particular section of track a good head of steam was not required, so not only did I have to do my best in Photoshop to enhance the light, contrast and colours, I also had to cheat and paint a bit of steam in too. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful place for a picnic. No doubt I'll go back there one day and try and get the "ultimate" steam train pic (I do love steam trains!).
By the time I'd got back round to the car park at the top of the Hole of Horcum the light was very subdued and my photo certainly doesn't do the scenery justice. I've always found this to be the case at this particular viewpoint. It just seems to be one of those places that looks wonderful to the naked eye but not so amazing from the camera. Or maybe it's just that I have yet to work out the best angle and light to capture the true beauty of the place.
I'm very fortunate to live only an hour's drive away from this lovely place, so maybe one day I'll achieve my aim of capturing the Hole of Horcum in its best light and maybe even one of those lovely trains in full steam.