Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"The finest view in Yorkshire" from Sutton Bank

The view from Sutton Bank
11.5" x 17", pencil and coloured pencil, double page spread in Daler Rowney A4 sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
"The finest view in Yorkshire" ('James Heriott')
This is the view from Sutton Bank which is a very steep escarpment separating the North York Moors from the Vale of York and the Vale of Mowbray which you can see in this sketch. The Pennines can be seen some 40 miles away in the very far distance. I had a lovely sunny day to do the sketch but the seat on which I sat to draw Hood Hill (or "one tree hill") and the vales was so exposed and 'breezy' that I was really glad I'd taken a layered approach to dressing for plein air sketching - all five of them! This sketch was a bit of challenge in terms of how many greens in the landscape and aerial perspective blues I could get with the coloured pencils I had with me.

A 'killer hill' with a narrow road leads up to this view. There are lots of signs threatening awful things to caravans (which are strictly prohibited from attempting the climb) and warning HGVs about many broke down last year when they didn't follow the advice to select their crawler gear! I did it for the first time after my warning light came on to say the antilock braking system has been disconnected - for no obvious reason - so it was a bit intimidating to say the least!

If you go the other side of the road and walk along there's a wonderful view of Gormire Lake - which, I understand fills a bowl left by glacial action and is one of the only two lakes in Yorkshire. Personally I thought its name made it sound like it was auditioning to be in a new novel by an author with a prediliction for 'interesting' names. It certainly had a somewhat eerie quality to it given the way in which the dense woodland surrounded it and I didn't feel an overwhelming need to visit.

James Herriot
Near the foot of the escarpment is the town of Thirsk where the real James Herriot (Alf Wight) had his vetinerary practice at 23 Kirkgate with his partner 'Siegfried Farnon'. Thirsk (along with a few other towns) provided the basis for 'Darrowby' in the books. Walking his dog on the top of Sutton Bank was apparently a favourite occupation whenever time permitted.

The quotation comes from a book called "James Herriot's Yorkshire" which was given to my father complete with autographs from the three real people behind the 'characters' in the very popular vet series after he rescued my friend 'A' (daughter of 'Tristan' and midwife to the birth of my first cat) and me from another car calamity on our way up north on an extremely hot day some 25 years ago.

For those interested in Yorkshire, the book has some great photos by Derry Brabbs (who also did the photos for some of Wainwright's Books of the Lakes). Fans of the James Herriot series can now also visit the house at 23 Kirkgate which was home to the real vetinerary practice and was 'reproduced' in the BBC series as it's now home to a museum about the world of James Herriot and vetinerary science.

Sutton Bank and the North York Moors National Park
Sutton Bank is part of the Hambleton Hills at the very western edge of the North York Moors and National Park. It's also known as Roulston Scar. It's bisected by the road between Thirsk and Scarborough which follows the southern edge of the Moors . It's also home to the Yorkshire Gliding Club and the White Horse of Kilburn which lacks some of the artistic merit of the White Horse of Uffington but none of the impact.

The North Yorks National Park - and their very helpful staff - have a home in the trees just as you get to the top of the hill with car parking for the Park's very many visitors. There are five walks into the area around Sutton Bank which start from the car park. The Moors Bus Service (April-October) also picks up people from and deposits them back at the car park.

Sutton Bank is also home to a massive Iron Age Hill Fort erected around 400 BC which has been a recent subject of archeological investigation on behalf of English Heritage

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2 comments:

  1. As always, a stunning sketch of a stunning view. I don't know that part of Yorkshire at all; one of these days I must get round to visiting it.

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