Author Archives: McEff

About McEff

Alen McFadzean. Journalist. Recently made redundant from The Northern Echo when my job was transferred to Wales to be done by people on lower wages. Former shipyard electrician. Former quarryman and tunneller. Climb mountains and run long distances to make life harder. Gravitate to the left in politics just to make life harder still.

A Christmas Walk: With Ghosts on Baysdale Moor

I AM wary of the North York Moors because they are more than a little bit sinister. They are wild and empty, peppered with the scratchings of forgotten people, laced with legends, and punctuated with the stumps of ancient crosses … Continue reading

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Posted in Archaeology, Captain James Cook, Cleveland Way, Death, Environment, Footpaths, Ghosts, Hiking, History, Hunting, Industrial archaeology, Legends, Mountains, Politics, Ranting, Ruins, Teesside, Walking, Weather | Tagged , , , , | 29 Comments

Almost Picture Perfect in the Coniston Fells

THIS is such a promising start. The early-morning sky is dark and clear; frost cakes windscreens and grass verges; the Lakeland peaks stand pale and ghostly at the head of the Duddon estuary. It is the perfect day for climbing … Continue reading

Posted in Climbing, Environment, Explosives, Footpaths, Hiking, Industrial archaeology, Mountains, Quarrying, Slate quarries, Walking, Weather | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Sweet Tees Flow Softly (Black Friday Aftermath)

IN this land of eternal gloom, where fog hangs in grey air and moisture drips from autumn berries and bedraggled sheep, Romans once marched to distant outposts on a cold northern frontier. They crossed many rivers on their journey from … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Belfast sinks, Black Friday, English language, Environment, Ewan MacColl, Footpaths, Hiking, History, Iron Age, Jargon, Railway goods wagons, Ranting, Rivers, Ruins, Teesdale, Teesside, The Romans, Walking, Weather, York | Tagged , , , | 46 Comments

Not Everything is Black and White on Barningham Moor

I DRIVE the rattly van to the top of Barningham Moor and it gets stuck in slithery grass while I’m trying to park. I stall the engine and can’t start it again because the starter motor jams. Mist rolls in … Continue reading

Posted in Allotments, Archaeology, Bronze Age, Camping, Cup and ring carvings, Environment, Footpaths, Geology, Great North Road, Hiking, History, Industrial archaeology, Iron Age, Mountains, Shipping Forecast, Stone Circles, Teesdale, The Romans, Walking, Weather, York | Tagged , , , , | 47 Comments

Faggergill: Out of the Fryingpan into the Mire

BETWEEN Reeth and Tan Hill lies a land of strange names. It’s a country where wild open moors and grassy dales are neatly partitioned by walls built seemingly randomly, and generations of people have drifted through in search of shelter … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Belfast sinks, Bronze Age, Climbing, Cup and ring carvings, Environment, Explosives, Footpaths, Geology, Hiking, History, Industrial archaeology, Mountains, Railway goods wagons, Stone Circles, Tan Hill Inn, The Romans, Unemployment, Vikings, Walking | Tagged , , , , , | 27 Comments

Restless at North Gare

I’VE been drawn to the sea because it’s the time of year when things migrate. The seasons change and life adapts. Birds fly south and animals hoard food for winter. People tune into their primeval instincts and gather stuff for … Continue reading

Posted in Environment, History, Industrial archaeology, Life, Rivers, South Gare, Teesside | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

A Cook’s Tour of the Cleveland Hills

CAPTAIN James Cook is one of Britain’s most celebrated maritime heroes. Born to lowly farming folk in the Teesside village of Marton, his destiny lay not in farming – or shopkeeping, to which he was briefly apprenticed – but as … Continue reading

Posted in Camping, Captain James Cook, Cleveland Way, Climbing, Death, Footpaths, Hiking, History, Mountains, Railway goods wagons, Railways, Teesside, Vikings, Walking, Weather | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments