It’s a strange thing to walk into someone else’s memories; especially those that have been woven and tangled about a place. A place that you’ve heard about, but never visited. Somewhere that means a great deal to the person who told you about it, but for you, who’s never been, it retains the status of a rumour.
This post originally began as a rant about ‘gatekeeping’ in so-called ‘New Nature Writing’. Since then, I’ve tightened it up a little, and updated some of the links, esp. re lack of diversity in nature writing, creeping nativism and more.
Guest post by Abi Gilbert
When I were a lass – growing up alongside the North Yorkshire moors – my daily life was infused with the magical stories which my Dad told me about sprites and fairies.
No trip into Ilkley, tramp up Hebers Ghyll, or mere visit to the shops was left uninhabited by these mythical beings. I was reliably told, and believed absolutely, that they were hiding behind walls and trees and under bridges. I built homes for these friendly folk, and they sometimes visited in the night to collect the food that I left for them, but I never, ever saw them.
Although I’m from Bristol and therefore, in Cricketing terms, ought to support Gloucestershire, to me Yorkshire has always seemed to be the spiritual home of English cricket.
In numbers terms alone it makes sense. In the Vale of York, just one local league amongst many the Nidderdale League features 54 teams, including the likes of Alne and Beckwithshaw, Kirkby Malzeard, Masham, Newton-Le-Willows, Raskelf, Spofforth and Whixley.
But only one team in this league has ever lost so badly that their local shame became national news.
And coming down from high moors
I caught a whiff of Whitby,
Through bitching rain, a coastal squall,
Came a smalltown smell so subtle almost dreamt