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Thursday, 17 May 2018

A Journey into Rocky Memories - Sepia Saturday

Take a journey into rocky memories with this week's Sepia Saturday prompt, as we visit India,  New England . the  Scottish Borders, the Lake District,  Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire, Staffa off Scotland's west coast and Marsden Rock at South Shields, County Durham.  Beginning with an ideal match with the prompt photograph.


My husband's uncle Matty (Matthew Iley White) of South Shields, County Durham is among this group of soldiers perched on a rock in India.   Matty  served in the  Durham Light Infantry in India 1933-1937, as listed in his service book below. 

Boulder Rock near Waterville Valley, New England. We had visions of getting lost on a walk  in the woods here, relying on the signposting rather than a map. Fortunately we made it back to our hotel.

 A 1930's photograph of my mother (left) and father (right) , but I have no idea who the girl in the middle is.  I am also guessing that it was taken in the Lake District which they often visited and where they got engaged. 
A large rock in the Lake District - near Keswick c.1988  I don't know how I was adventurous  enough to climb to the top - I could not do it now. 


To North Yorkshire  - and the Brimham Rocks, huge balancing rock formations  with spectacular views over the Niddersdale Moors. With a labyrinth of paths and plenty of hiding places, be warned,  this is a great place to lose children who can hunt for rocks with weird names such as  Dancing Bear, The Eagle and The Gorilla, The Smartie Tube and balance on the Rocking Stones.  In the care of the National Trust. 


Little  daughter  on a little rock surveying the land above  Hawick in the  Scottish Borders, c.1976.  It must have been a good summer as the  countryside  looks unusually  dry.  

A windy day as daughter, now a lot older, is perching again on a rock on the Isle  of Iona, looking across to Mull.  

Staffa lies 9 miles off the Isles of Mull and Iona.  Its most famous feature is Fingal's Cave,  a large sea cave located near the southern tip of the island some 60 feet high.   The sight  of the rocks and the sound of the sea inspired composer Felix Mendellsohn to capture his visit  in 1829 in "The Hebrides Overture". Other famous visitors made the journey there =  John Keats, Sir Walter Scott, Joseph Turner and Robert Louis Stevenson.  Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were rowed into the cave on the royal barge in 1847. 
Approaching Fingal's Cave on the Island of Staffa.

A view from the top - quite a climb on steps cut into the rocks,  with a rope to hold on to  as a safely aid! 

One lost sheep - perched high  on the Isle of Mul


A journey  to South Shields at  the  mouth of the River Tyne - home of my husband's mariner ancestor

Marsden Rock is a 100 foot sea stack which lies 100 yards off the cliff face.  Believed to be once  a smugglers' haunt,  it is now the home of seabird colonies.   In 1803 a flight of steps was constructed up the side of the rock. In 1903 several choirs climbed onto the rock to perform a choral service.   My husband spent his childhood here, with the beach a favourite playground. In a way this is an historic photograph, as in 1996 the arch collapsed, splitting the rock into two stacks. The smaller stack was decreed unsafe and demolished.  
Among the cliff face rocks at Marsden  c. 1983 

 Daughter (left) with her cousin and dog Cindy - with matching hairstyles!  c.1983 

Copyright © 2018 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Sepia Saturday gives bloggers an opportunity to share 
their family history and memories through photographs

Click HERE to discover other bloggers' rocky photographs


  1. What a wonderful collection of rocks on which to climb...and lots of people did evidently. You win the prize, well, whatever it may be, for being right on point. Too bad to hear that one rock split in two, but it does bring one to the realization that even rocks aren't forever.

  2. This is one rocky post! :) A great selection of a grand variety of rocks and rock formations with various family members perched on or near them. And I think you sell yourself short because I think you probably could climb that ladder to the top of the rock again . . . just maybe a little slower? :)

  3. Nice to have so many lovely photos and memories attached to rock formations. At least that one you climbed had stairs!

  4. Large rocks are fascinating objects because of their wonderful variety of shapes and sizes. No doubt the natural formations inspired ancient ideas of moving big stones and arranging them into mystical patterns. My appreciation of Scotland's rugged beauty has always been accompanied by Mendelssohn's music.

  5. Great collection of photos. Uncle Matty certainly saw the world during his service! I'm inspired to go walking in North Yorkshire.


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