Northern Light

up north 098In a few days I run northwards again for the monthly meeting of the Silent Eye. Since the birth of the school I have been blessed with the opportunity to point the car northwards every few weeks. Before that it had been the best part of twenty years since I had been able to spend any time there. So to be able to finally return so often to a place that holds my heart has left me with a deep well of emotion. Much of it gratitude.

northern sky

I had yearned for the moors and hillsides with a longing that had become so much a part of me I couldn’t have separated it out had I tried. And now I get to go back and feed my soul. Each visit is touched with utter perfection. No matter how pretty it is down here in the south… and it is admittedly very beautiful… there is something in the northern skies and the hillsides, something in the way people say good morning as they pass, something in the accent and dialect… something that is Home and that pulls at the heartstrings, triggering a deep longing to return that had never eased.

harvest being 2014 014

Springtime was bad as a rule… the moors exert a powerful attraction in spring as the nascent life eases hesitantly out into the uncertain warming of the year. Summer you know will be beautiful with the tenuous sunshine on the heather, a haze of purple as far as the eye can see. Autumn is an orgy of ochre and scarlet as the colours blaze for a final moment of glory before the pall of winter shrouds the landscape. Winter can be wild, it is stark, hard and monochrome… but is wonderful.

harvest being 2014 054

Here in the central south everything seemed remote. The sky too far away to touch, people seldom speak to strangers; there is much beauty but no wildness. I felt isolated from the world, from its folk and, for a very long time, from the landscape too. I had felt anonymous, unseen even to myself as parts of me that knew life keenly in the high places faded into a faceless anonymity, cocooned in a grey normality that blurred the sharp edges and softened the contrasts of being alive.

uffington and rollright 008

It was not until the landscape of Albion came to life for me, after Uffington that first weekend when Stuart came to visit… and long before we understood the adventure that was beginning to unfold … that I began to really see the landscape here and realise that there is no border between north and south… the barrier was simply in me. A barrier that was lifted by the wings of kites as we began the journey of writing The Initiate together, telling the story of what was being shown to us in wonderand which, incredibly, continues.

uffington and rollright 029

But even so, the moors still call. The wildness is magical. There is an intimacy about the north that invades every pore, working its way into the heart, a silent breath of cold air that clears the fog of mediocrity in which it is too easy to lose oneself and founder. It is a landscape of absolutes and extremes and it demands that same  response from the heart and mind. It galvanises Being.

harvest being 2014 027Many do not understand that apparent desolation of the moors and mountains. They cannot see the extremes of passionate life in the barrenness that clings like lichen to the riven rocks or crouches against the wild wind like a tree grasping for a foothold in  stone. Many respond better to the welcoming warmth of a greener England, one of manicured fields and tended hedgerows, thatched roofs and picture book villages. Each of us must follow the call of the inner heart where it leads and there is more than one way to light up a soul.

north meeting 184For me the moors of the north are home. No matter where I live, where life, circumstance or service need me to be. For me there is both absoluteness and absolution in the wild hills. Leaving them behind still carries a wrench of separation and the drive south is often made through a mist of tears but these days with a joy in the heart that sings because I have walked my hills again.

I can’t help it. I’m a Yorkshire lass with heather in the blood.


About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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28 Responses to Northern Light

  1. pattyalcala says:

    I so enjoyed this piece. I felt the heartache from having left your beautiful land. And it touched my soul as you described your return, with all the beauty and nature that was waiting on you. I hope you don’t mind that I reblog it on my site. Such beauty must be shared.


  2. pattyalcala says:

    Reblogged this on I Am Not Sick Boy and commented:
    Read this post by Sue at Daily Echo and be transported to another land.


  3. As a Yorkshire lass myself – happy for thirty-four years in Pembrokeshire – I too yearn for my roots sometimes. I’ve always loved the freedom of the moors. To stand on what seems the top of the world with the cries of sheep carried on the wind and the crows buffetted about in the huge canopy of the sky. Home. Your posts bring peace – especially at this difficult time of my life. Before In get too maudlin this morning, just want to say how much I admire all your wonderful photos. Thank you, Sue.


  4. TanGental says:

    Beautiful photography and you almost had me sold until ‘there is no wildness’ in reference to the southern landscapes. Surely that is too blinkered a view, too simplistic an analysis. Move north of the Wash and the wild place grow and deepen, for sure and they have a different character with their crags and mountainous slopes. But to say there are no wild places down here, no I cannot agree. I’m a boy steeped in the New Forest; I’ve stepped out onto Matley bog in the early spring or been shrouded in mist at Bramshaw Telegraph and understood an isolation the Moors of Yorkshire or the Cumbrian Hills would do well to better. We will have to agree to disagree I fear.


  5. Born ‘with heather in the blood’ — what a lovely image and thought.

    Living here on the border of the prairies and the Rockies, there is a constant pitch to land. A call for wide open spaces and yearning for high peaks and mountain lakes.

    I love your descriptive verse of northern lands. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. mnghostt says:

    found you via pattyalcala. nice write!


  7. noelleg44 says:

    The photos are indeed magical, Sue, and the feelings you express for the moors are the ones I have for the beach and the ocean. Isn’t it grand that some places can have such a powerful effect on us?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ali Isaac says:

    I love lush and verdant, but am always drawn to bleak and barren landscapes… there is something raw and powerful about a rocky ravine or bare mountain peak or dry dusty desert… and the air is so clear, the light so crisp, have you noticed that? I’m from the north west myself, but I know how you feel about that bond with the landscape.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Yep… the quality of the light is one of the things I miss here. It is abeautifula part of the country… and right now, all in flower as spring bursts… but give me stone and copper streams any day.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Mary Smith says:

    As a Scot I, too, was born with heather in the blood and a love of wild moors and mountains. I spent ten years in England then another ten years in Pakistan and Afghanistan. When I came home I looked at my landscape with new eyes – and wondered why I’d ever left. Maybe we need to go away to fully appreciate what we’ve left behind? I’m back now and staying rooted.
    Love the photos.


  10. Eileen says:

    Your gift of description takes us with you to the north and the moors. I have been to York, and ridden through Yorkshire and visited Edinburgh, Scotland and your writing makes me long to return. I live in Middle Tennessee in the USA and it is similar to central England….green with rolling hills. Very pretty in a soft quiet way. But I love the mountains of East Tennessee even more. But even those don’t have the wildness of your home. Thanks for sharing your photos and even more your pictures of words.


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