Poet as Geologist

Guest blogger and workshop facilitator Clint Wastling talks about the interaction between geology and poetry

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m passionate about geology and how layers of rock create the landscape around us. Growing up in Scarborough with the freedom to roam the North Bay, framed by the castle to the south and Jackson’s Bay to the North, it was only a matter of time before I started to ask questions. I found shell impressions in sandstone, there was always quartz in its various colours and at low tide we’d clamber out onto the rocks and then the revelation – dinosaur footprints!

Now it might seem obvious that the rocks of the Castle Headland aren’t the same as those of the North Bay.  They stick out into the sea, so must be harder than the surrounding clays. The castle headland isn’t a promontory of rock sticking out into the sea but almost like a slice of cake with its narrowest point facing the land. Perfect for defence. The rocks of the castle have been moved on a fault from higher up around Broxa several miles away. That must have been some earthquake! This hard rock is an outlier of Middle Jurassic sandstone.

At Filey, the rugged Brigg is a hard rock called a calcareous grit. It is late Jurassic in age. The Brigg is famous for its fossils, showing this rock was deposited in a tropical sea. Further south you can see the towering cliffs at Bempton which are Chalk. In between the beautiful sweep of bay is formed from soft shales and clays which are eroded faster. 

This is not intended to be a geology lesson but to appreciate the rocks which make up the beautiful North Yorkshire coast can underpin our thinking and inspire our writing. It’s a way “in” and if you think only Dr Who travels in time, you’re wrong. We all can. You start 10,000 years ago in the Boulder Clay of the last ice-age at Carr Naze and if you walk the Cleveland Way, you’ll end up 200 million years in the past at Runswick Bay and Staithes! 200 million years of Earth’s history and mile upon mile of marvellous Jurassic Coast to enjoy! That’s my inspiration and the enthusiasm for it will be at the heart of my Spelt Workshop on Saturday 15th October

Jurassic  Period 200 million years ago to 145 million years ago

Cretaceous Period 145 million years ago to 66 million years ago

To book a place on Clint’s upcoming Saturday 15th October Spelt workshop, click this link: Poet as geologist

To buy Clint’s book, follow this link: Maytree Press

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