With Halloween around the corner, I thought I would share with you a photo of a sheep’s sun-bleached skull that I found on the fell-side, at Nannycatch (near Cleator Moor) in West Cumbria. Morbid, I know ☠️
Nannycatch is an interesting, and intriguing place name. The English Dialect Dictionary claims that Nanny means to catch an apparition – a mischievous sprite, or fairy. An old children’s playground rhyme goes,
“The moon shines bright, the stars give light, and little Nanny Button Cap will come tomorrow night.”
- Nanny Button Cap was a fairy.
- According to the author Ceasar Caine, There used to be a house in the Cleator Moor area called, Nannycatch House. It was probably a farm house.
- If you’d like to hypothesise on the meaning of Nannycatch, please add your comment below.
The Nannycatch valley is quite a striking place, with a meandering stream. Alfred Wainwright waxed lyrical about walking in the area, and included a section about Nannycatch in his coast to coast book.
I’ve walked in the area numerous times, and perhaps I’ll share a photo or two with you in the not too distant future. It is a scenic walk, and probably doesn’t look too different to what it was, thousands of years ago. It is something to savour.
As a point of interest, in 2007 a local author called Lee Cox, published the book, The Witch Of Nannycatch (no affiliate link). I believe the book is now out of print, but if you are interested, there are second hand copies out there on the web.
In one Amazon review, the book was described as:
Set in the heart of West Cumbria, this book is an enthralling read with an ingenious plot. Bittersweet in parts, it kept me guessing right to the end what the outcome would be. A very good read.
When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may luck be yours on Halloween…
- Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of Hallows’ Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.