Monthly Archives: August 2009

Whitby Journal

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August 17, 2009 · 8:31 pm

The Goats of Castle Rock


June 2009

A stupendous landscape in North Devon…one of the best places I’ve been, although I say that about many places in England.  The cliffs in Lynton are the highest in England.  The wild goats roam free.  They’re not at all afraid of humans.  One morning I found a group of them on the North Walk path, and they  just walked away quietly as I approached.  Two white goats  moved to the edge of the cliff and stood looking out to sea, as if posing for me.

For several days as I walked the cliff paths and the Valley of the Rocks, I saw the goats grazing on the gorse throughout the area.   They’re most amusing with their long beards and curving horns and quizzical looks.

One evening I was alone on the summit of Hollerday Hill just before  sunset when two male goats began banging their horns against each other.  From the clash of horns it sounded as if they were trying to kill each other.  I stood transfixed for about five minutes while this ritual went on.  The goats reared up on their hind legs, charged at each other, banged their horns together.  All the while a female goat grazed peacefully in the background.  The setting sun trailed a  dazzling path over the sea, a cold breeze ripped across the hills, and I was alone on the hill top, watching these goats  enact this ancient ritual.

From the top of Hollerday Hill one actually looks down on the massive Castle Rock, and the entire Valley of the Rocks is spread out below.  In an inland direction green hills roll away to the horizon.  It doesn’t get much more spectacular than this.

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