Ilkley Moor and the North

Ilkley Moor

Most people know the song: “on Ilkley Moor by tat,” they sing. And so did I, until I was corrected: it’s “baht ‘at”, which, in local dialect, means “without a hat”. There you go, you can now smugly sing along to the Ilkley Moor song in the knowledge that you’ve got the words right. You might even have a “romantic” notion of Northerners with their whippets walking on the moors in their boots and braces, but Ilkley is quite posh these days, at least by Yorkshire standards, so it’s more likely to be green wellies and Barbour jackets.

I was born in the North of England, and have lived in the North all of my life. Some Northerners, particularly Yorkshiremen, seem to take great pride in their birthplace. Yorkists like to call it “God’s Own County”. I don’t have a problem with this, but I find it quite strange to boast about one’s homeland, when we could all have been born anywhere. An accident of birth.

Still, even in poor weather there seems to be the faint chance of a pot of gold in Ilkley.

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