Scar House Reservoir

Scar House was the third reservoir in upper Nidderdale to be built for the Bradford Corporation Waterworks. Construction work took 15 years finally completed in 1936 with one million tons of masonry being quarried from on Carle Fell opposite. The incline leading to the large quarry can be seen in the photo. The workers and their families lived in a temporary village on this side of the dale just off to the right complete with post office, hospital, church and cinema, to service a population of 1,250. For the bringing in of materials a narrow gauge from Pateley Bridge was used that had originally been constructed for the Angram Reservoir further up the valley. Water from the reservoir finds its way to Bradford purely by gravity. In 1930 British Pathé produced an interesting (silent) film about the construction of the dam. It can be seen on YouTube:

Scar House Map

Lower Barden Reservoir

Barden Fell yesterday, Barden Moor today, on opposite side of Wharfedale. Barden Beck has two reservoirs; this is the lower one in bleak Yorkshire weather.

In the foreground a grit tray for the grouse. Grouse need a regular supply of grit in order to digest the hard fibrous shoots of the heather on which they feed. Naturally they can use grit from the banks of streams and eroded rock but to make life easier for the grouse grit is provided. Grouse also suffer from the strongyle worm, a parasitic threadworm which cause large annual fluctuations on the grouse population; and of course the number of grouse available for shooting. A drug called Fenbendazole killed the threadworm but the problem was how to administer the drug to thousands of ‘wild’ birds. It was then in the 80s that the gamekeepers came up with a cunning plan, coat the grit with the drug. The result was a 40% increase in grouse productivity. There are some rules: the medicated grit must not be out within 28 days of the glorious 12th, the start of the grouse  shooting season in August. This is minimise the risk of the drug entering the food chain. Most estates now use a two compartment grit tray with medicated grit one side and ordinary grit the other. A lid can be flipped over to cover the medicated grit on the appropriate day.

So if anyone is partial to a morsel of grouse choose your supplier carefully for you are entirely reliant on the integrity of the industry. Unlike other meat destined for human consumption grouse are not regularly tested. Of course if you have a threadworm problem …

SE0355 Lower Barden Reservoir map

Boltby Reservoir

For the second time in as many years I’ve been fooled by this reservoir. I knew it had shrunk but was thrown yet again. Surrounded by the commercial forestry of Boltby Forest Boltby Reservoir was built in 1882 to supply water to the villages of Boltby, Felixkirk and Thirlby. Apparently a deed provides that water to the villages will be free ‘in perpetuity’. It covered an area of 7.7 acres and to give an idea of this size I remember the small hut on the right was a few metres above the water level.

In June 2005 severe rainfall caused damage to the spillway although the Victorian earth dam wall apparently remained structurally sound. With the reservoir not actually any longer being needed Yorkshire Water decided to decommission the reservoir. This involved lowering the water level by 8 metres to create a small wildlife lake, removing a notch in the dam wall and re-landscaping. Work was completed in 2007.


In search of Elgee’s Triangle Stone

Sans le chien so went off piste, exploring the little visited fragments of Open Access Land. Frank Elgee’s Triangle Stone on Stanghow Moor seemed a good aim, last visited in a night navigation event a couple of winters ago. I found this standing stone easily, it might be over the top in calling it a menhir, but I think Elgee’s Stone is the smaller one behind which is indeed triangular. However I liked this photo better.

I really don’t know why Elgee, 1880-1944, renown archaeologist, geologist and naturalist, should have singled out this stone. It is fairly non-descript apart from being on moors devoid of scattered boulders. I really need to read his book, The Moorlands of North-East Yorkshire, maybe the answer is in there. One of these stones is marked as a boundary stone on the 1856 Ordnance Survey map, my guess it’s the larger one.

In the distance to the right is Lockwood Beck reservoir which was visited by an osprey in August this year. Cor, wish I had seen that.

Fewston Reservoir

Fewston Reservoir, one of three built in the 1870s in the Washburn Valley near Harrogate with a fourth, Thruscross, added in 1966, to supply Leeds with water. The start of a circular crossing Blubberhouses Moor which is crossed by the Roman Road, Watling Street. I found no trace of the road, being obliterated by a modern access track. A pair of Red Kites circled above me but keep far enough away to avoid my lens. I discovered when I got home that very close to where I had passed a Red Kite was found shot in June. This was the second one found shot in the vicinity in as many months. Quite depressing after a glorious day on the hills.

Piethorne Reservoir

It’s always good to explore a new area. Bleakedgate Moor, in the South Pennines south of the M62 is an area I have never been on. As the name says a bleak place, with hard gritstone tracks, tussocky moorland and black peaty bogs. But a warm, sunny day and a pleasant break on the way back from Manchester.

This is Piethorne Reservoir, built in the 1860s, it is one of several reservoirs in the Piethorne Valley to provide a water supply to the people of Oldham.

Where was I today?

On the Lake District Mountain Trial so somewhere in the Lakes. But where? A reservoir, although a tarn existed before it was enlarged at the turn of the twentieth century. Apparently there was a riot amongst its construction workers when several were shot including one fatality. Quite peaceful today.

No prizes only the kudos of being a sage of the Lakes. And any fellow competitors keep mum for a few days.