Top Withins

Decided to visit to Haworth today. Never been before, on the moors about that is although I’ve done the village before; a long time ago. A bit of a disappointment really, the “Brontë Waterfalls” a mere trickle. Top Withins, supposedly the inspiration for the Earnshaw home in Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, was no better. Benches, information boards, memorials and the inevitable discarded water bottles drained the atmosphere for me. But then I’ve never read the book. The stonework walls were heavily pointed and neatly capped off with cement obviously to stabilise the structure. The farmhouse would have been just one of a small cluster which stood on Stanbury Moor above Haworth. It’s accepted amongst the devotees that the building would actually have borne no resemblance to Brontë’s description in the book but “may have been in her mind when she wrote of the moorland setting”. 

Grassington Moor

Lead mining has had a tremendous impact on much of the Yorkshire Dales. Both providing a wealth of fascinating archaeological interest and transforming the landscape in a barren industrial wasteland. Grassington Moor has had a long history of mining. Being flatter than Swaledale and the northern dales and lacking the steep sided valleys, early ore was gained not by hushes and drifts into the hillside but by sinking of shafts to reach the mineral veins. Early shafts were no more than 30 metres deep with the vein being worked horizontally until it became exhausted or unsafe.

In the 19th century the Duke of Devonshire acquired the moor and began a more industrial exploitation. An horizontal adit was driven linking the shafts for drainage and a cupola coal fired smelting mill was built to replace earlier wood and peat fired mills. The cupola mill enabled continuous smelting. In the photo the remains of this mill are at the bottom right of the slope. Fumes from the mill were exhausted via a network of flues to the chimney at the highest point of the moor. This network of flues was to enable sections of flue to be isolated and cleaned out to recover condensed lead without halting the smelting process. The cupola built closed in 1882.

Between 1955 and 1962, Dales Chemicals reworked the old waste heaps for fluorspar and barytes which the Victorian miners had discarded. Many of the buildings dating from this time can be seem on the far left of the photo at the top of the track.

Watlowes

The dry valley of Watlowes above Malham Cove. The stream, outflowing from Malham Tarn is far underground seeping its way through fissures and cracks in the limestone. On the right is Ing Scar and Crag whilst on the top the Ordnance Survey map indicates a prehistoric settlement and field system. A dramatic place to live.

Malham Cove

Late Sunday afternoon. The tourists are departing the honey pot of Malham Cove but the climbers show no sign of calling it a day. I was amazed at the number there. Many were using long telescopic poles to click their krabs and ropes onto anchor bolts set in the limestone that would otherwise have been out of reach. I must be out of touch.

Starbotton in Wharfedale

It should be so easy. Just take a picture and look it up in the book later. I thought this was an Early Purple but the book says that that orchid has blotched leaves and this one definately didn’t. On the slopes of Moor End Fell above Starbotton in upper Wharfedale.

Stepping Stones

Quiz question: name the seven tributaries of the Yorkshire Ouse, in order starting from the North? It’s a family trivia question. This is number 4 the River Wharfe just below Kettlewell on a wet afternoon.

Whin, Cliff Rigg Quarry

Gorse or furze is one shrub which flowers throughout the winter but at this time of the year it’s yellow flowers are in profusion. Another name is whin on account of its liking for rocky soils such as that in the old whinstone quarry on Cliff Ridge, Great Ayton. Or may it is the rock that is named after the plant.