Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Ruins, remains and all things abandoned

Coming to walk in Swaledale?  Coming for the scenery, the wildlife and the meadows?
Its all here in abundance and you won't be disappointed however what's been left here from a time when life in the dale was very different to how it is today? When life was hard, when it was a struggle.  When work was dangerous and dark and difficult with little reward.

The legacy of the lead mining industry at Swinner Gill.
There are many lead mining buildings to explore in Swaledale.  The Swinner Gill ruins are up a steep climb on the C2C path out of Keld.  Fascinating and thought provoking when you realise the men (and boys?) had this arduous trek every day.    
Old Gang and Surrender can be found on the road between Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. Take the road up the side of the Punchbowl Inn in Low Row. 

Crackpot Hall is probably the most well known abandoned ruin in Upper Swaledale.  On the walk between Keld and Muker take the track up and away from the skeleton tractor which has been left abandoned to be slowly reclaimed by the earth.

The name Crackpot Hall sounds very grand but it is in fact no more than a very large farmhouse. It is however a feast for the imagination triggering a mind-boggling overload of questions ...Who lived here?  Why did they leave? What was life like in such a remote location with no electricity, running water or access road?  Its a place that children adore.  Bring the family.  There is plenty published about Crackpot Hall and even recorded for radio on BBC3 Alice at Crackpot 

On the opposite side of the river Swale is the abandoned hamlet of Harklakes once occupied by lead miners, small holders and farmers.

On the outside there's evidence of a single story porch now long gone. Peep inside and see the cramped living conditions, the fireplace (what did they burn, peat or coal?), a stone staircase, rough sorn beams, stone shelves and lime washed walls.

Stumbling across these abandoned dwellings is a source of great wonderment.  If they fire your curiosity visit the Swaledale Museum in Reeth http://www.swaledalemuseum.org/and the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes http://www.dalescountrysidemuseum.org.uk/ both rich with artifacts and information.

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