Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
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Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
 
By Ingleborough to Gordale Scar
By Thomas Gray (1716–1771)
 
From Journal in the Lakes

  October 12 … Set out for Settle by a fine turnpike road, 29 miles.
  1
  Rich and beautiful enclosed country, diversified with frequent villages and churches, very uneven ground, and on the left the river Lune winding in a deep valley, its hanging banks clothed with fine woods, through which you catch long reaches of the water as the road winds about at a considerable height above it. Passed the park (Hon. Mr. Clifford’s, a Catholic) in the most picturesque part of the way. The grounds between him and the river are indeed charming: the house is ordinary, and the park nothing but a rocky fell scattered over with ancient hawthorns. Came to Hornby, a little town on the river Wanning, over which a handsome bridge is now in building. The castle, in a lordly situation, attracted me, so I walked up the hill to it. First presents itself a large but ordinary white gentleman’s house, sashed, behind it rises the ancient keep built by Edward Stanley, Lord Monteagle, in Henry the eighth’s time. It is now a shell only, though rafters are laid within it as for flooring. I went up a winding stone staircase in one corner to the leads, and at the angle is a single hexagon watch-tower, rising some feet higher, fitted up in the taste of a modern Foot with sash-windows in gilt frames, and a stucco cupola, and on the top a vast gilt eagle, by Mr. Charteris, the present possessor. But he has not lived here since the year 1745, when the people of Lancaster insulted him, threw stones into his coach, and almost made his wife (Lady Catherine Gordon) miscarry. Since that he has built a great ugly house of red stone (thank God it is not in England) near Haddington, which I remember to have passed by. He is the second son of the Earl of Wemyss, and brother to the Lord Elcho; grandson to Colonel Charteris, whose name he bears. From the leads of the tower there is a fine view of the country round, and much wood near the castle. Ingleborough, which I had seen before distinctly at Lancaster, to north-east, was now completely wrapped in clouds, all but its summit, which might have been easily mistaken for a long black cloud too, fraught with an approaching storm. Now our road began gradually to mount towards the Appennine, the trees growing less and thinner of leaves, till we came to Ingleton, 18 miles: It is a pretty village, situated very high and yet in a valley at the foot of that huge creature of God Ingleborough. Two torrents cross it with great stones rolled along their bed instead of water, over them are two handsome arches flung. Here at a little ale-house, where Sir Bellingham Graham, and Mr. Parker, lord of the manor (one of them six feet and a half high, and the other as much in breadth), came to dine. The nipping air (though the afternoon was growing very bright) now taught us we were in Craven; the road was all up and down (though nowhere very steep), to the left were mountain-tops, to the right a wide valley (all enclosed ground), and beyond it high hills again. In approaching Settle, the crags on the left draw nearer to our way; till we ascended Brunton-brow, into a cheerful valley (though thin of trees) to Giggleswick, a village with a small piece of water by its side, covered over with coots. Near it a church which belongs also to Settle, and half a mile further, having passed the Ribble over a bridge, arrived at Settle. It is a small market-town standing directly under a rocky fell, there are not a dozen good-looking houses, the rest are all old and low, with little wooden porticoes in front. My inn pleased me much (though small) for the neatness and civility of the good woman that kept it, so I lay there two nights, and went …  2
  October 13, to visit Gordale-scar. Wind N.E.: day gloomy and cold. It lay but six miles from Settle, but that way was directly over a fell, and it might rain, so I went round in a chaise the only way one could get near it in a carriage, which made it full thirteen miles; and half of it such a road! but I got safe over it so there’s an end, and came to Mallhem (pronounce it Maum) a village in the bosom of the mountains seated in a wild and dreary valley: from thence I was to walk a mile over very rough ground. A torrent rattling along on the left hand. On the cliffs above hung a few goats; one of them danced and scratched an ear with its hind foot in a place where I would not have stood stock still for all beneath the moon. As I advanced the crags seemed to close in, but discovered a narrow entrance turning to the left between them. I followed my guide a few paces, and lo, the hills opened again into no large space, and then all farther away is barred by a stream, that at the height of above 50 feet gushes from a hole in the rock, and, spreading in large sheets over its broken front, dashes from steep to steep and then rattles away in a torrent down the valley. The rock on the left rises perpendicular with stubbed yew-trees and shrubs staring from its side to the height of at least 300 feet; but those are not the things: it is that to the right under which you stand to see the fall that forms the principal horror of the place. From its very base it begins to slope forwards over you in one block and solid mass without any crevice in its surface, and overshadows half the area below with its dreadful canopy. When I stood at (I believe) full four yards distance from its foot, the drops which perpetually distil from its brow, fell on my head, and in one part of the top more exposed to the weather there are loose stones that hang in the air and threaten visibly some idle spectator with instant destruction. It is safer to shelter yourself close to its bottom, and trust to the mercy of that enormous mass which nothing but an earthquake can stir. The gloomy uncomfortable day well suited the savage aspect of the place, and made it still more formidable.  3
  I stayed there (not without shuddering) a quarter of an hour, and thought my trouble richly paid, for the impression will last for life. At the alehouse where I dined in Maum, Vivares the landscape painter had lodged for a week or more; Smith and Bellers had also been there; and two prints of Gordale have been engraved by them.  4
 
 
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