On Friday we drove down to see Verity and Chris, meeting them at Ingleton in North Yorkshire. The temperature was already in the mid-20s by the time we got off the motorway, and when we got out at Ingleton it felt like we’d arrived in a tropical country! Scotland has had beautiful weather these last few weeks, but nothing to compare with the heatwave further south.
Luckily for us, the woodlands of the Swilla Glen along the River Twiss offered shade and tumbling water, with mossy pools. We parked in the village and walked down to the beginning of the trail, not knowing that there is a visitor car park right by the head of the path. Be warned that it costs £6 per adult just to walk around the loop… I have never paid to go on a walk before, as far as I can remember, but the trails are very popular and I guess someone has to pay for their upkeep.
We stopped lots of times for photos, especially at a ‘money tree’, a dead tree trunk that has had thousands of pennies beaten into its bark over the years. I’m not sure how long this tradition has been going on for – most of the coins I could see were fairly recent. I know of a similar tree near Ardmaddy in Argyll, which may have older origins. Needless to say, we each hammered a piece of small change into the tree, which was more difficult than you’d imagine. The fairies around there must be very rich!
The river was very low, but the falls were still impressive. Imagine how spectacular they would be after a good spell of rain! We eventually emerged from the woods and climbed up onto the dry moorland where a path led to the Godfather of them all – Thornton Force, regarded as one of the finest waterfalls in Yorkshire. (‘Fors’ is an Old Norse word meaning ‘waterfall’.)
From here, the path carried on up and then looped back down the eastern bank of the river, taking in quite a long stretch of open moor. Since the sun was now scorching and relentless, we opted to turn around and go back the way we had come, under the shade of the tall trees. Some very brave walkers were carrying on, but there’s no pleasure to be had in your surroundings, in such heat!
Colin got some lovely photos of a dipper taking a bath, and we found some fascinating rocks, as well as a few small brown trout in the pools. There were some really big yew trees overhanging the river, with long gnarled branches. I wonder how old they are.
This is somewhere I’d like to return to on a milder day, or perhaps after a sharp frost, and I’d love to see Thornton Force in full spate! I bet it’s an awesome sight.