Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Wordsworth woz ere

An outlook spanning Great Langdale to Stickle Ghyll, featuring Harrison Stickle and, adjacent on the right, Pavey Ark, its formidable crag wall softened by the mist. Wordsworth once found himself taken aback by the bleat of a lamb, resounding from Pavey Ark, while standing by Stickle Tarn. A recollection of that very sound inspired a segment in ‘The Excursion Book IV‘:

sent forth
As if the visible mountain made the cry . . .
the unanswer’d bleat
Of a poor lamb – left somewhere to itself,
The plaintive spirit of the solitude!

At the base of Stickle Ghyll, is the New Dungeon Ghyll, a public house under the stewardship of the National Trust — is there any other?

Dungeon Ghyll is the deep diagonal ravine to the left. The Force falls before a hollow in the rock, hidden beneath the shadows of rocks and trees, presenting an abyssal appearance. Despite its allure, glimpsing the waterfall requires a careful scramble, demanding caution. For those bold enough, an adventurous journey upstream leads to the heart of the ‘dungeon,’ where the imposing vertical water column resonates within the chilly, shadowed stone chamber—an unforgettable encounter.

Wordsworth was here again. It’s where he got the inspiration for another of his poems, ‘The Idle Shepherd Boys.’ Here, instead of dutifully keeping an eye on their flock, these shepherd lads were racing about. Picture this – one of them is midway across a large rectangular block, which just so happens to double as a bridge over the splash pool of the waterfall. Feeling a bit audacious, he challenges his mate to join the escapade. Amidst all this, he spots a poor lamb that took a tumble into ‘the pool… Within that black and frightful rent.

Thankfully, a certain ‘Poet‘ strolls by. This poet, with a heart for distressed lambs, rescues the woolly troublemaker and ‘gently‘ advises the lads to ‘mind their trade‘ a tad more diligently in the days to come.






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