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A Sketch of a Northern Tour

An extract transcribed from the travel journals of John Enys

From Harrowgate to Kendal via the Craven Dales
September 14-17th 1783

John Enys (1757-1818) was born into the old Cornish family Enys of St Gluvias, the third son of John Ennis and Lucy Basset of Tehidy.
He attended Eton before enlisting as an ensign in the 29th Regiment of Foot in 1775. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and campaigned in Canada and America during the American Revolution. He fought at the battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, Canada, where General Sir Guy Carleton defeated the American fleet under Benedict Arnold in.1796.
This diary of his journeys made whilst on leave from his regiment was written up from his notes after his retirement from the Army in 1800. He also kept diaries of his campaigns and some of these have been published as “The American Journals of Lt John Enys” edited by. Elizabeth Cometti, published in 1976 by Syracuse University Press.
John Enys died at Bath in 1818 and the complete journals are held at Cornwall Record Office ref. EN 1800.


On the 14 of September about four in the afternoon we set off from Harrowgate, supposing the distance to Skipton to be only 16 Miles, but to our great Disapointment found it to be twenty. The wind being very high and directly in our faces, made our ride very uncomfortable, and the distance made it so late that we should have been benighted had not the moon got up in good time to our assistance.

At length we arrived, and next morning went to see Skipton Castle, the Seat of Lord Thanet, who never resides here. It has formerly been a good house and pleasantly situated, but in a most dreadful part of the country.
After breakfast we set off for Mallum, vulgarly called Maum, and after driving 11 or 12 Miles thro bad roads, in a day tenderd not the best in the world, by wind and some showers, which however we were lucky enough to escape, we came to the village which is situated in a vale surrounded by mountains on all sides.

The first place we were shown, by a girl of about twelve years old, was Maum Cove, on our way to which I saw a girl about the same age of our guide, who was I absolutely think the most beautiful creature I ever beheld, in any station of life.
The Cove is a high Lime Stone Rock about 1/4 of a Mile from the village in a semicircular form, said to be 300 feet high but if we allow it to be 200 I think we shall be right. At the foot of this immence rock issues a considerable brook large enough to turn a floure mill. This brook makes its appearance on the other side of the mountain, into which it enters by two holes. Any light body thrown into either of these mouths, will come out at the cove.

From hence we return’d towards the village. At the entrance of which we struck off to the right to a place called Gordell Scarr, which is near a mile from the village of which it is the great lyam. When we had got about half way, our guides uncle come after us, and taking us under his care sent her back. About half way from the village we got sight of the brook that comes from it, which we kept in sight the whole way to the place itself. On our arrival, tho well accustomed to high rocks I could not help being astonished at this. You approach it thro a valley by the side of the brook, and all at once on turning round a rock you find yourself in a amphytheatre surrounded on all sides except the entrance, by rocks said to be 300 feet high, which I think they are if not more. On your right as you enter is a kind of cave that seems to have drawn Mr Gray’s attentions more than any other part of the Scarr, and is truly a tremendous craggy rock over hanging its base is five or perhaps six yards, as when you stand at that distance from it’s foot, the drops of water that continualy distils from its top, fall on your head.

On the opposite side is another Rock of the same height and very near perpendicular, having some scrubby yew trees and other shrubs growing out from its sides in many parts. But to me neither of these, beautifull as they are, can be put in competition with the front view of it to where the rock divides into a kind of valley, in which at the height of 100 feet on the right hand side, is a rude arch in the rock from 2 to 21/2 yards wide, and about the same high from whence the river gushes from the mountain and falling about 14 feet, you for the time lose sight of it, from hence it falls from rock to rock, at the bottom of the gulley and is by that conducted to a high steep rock, from whence it falls about 40 feet perpendicular, after which it is tumbled from rock to rock meeting in its way two or three more rocks of 18 inches or two feet high in its way before it gets into a quiet passage, thro the valley thro which it passes to the village, where it joins the other streams from Mallum Cove.

But this is by some said to be the source of the River Air, but this is a mistake, that river rising rather below the village, and has two distinct springs, which unite soon after they rise, a short distance further, the stream from the village joins it.

Having seen all we had to see we returned thro Kirby Mallum, a village about a mile further, where we turned of towards Settle, by this road we made it 12 miles, tho there is a road over the moors that is not more than half the distance, but the hills are steep and the road bad and easily mistaken.

Settle is a market town, and pritty large tho straggling and ill built. It is situated at the foot of the mountains, and directly over the town stands a very steep lime stone rock, from which they are continually making lime, that appears as if it would fall and crush the town.
It is said that the rock was surveyed some time ago, on a report of its dangerous appearance. When the lerned surveyors gave it as their oppinion, that if it did fall at all, it must be the other way, which side unfortunately for their predictions leans against the mountain. For my part tho I confess it looks dreadfull do not think the town is in any danger from it.

On our return to our inn we could not conceive what made such a clatter in the street which on examination we found to proceed from the shoes worn by the boys in the street who were just come from school which are made with a wooden soal like that of a clog that are from 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick, and because this is not strong enough they shoe them with iron in some places.
On the 16th we continued our journey and one mile from Settle passed there a village called Giggleswick which is situated at one end of a strong mountain called Giggleswick Scarr, from which it takes its name.

A short mile from the village under the scar is a well that ebbs and flows frequently, where I just got out of the gigg, and tasted the water which was very good but as we had no time to spare and had no sort of doubt of it’s really being possed of all the qualities it is said to be. We did not stay to see it’s retrograde motion when we saw it over run the stone basin very fast and formed a pretty little stream from it.

The road from the well has a gentle assent for nearly a mile under this craggy scar and having gained the summit of it we descended into a valley of some considerable extent, on one side of which stands the enormous mountain of Ingleborough which appears to be the highest in the country and is said to be the first land that can be seen from sea in the Irish Channel.

After having passed thro the village of Clapham we crossed the foot of the mountain and came close to the town of Ingleton but instead of entering it we turned to the right round the mountain on the road towards Richmond and proceeding four miles up a valley between two very high mountains one of which is Ingleborough the other Whernside which is said to be again higher than the former, as will appear by the height of the different mountains, have we come to a place called Chaple in the Dale consisting of a small chaple and two or three houses

Here after having found a man as a guide and just our horses into his stable for there is not even an alehouse here, we were shown a very large hole in the ground about one hundred yards from the chaple. The top of this hole is even with the field in which it stands, on one side of which is a hole in the rock and a sloping pathway down to it, that admits you a few yards down its side, from whence it has the appearance of a monstrous large pot from which it takes the name of Hurtle Pot.

It is I believe possible to go much lower than we went if not down to the water that is in it’s bottom, but the drops that fall from its top makes the way too slippery for anyone who has as great a regard for himself as I have. The water at its bottom is said to be exceeding deep and have a communication with Weathercote cave on the one side and on the other having passed under ground for near a mile rises in the Vale a little below the village and forms the source of the Waise. After very hard rain this pot is said to fill with water and run out of its entrance, notwithstanding the pot is about 50 feet in diameter and as many or rather more when we saw it from the surface of the water.

From hence he took us to another place and showed us a large spilt in the rock which he called Gingle Pot tho for my part I could see no more that it had to a pot than it had to being a curiosity which I could see nothing like. Having assended the rock at the back of this place and gone about 100 yards we passed as small cottage that seemed entirely ignorant that it was so near to one of the greatest curiosities in this kingdom. About 40 yards from its door is the mouth of Weathercote cave, the entrance and top of which are covered with trees and shrubs of various kinds. One side that is more sloping than the rest admit of your entrance and after scrambled down till you get about 12 yards below the surface of the ground you see the falls, which make a noise like thunder and fill the cavern with its spray like small rain.

Here on the right hand side is a cave in the rock said to be a great curiosity and to have parts of it resembling tables and chairs. These I looked for in vain, there was indeed in one corner a rock you might set down on but that is all I could find. Here is also a fine spring of fine water to which some of the tourists ascribe a petrifying quality, tho after a strict search we could find nothing like petrifaction near it.

From hence we descended lower and about halfway down is a small fall on the left hand side that falls from a considerable height tho nothing when compared to the great one which is at the farthest end of the cave, which breaks from the rock about 12 feet from the surface of the ground from whence it seventy five feet perpendicular, into the bottom of the caverns, where it no sooner fills than it sinks under ground and after visiting Hurtle Pot and perhaps Gingle Pot in its way forms the source of the river Waise as I have already said.
On the left hand side of the fall and close to it is another cave that I could stand up in is have you are in some measure covered from the spray of the fall, tho you are wetted by the drops that continuously fall from it’s top. At the extremity of this our guide said there was a long subteraneous passage that is supposed to communicate with the two Pots, but as no one had yet ventured to explore it, we left it to some more curious and enterprizing genius.

At the bottom of the hole I searched for some curious stone or petrefactions in vain and was obliged to return to the top without any thing worth bringing away. This place also runs over after very hard rain although near 90 feet deep.

On my arrival in the air again I found myself quite wet through in several long the length of this cavern is near one hundred feet and its breadth rather more than half that distance, after this, having discharged the guide, we walked on toward Ingleton and left the servant to get the gigg and follow us. This gave us an opportunity of going to the source of the river before he overtook us, in which there is nothing to be seen but the water rising from several different parts of the rock, which within a few yards formed a considerable stream, after having come God knows how far under ground.

Having gain’d the road again, he soon overtook us and we proceeded thro Ingleton to Thornton, near which is a remarkable cave under ground but as it is not at all equal to those in Derbyshire and other parts of England, and we were rushed in point of time,we did not go into it, but proceeded to Kirkby Lonsdale to dinner.

Here is a fine old bridge across the river Lon of which no body can give any account, but like many other things whose real history is unknown, the workmanship is ascribed to the Devil who is said to have built it in one night with one apron full of stone and that he intended it should be much larger but his apron string breaking he let fall some of the stones on a hill near it called ................
The town is neat and well built most part of it, has a good church and a remarkable pretty church yard, that commands a charming view of the river that forms a kind of lake just under it. About 1/2 mile from the town stands a white house that was formerly a Gentlemans seat, now let for a farm house, which is a fine object. From hence, the evening being fine, we took a walk to it, the path leading to it being all along the cliff commanding several beautifull views of the river and town.

Next morning we left this and got to Kendal about one o’clock, after dinner we paid a visit to Mr Maude who we had known at Harrowgate, and who received us with a great deal of civility.

After tea we took a walk and saw the town which is large and for the most part well built, particularly some new streets leading to the water, it is a place of very great trade and as most other trading towns are, is very populous.
Here is the best market place I ever remember to have been ..

Read the accounts of other 18th & early 19th century visitors to the Malhamdale area.


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