Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Dales is such a beautiful area. We visited many caches at beautiful locations during our trip there, so here are a few of the most special places that we saw…
Stones and Rocks
We headed to “Brimham Rocks” on a lovely sunny afternoon in search of the Brimham Rocks earthcache (GCZKJ9). The National Trust have also placed a few Geocaches around the area which were hidden in well marked and decent-sized containers. Brimham Rocks is covered in balancing rock formations which were created by the erosion of Millstone grit and have created some amazing shapes. I remember seeing the interesting formations on the top of Kinder Scout in the Peak District. It seemed quite unusual to see such large, interesting formations at this particular altitude though (under 900ft).
Stainforth Stepping Stones
Stainforth is a very pretty little village in the Dales with a nice bridge, foss, and stepping stones across the Stainforth Beck where a cache is located (GC1TBGY). I’ve visited the stones before and didn’t like crossing them as there was one missing and it was a bit of a jump! A new stone looks like it has been replaced there though so it was much safer for me to hop across. It’s a very pretty little place to visit.
Yordas Cave (Victorian Show Cave)
Yordas Cave is an old Victoria Show Cave with a cache outside the entrance which has been there since 2002 (GC7F56). I’d been to the cave before, however hadn’t traveled past the mouth as there was a lot of flooding at the time. This time however, I was a bit ruthless and wanted to grab a look at what the heck was causing the loud noise of rushing water.
We passed through the entrance and hopped over the little stream that ran through which was only a few inches deep at the deepest point. The cave was absolutely massive. No crawling was required and the chamber above our heads must have been about 25ft tall.
Soon we got to the point where the sound was very loud, we could bearly hear each other speak. We popped our head around the corner and were greeted by the most magnificent gushing waterfall.
It was utterly amazing, but so hard to get a photo of! The water was very deep at this point and we could have done with more light to capture it better. There was a lot of water dripping from the ceiling all over us as well. I’m adding it to my unfinished business list. I need to return with a spot light and waders!!!
Great Almscliffe Crag
Almscliffe Crag is a huge Millstone Grit outcrop on the outskirts of Harrogate. We paid a visit for the earthcache (GC3XAEE).
It was good fun climbing up and over the crag and we weren’t the only ones doing it either, although these guys were going a lot higher. 😉
For our final day in Yorkshire we were a bit stuck for places to visit. So I had a look for a few caches here and there with some favourite points on. I found a few places, and then I spotted Enchanted Wood (GC23ZD9). It sounded interesting, and upon looking on the Geograph website I noticed it looked like a very interesting place to explore.
Unfortunately Druid’s Temple is only a folly. It was built in 1820 by William Danby, although some records suggest his father built it at some point between 1750 and 1803. There are stories that the folly was built to keep the local population busy who were paid 1 shilling a day to help create it. Also, a salary was offered to anyone who wanted to try and live at the temple as a hermit for 7 years!!! There are also rumors of devil worship and raves at the temple! Even though the temple wasn’t a mysterious, ancient structure like Stonehenge it was still a pretty mysterious and beautiful place. It was completely unsignposted until you got to the car park so I was very pleased that someone had put a cache there to take us to it.
Fall, Foss and Force!
There are some beautiful falls in the Dales. The first that we visited was Linton Falls for the earthcache (GC1Z2ZA)
Next it was Gordale Scar for another earthcache (GC1HGBJ). My GPS hated the high rocks at the cache here and it bounced all over the place so much so that it was quite tricky to find the traditional cache which was also hidden here (GC1HGBJ).
Right around the corner from Gordale Scar is also Janets Foss, a tall and powerful fall with an earthcache (GC1WYMC).
After a little walk from Stainforth, over Stainforth bridge is May the Force be with you (GC1PR69) at yet another beautiful Yorkshire waterfall.
The burning of limestone to create lime was performed in Yorkshire since Medieval times. Limewater and limewash helped with building work, and lime was also used in fertiliser. There are many remains of lime kilns in the Dales and we were lucky enough to find caches at a couple too.
Toft Gate Lime Kiln
Toft Gate Lime Kiln (GC135ZK) is now a scheduled monument. It dates from around the 1860s. The kiln was heated by a series of separate fireboxes part way down the large bowl, It appears that after charging with limestone a lid was placed over the bowl and the fumes led away via a stone flue to a chimney some distance away.
I’d had my eye on a visit to the Hoffmann Kiln cache (GC3H8EM) in Langcliffe ever since I spotted the cache page about a year ago. A Hoffman Kiln is a very special type of lime kiln as they are over 100m in length and are absolutely huge as this diagram shows:
Along the sides of the kiln were many entrances in (or “flue holes”). Some were bricked up and some were open, but when we approached we heard lots of voices inside and saw a big spot light pointing into one of the entrances. We circled the kiln and arrived at the front to find a guy sitting on a chair. Apparently they were filming something set near the end of WW2, but they couldn’t tell us anything more about it (Although with a bit of strategic Googling I can tell you that they were filming “Soldiers of the Damned” for release next year as I found their Facebook page. As a side note, I love how everything is secret… apart from on Facebook ;)). As the film cast were on lunch break we were able to go and have an explore inside (And to be quite honest, I didn’t care if they were filming and had guns! I was going in that kiln!!! ;))
This version of the Hoffmann Kiln which was built in 1873 had 22 burning chambers and it’s quite unique in that most other versions of Friedrich Hoffmann’s kilns in the country have crumbled away. The kiln has a firebrick lining which withstands intense heat. Behind those firebricks is a rubber core to help contain the heat. In the roof, small shoots allow crushed coal to be dropped in to keep burning the limestone that was stacked inside. The “flue holes” along the kiln walls allowed air to be drawn from outside under the burning limestone to push smoke up the central corn of the kiln to the chimney. A railway system was used to transport the limestone blocks to the kiln, and the lime away from the kiln. To empty the chambers of lime, the men had to work inside the boiling hot conditions. Powdered lime covered the men’s clothes and if it got on their skin caused an itchy rash. Airbourne dust also got into their lungs. Because the working conditions were so terrible and there was no mechanical method for emptying the chambers, this Hoffmann Kiln closed in 1931. It’s lovely that apart from the chimney which collapsed, the rest of the kiln remains accessible and in very good condition.
Further along from the Hoffmann Kiln was another type of kiln, a triple draw kiln with three chambers. Limestone was tipped into the top of these kilns along with coal but isn’t as efficient as the Hoffmann Kiln.
I’d never visited York before, but heard it was a beautiful city. We headed there for a day for some shopping, site seeing and caching.
We started off walking around the city walls and picking off caches as we went. We started off with the Holes in the Wall virtual (GCAFE6) where we saw an excavation of the many layers that make up the walls. The walls defended the city since Roman times.
In the museum gardens nearby we were able to visit the remains of St Mary’s Abbey (GC4595V) which was first built in 1088.
The museum gardens were beautiful and full of friendly and curious squirrels like this little chap.
The canal was just a short walk from the gardens and from following that we were able to get to another part of the city walls and pick up some of the caches in the York City Walls series (GC23VTD). It was really lovely walking along the walls and we were surprised at how many caches we found during our little circular tour!
A trip to York wouldn’t be complete without meeting the famous Stonegate Devil (GC4762). He sits outside number 33, which used to be a printers. He used to get the blame for any misprints when going to press. It’s said to be unlucky to look into his eyes!
And the rest…
Cathedral of the Dales
We visited the large “Cathedral of the Dales” to find the cache of the same name (GC10EFM). After finding the cache we went inside to explore. It was pretty impressive.
Snape Castle Chapel
The coordinates of the Snape Castle Chapel (GC11QYZ) took us to the roadside. However, from reading the description, logs and hint we then realised that the cache was actually hidden inside the chapel, near the harmonium! Very unusual! We walked through the church yard, past the castle and past the old ruins.
We walked through the chapel and to the harmonium where after a few minutes we did find the cache and indeed it was inside the chapel!!! It was a beautiful place and a brilliant spot for a cache!
We headed to Hackfall Woods to find the earthcache of the same name (GC2GBZZ). We didn’t realise quite how beautiful the woodland was going to be. As well as the earthcache, there were many traditional caches hidden in there. Unfortunately over half were missing 😦 These were labelled as “Geo Art” caches
They were very nice caches which looked to have homemade stamps inside of them. All of them were of a decent size, but not much care had been taken with all of the placements so it looked like they had been hidden too obviously and subsequently muggled. It was a real shame because the woods were so beautiful and it would have been great to have a trail all around it, which would have been true if all of the caches were enabled. Here are some nice piccies of the beautiful wood. It had a fountain, waterfalls, stepping stones, grottoes, follies, a big lake, and a pond! A real gem that’s worth visiting even though half the cache are missing 😦 Fingers crossed they will be replaced and I can revisit to find them one day.
Ripon horn blower
Finally, we visited a great Virtual called Blow Your Horn (GCH94D) which required us to go down the road to the city of Ripon at 9pm to see the Ripon Hornblower. From the year 886 (YES over 1100 years ago!!!) an appointed hornblower has blown a horn at 9pm on the four corners of the market square EVERY single night! Since 2004 George Pickles has been the horn blower and to claim our virtual cache we had to visit and find out a bit of information from him. George was really lovely and as we sat and waited for him on a bench in market square he came up to us in plain clothes and said “Are you waiting for that hornblower chap? I hear he’s not coming out tonight as he’s gone to the pub (hehe!). A little while after that he went and got changed and then headed to the obelisk on market square, blew his horn, and then asked us if we wanted to hear a story. We all gathered around and made notes for our virtual cache. At the end he gave us all a lucky wooden penny as well. It was a very unique, fun experience.
Yorkshire was absolutely fantastic. It just seemed to have everything. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great, but I think that’s expected! 🙂 I think my most favourite cache was Hoffman Kiln earthcache. It was very unique and a great place to experiment with some photography. I’m also pleased to have my lucky wooden penny. Does that mean I’m never going to have a DNF ever again? 😉