While my Meindhl Borneo are comfortable, almost right out the box, they have now done a fair few miles, and there is some minor discomfort occasionally. This isn’t really a fault of the boots (Apart from the memory foam heating and changing the shape of the ankle area), more the shape of my feet, and the slight rolling I have in my feet when I walk along. So I have been looking at ways of doing up the laces to complement my foot shape. Its amazing at how you lace the boots, can make a vast difference to the boot. So When I head out on Friday, I shall experiment with a few different methods of lacing to see how it feels.
On Sunday I went for a little wander around Swinsty, and it was very very busy. Normally quite busy on a Sunday, but this was strangly busy. People taking advantage of the calm weather no doubt. I pulled into the carpark, and struggled to find a place, I did think of going further up the chain, but a parking space was found near the gate. I dont think I have ever had to park all the way up here when I come up.
So battling my way through the thronging masses that are gatherd on the shore feeding the various geese and ducks (Some of which are nasty vicious hand snatchers) picked up the path and headed off toward Fewston. In one particulay muddy area a woman wearing sandals was trying to get by the mud, by shinning along the fence, a sight which I found quite funny. I ploughed right through the mud, as a little mud never hurt anybody..
I wonderd How many people walking along here knew of the history of Swinsty. Do they know that under all that water the remains of New Hall lie? New hall was originally a home to the Fairfax family, whose members included Ferdinando Fairfax and the poet Edward Fairfax. Women in the nearby village of Timble were twice tried at York for witchcraft on the accusation of Edward, who suspected them of possessing his two daughters. Neighbouring Fewston Reservoir covers another Fairfax family home, Cragg Hall.
The reservoir was built by the Leeds Waterworks Company, and employed a labour force of around 300 men under the management of Robert Brooks, previously an assistant at the construction of Lindley Wood Reservoir. Consultants were Thomas Hawksley of Westminster and Edward Filliter of Leeds.
Work on the construction of the reservoir began in 1871. “The Huts”, as they were known locally, were constructed to house the workforce, in part using materials from a water mill dismantled in the valley. The bulk of the materials for the dam itself came to Starbeck by rail. From there they were, at first, transported to the site using a steam traction engine pulling wagons. However, by 1872 this practice was put to an end due to the damage being caused to the ‘Turnpike road’ (Now the A59).
At the site, a narrow gauge railway was constructed, and two locomotives purchased, the first arriving in 1873 and the second in 1875. These went on to build other reservoirs in the area.
Wandering round to the quiet side, I looked over at Fewston, and was amazed at how still the water was. Not a ripple at all on the surface. Not a single wave at all. The fly fishers where out in force, and they love to fish along the outfall of Fewston, where it feeds into Swinsty.I watched awhile as they fished, their weighted lines being cast and recast. So down the quiet side of the water, hardley anyone treads down here. Which is a shame, as it is a nice area to wander down. Right along the access to Swinsty Hall. Built in the 17th century. Local legend has it that the hall was built by a man named Robinson, who left nearby Fewston to seek his fortune in London. On arriving there, he found it in the grip of the great plague of 1603-4. Robinson took to looting the houses of the dead and amassed a great fortune with which he returned home, purchased the Swinsty estate, and built Swinsty Hall.
The truth appears more mundane – a family named Wood owned the Swinsty estates in the sixteenth century, and Francis Wood undertook to erect a new hall on the estate as part of a marriage contract. Unable to pay for it, he raised a loan from Henry Robinson, and when he got into further financial difficulties in 1590, Robinson foreclosed and took the hall and estates in lieu of the debt.
The hall was owned by a succession of Robinsons right up until 1772. At this point, the male Robinson line came to an end and the hall and estate passed to Robert Bramley, husband of Mary Robinson, and later his son John Bramley, and in 1853 John Bramley’s son, also named John. Stone for the construction of Fewston Reservoir was purchased from the Swinsty Hall quarry in 1874, from a Mr Bramley.
So it was past Swinsty Hall and on to the lower dam, which shows how low the water level in Swinsty has dropped. No water is running out of the outflow, and has’nt for some time. Certainly long enough to allow vegetation to grow in the slipway. The water must be a good 12 foot away from the overflow. Which is surprising considering the amount of water thats flowing in from Fewston. And unlike Fewston, there are no ghostly goings on at this damn.
My next walk will take me to this dam, and away, down the outflow along a path which isnt often tread.