|On 6th November a small group of hardy SWAAG members braved the elements for a walk at Keld, led by Dave Brooks and Sue and Les Knight. Les began by explaining the geology and geomorphology of the area, then we set off to look at the East Stonesdale waterfall. The Yoredale rocks – repeating sequences of limestones, shales, and sandstones – are exposed along the Swale valley and in the waterfalls. We then followed the track across the slopes of Beldi Hill looking for crinoid fossils, which we found underfoot. Sue identified the lichens and we marvelled at their complexity using hand lenses. There were also some spectacular toadstools.
After a detour to look at the fault at the top of the Oldfield Gutter, we arrived at the ruins of Crackpot Hall. At the beginning of the 20th century this was a substantial two-storey house, but it now stands derelict because of mining subsidence and its remote location. Sheila shared the research she had undertaken into the buildings on this site and Dave told us about a costly mining dispute, centred there in the 18th century, which eventually reached the Court of the King’s Bench in London.
The original intention was to visit the well-preserved dressing floor on the lower level of the Beldi Hill lead mine, but this was thwarted by a length of barbed wire. By this point several of the group’s waterproofs were losing the battle against the driving rain and it was decided to postpone the planned picnic and head back to the car park! Despite the weather, it was an enjoyable and informative walk and a welcome opportunity to chat to other SWAAG members.