It is a good many years since I last climbed Ingleborough and that was in springtime, not in snow. The last time I walked its slopes was in winter, a few years ago, the first time I had been out to play, alone in the north, for many years. It was good to see the familiar shape on out recent trip to Castlerigg.
With Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent, the hill of winds, it is one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks. beneath it are caves and pot holes…it is limestone country. On the ascent are the enigmatic Celtic Walls about which little is known, and the summit is ringed by an Iron Age hillfort… or what is left of it. Many of the stones are thoughtlessly moved by those who do not realise their significance and added to modern cairns.
The hillfort covers some fifteen acres and may have been built by the Celtic tribes, later known as the Brigantes, to defend their land against the Romans in Queen Cartimandua’s time. It is unusual in that it is not a purely defensive structure, but contains a number of hut circles that suggest a village.
For me, though, it remains a place of mystery, of legends and stories, deep caverns and mysterious, underground waterfalls almost twice the height of Niagara Falls… and most of all, a place of memory and a long-ago childhood.