Saturday, 24 October 2015
Smelt mill chimney
These days, the fells of the Yorkshire Dales seem vast, open and sparsely populated, home only to sheep and curlews. It makes them very attractive to walkers and photographers. Indeed, the Pennine Way long-distance footpath skirts Malham Tarn. But - in plain sight, as it were - the history of the area is there to be read. You might think this pile of stones is some sort of cairn, like those you often see placed by walkers beside mountain paths. In fact it is a mill chimney. Lead, copper and other minerals were mined in the area during the 18th century. The metal ore was crushed and then processed in a smelt mill. A long flue led from the mill to this chimney, where the toxic fumes were dispersed. The 'feel' of the area must have been vastly different in those days.