W3C Nickle Syke MEMORIES

Nickle Syke

Nickle Syke



Nickle Syke


Don't really know how it got its name, a spring of fresh water on the Sweden Bridge path, comes straight up in the rock, some kids dug down in the 30s looking for the source and never did find it.

Wainwright passed it many a time and missed it. He thought the spring on the Climbers traverse on Bowfell was the best water in Lakeland, shows you can't be right every time.

Generations of walkers, hounds, pack ponies and hunters have slaked their thirsts, and it never failed not even in the most severe drought.

Just down the path a bit are some old quarries, opened by a guy from Ambleside in the 19th century to provide building material for his business. Long abandoned they are wet, slippery places with quite large spoil tips. There is a sled road down the fell brest and a dressing floor beside the path. An old grinding wheel was there till some "tourist" rolled it into the beck and smashed it.

Feller once said to auld Will Ritson at Wasdale, "You should go to London to see the sights".

Ritson said, "No, the sights of London come to see us!"

Perhaps he had a point.

Some nights we would walk up to practise climbing in the quarry, or try to. A dangerous place, but young lads always know best. One slip and at best a broken leg, at worst a half day out with the undertaker (we only had an old hemp rope, you see, all it gave was confidence).

That year there was a litter of cubs in the quarry tip and we saw quite a lot of them. One night we were going home, when for some reason I turned around and the vixen was standing on her hind legs drinking from Nickle Syke.

Shortly after somebody's terriers got into the cubs and killed the vixen also. The dog fox left and we never saw him again.

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