As temperatures start to rise, you might think about taking the plunge and going for a swim. There's no shortage of excellent swimming spots in the Yorkshire Dales, particularly if you're keen to try some wild swimming in one of the many rivers. If you fancy something a little warmer, take a trip to Ingleton Lido, a heated open air pool in a lovely location. It was first built in 1933 and is now staffed, cleaned, and maintained by a team of volunteers.
Numerous lidos were built in England in the 1930s, perhaps inspired by the trend towards glamorous cruise-liners and foreign travel. The original pool took about a year to dig out by volunteers, ably assisted by striking miners from a local colliery. It was filled by a gravity fed pipe from the nearby river, taking 25 hours to fill.
Ingleton Lido was updated and practically re-built in the 1970s, and is now heated and open three months a year from May to early September. It's thanks to some very committed volunteers who fundraise and lifeguard that the pool has continued to operate for almost a century. The pool is in the centre of the village in a riverside park setting. Please check opening times before setting out on a long journey. All images thanks to Ingleton Rural Community Association.
For a little while it felt like Ingleton had sort of lost its self-confidence, happy in its gorgeous surrounding countryside but not entirely sure of what it was trying to be. Suddenly it feels optimistic again, with some interesting new shops and a new energy. What was a little grey is now brighter and more colourful, intriguing even. Of course many already visit Ingleton after a trip to see Ribblehead Viaduct, or come specially to enjoy the waterfall, see the Pottery and perhaps to shop for outdoor clothing. Those who were less hardy didn't necessarily think of coming to Ingleton to browse, wander and treat themselves.
This is now changing. Bernies, 'the oldest cafe in Ingleton' has had a make-over, and is as popular as ever, particularly with those coming with soggy dogs or muddy boots, partial to home baking. Next door the old Post Office also has a new life, describing itself as a 'micro bar' and packing an interesting variety of drinks and snacks into their cosy small space.
If you saw the excellent film, Lad: A Yorkshire Story, you may recognise one of the owners of another relatively new business on the edge of Ingleton. Bretton Lord (who had the lead role in the film) and his business partner run the slightly bonkers (in a good way) Lords Antiques and Salvage. It's a crazy mixture of the obvious, unusual, beautiful, mundane, remarkable and don't-know-why-anyone-would-buy-that. You're pretty much guaranteed to find something that you didn't know you wanted here, whether it's a lion statue, a leaky boat (the price tag suggests it could be used as a huge planter), old baking dishes or a patchwork quilt.
What's the connection between Sherlock Holmes, the Hound of the Baskervilles and the Yorkshire Dales? Writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mother, Mary Doyle lived at Masongill Cottage near Ingleton for about 30 years. When Conan Doyle visited her it's likely he'd have travelled by train to Ingleton and then onwards through Holme Head to Masongill.
One of Conan Doyle's early stories was called Uncle Jeremy's Household, and published in the same year he married. The main character was from Baker Street in London and in the story he comes to Ingleton by train to meet his friend, a chemist. There's a stained glass window in the tower of St. Mary's Church, Ingleton which is dedicated to a man called Randal Hopley Sherlock who was killed by lightning at the railway station. His brother was once the local vicar, taking services in Ingleton and possibly Masongill. Was this the inspiration for Conan Doyle's famous character's name?
Conan Doyle married his first wife, Louisa at St. Oswold's in Thornton in Lonsdale between Ingleton and Masongill, where the Reverend Sherlock also sometimes took services.
This independent not-for-profit website was created using recommendations from Dales insiders' - people who live in, and love the Yorkshire Dales.
Copyright Susan Briggs 2021
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Love letter to the Yorkshire Dales