Gordale is one of those places that has it’s very own magic. There’s a pull with the place and I’m not the only one to feel it.
From the very top of the gorge where the prickly thorn points dying limbs at chasing clouds to the quiet unease that is Janet’s Foss the whole mystical ribbon or seething white water beckons and cajoles. I make my way down to the secret valley, hopping over the barbed wire fence into the landscape of solitude where peregrine and jackdaw tumble in turn.
The ruins of a sheep litter the rabbit shorn grass, a broken limb telling the sorry tale of entrapment in the unseen holes that wait patiently for unsteady feet. I pick my way through the prehistory of the mounds, my mind creating monsters of the limestone spires that prick the blue sky. Harsh light for a hard place.
Slow gold flows turgidly to the chasm, accelerating as the channel squeezes tight through the holdfast rocks. I follow the flow, sensing what it would be like to go over the top, to pirouette like a dancer before giving all to the dark places below.
Before dark I walk the length as snow spits in my face and pay my respect to Janet, the goddess who lives behind the Foss that bears her name. Folklore warns the unwary to never, ever venture into the cave that is curtained by the falls and I will always keep that custom.
With the fall of dusk I make my way back to the gorge to see what the place feels like in the black of night, keeping company with the robin who comes and stands by my side as the light follows the river down to the distant sea. Dark falls, crows caw overhead, two owls glide a breath away from me silhouetted against a purpling sky.
Two hours I’ve been stood here. I’ve become waterfall. All I can hear is the roar of her voice. Each silven streamlet has come to life, glowing in the dark, dancing the dance that my heart beats in time to.
Below the images is a short video of the river’s journey, with a gorgeous piece of music by Richard G. Mitchell.