Suma Walking Group – Castle Carr Walk
Last Sunday was a different event to the norm for the Suma group in that the 11 of us joined many other people, maybe 150 or more in an organised walk.
The destination was Castle Carr in Wainstalls near Halifax.
History of Castle Carr
Castle Carr was built in 1859 and was designed as a pseudo-Norman castle. The original owner was Captain Joseph Edwards from Huddersfield who died before the castle was completed.
In 1962 the castle was demolished after an auction so now many of its unique features are elsewhere in the UK (and probably in America). It was famous for its gardens and pressure fed fountain which at 150 feet was as tall as the one at Versailles.
The castle is unfortunately now a ruin and what is left (including the entrance and portcullis) gives the landscape a surreal feel.
The land is now owned by the Water Board and access is restricted to one day a year when the fountain is also switched on.
The start point was the Cat-i-th‘Well pub (great Yorkshire name) in a steep sided verdant valley with excellent beer, welcoming country pub atmosphere and some wood paneling from Castle Carr itself.
The event is part organised by the pub landlord and also the Rotary Club which sells tickets at £3 for charity.
Showing little willpower to resist some of us had a quick pint then set off enthusiastically under a mainly blue but slightly threatening sky on a country lane along the valley side. We passed by the superbly renovated large houses along the way including the Old Nunnery which no doubt has its own interesting history.
After a mile or so we left the tarmaced lanes onto a wooded track eventually getting our first view of the mansion ruins, which because of their style looked very out of place amongst the trees and fields.
The track eventually led us to a steep path down to a reservoir and below that to a lake complete with a large dormant fountain nozzle – a sign of what is to come as we realised how close we were now situated and that many people were standing a distance away!!
We did not have long to wait, the water board bloke released the pressure to the fountain and it slowly began to build, eventually reaching an impressive 150 foot height of frothing brackish looking water. In true Suma spirit, with other hardy souls, we stood our ground hoping that the wind direction did not change but our fears were well founded as with a background of shouts, screams and eventually much laughter and a little gurgling the water plume descended onto our patch.
We escaped the worst (I hid behind Ally) but couldn’t help noticing that the reporter for the local Halifax Courier newspaper (who later came to interview us) took the full brunt of the deluge – Aah well, she took it on the chin (literally), kept smiling, and was presumably getting paid for her discomfort.
After a while the fountain subsided as the pressure dropped and we set off on our route back to the pub via a different route to allow a closer inspection of the castle ruins. In its day it must have been very impressive with its castellated ramparts and portcullis entrance.
We completed our two mile return to the now busy pub in fine and strangely warm drizzle to a great pint or three of cracking Yorkshire bitter (might as well get wet inside too) and a great live band playing out of an open sided 18T truck in the car-park. Then as if on cue the rain stopped and the sun came out.
What a great afternoon !