Tumbling waters of Yorkshire Dales fall inspired composer Elgar

Its cascading torrent was music to the ears of renowned composer Sir Edward Elgar.

PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Hidden away in a deep gorge, Catrigg Force and its surrounding Yorkshire Dales countryside was one of Elgar’s favourite spots.

Many a walk he is said to have taken through the wooded valley in which the waterfall sits, making him one of thousands of people who have stood and wondered at the natural beauty with its tumbling waters.

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Upstream from Stainforth village, the cascade is formed as Stainforth Beck flows through a gap in limestone rocks, plunging six metres to create a two-tier waterfall and a step pool.

In the words of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, it is a “hidden gem”.

“This waterfall lies deep within a wooded gorge and is a perfect secluded spot loved by everyone who finds it,” a description from the organisation reads.

“The composer Edward Elgar had friends in Settle and, it is said, enjoyed the walk up to Catrigg Force whenever he visited.”

Elgar, known for composing Enigma Variations and Pomp and Circumstance – which includes the music to which the words of Land of Hope and Glory are set, frequented the area when visiting his friend Dr Charles Buck in nearby Settle; he had met the doctor, a keen musician, at a medical conference in Elgar’s home town of Worcester.

The waterfall and its serene surroundings are thought to have inspired some of his most famous works.

This peaceful and secluded setting has also stirred the emotions of countless others, too.

“At the base of the falls, in the valley bottom, there is no sight or sound of civilisation and the running beck sets a tranquil scene,” Liz Carlisle, of J.R Hopper and Co. estate agency, said of Catrigg Force when a plot of countryside including the dramatic feature went up for sale in 2009.

“At least one romantic couple proposed to each other while watching its tumbling waters.

“There are very few places in the world that have such magnificence to them.”

Technical Details: Nikon D4, 17-35mm Nikkor lens, exposure of 2 sec @ f10, ISO 100.